Recipes for “The Vegetable Haters Cookbook”
and Dairy Substitutes
My best friend and neighbor, Sharon, has changed her eating habits for the better over the 15 years we’ve known each other, but she’s still a picky eater and she hates to cook. Last week, while she was eating a plain bean and rice burrito at a local Mexican Taqueria, she suggested I do a cookbook just for her – called “The Vegetable Haters Cookbook.” Not a bad idea, I thought, since she’s not the only person I know that feels this way. Usually when people talk about distasteful vegetables, they are referring to broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, bell peppers, carrots and Brussels sprouts – foods with strong, distinct flavors. Perhaps this is due to a bad experience, maybe it began with improper cooking or seasoning of these vegetables – or maybe they are just unfamiliar with them because they never tried them as a child. Regardless, they have deep-rooted feelings about certain foods, so they need recipes designed with their preferences in mind. There are many simple ways to help people like Sharon. First, there are plenty of healthy dishes that can be made without these displeasing vegetables. Another approach would be to use them only in very small quantities in the dish. Thorough cooking can also lessen the distinct flavors. One slightly devious method is to grind up the vegetables in a blender so they don’t know they are in the recipe. The right sauce can also make the difference between acceptance and rejection.
Over the next several months I will show you that I can design recipes even the most finicky eaters will enjoy. Before you see these “vegetable haters recipes,” I will have already taste-tested them on Sharon. To get you started, I have looked over recipes from past newsletters and found many you can already put on your “vegetable haters” recipe list. Try these:
Recipes from 2002 newsletters
Roasted Garlic Bread
Tomato Basil Soup
Creamy Corn Soup
Avocado & Tomato Pasta Salad
Creamy Bangkok Noodles
Recipes from 2003 newsletters
Baked Rice Pudding
Soldier Bean Soup
The following two recipes are typically made with dairy products. These versions are just as tasty as their counterparts and a whole lot healthier.
CREAMY YOGURT DIP
Heather made this a few days ago and we all loved it. Vegetable haters and children will all like this. This is similar to the famous Greek tzatziki dip, although the name may be enough to scare some people off.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes (start
1 cup plain soy yogurt
Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place over small bowl. Add soy yogurt, cover and place in refrigerator for several hours or overnight to remove some of the liquid.
Place the finely diced cucumber and the salt in a small bowl. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for several hours.
When ready to assemble, place the drained yogurt in a medium bowl. Add the tofu sour cream, lemon juice, dill and garlic. Mix well. Transfer the cucumber to a strainer and gently squeeze out any excess liquid. Add to yogurt mixture and mix well. Season with pepper, if desired. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to blend.
Serve with pita wedges, crackers, bread or fresh, raw vegetables.
Hint: This tastes even better the next day, so plan ahead when you want to serve this. The recipe may easily be doubled to serve more people.
CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP
We serve a version of this soup at the McDougall residential program and it is always very popular. If you know a “vegetable hater” who loves mushrooms, as Sharon does, they might also be tempted by this delicious soup.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
1 onion, chopped
Hint: Use a variety of fresh
mushrooms for the best flavor in this soup. I usually use about ½
pound of button mushrooms, a few shiitake mushrooms, and then an
assortment of exotic mushrooms, such as clamshell, oyster and trumpet
royale. Most of these will be available at various times of the year
in natural food stores or specialty markets. Frozen, chopped hash
brown potatoes are sold in bags in the frozen food section of most
supermarkets or in the natural food stores. They are very convenient
for adding thickness and flavor to soups, but an equal amount of peeled,
chopped fresh potatoes may also be used.
SUMMERTIME BREAD SALAD
Heather was traveling recently and enjoyed a delicious bread salad during one of her meals out. She came home craving a good bread salad, but couldn’t find one anywhere, so she decided to create her own. This is even better when you have fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes from your garden or the farmer’s market.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
1 loaf fat-free French or Italian style
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Cut bread into 1 inch by 1 inch pieces. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool. Cut cucumber, bell pepper and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and mix with the basil and olives. Whisk the remaining ingredients together in a separate bowl. Set aside.
15 minutes before serving, add bread to the vegetable mixture and toss to mix. Add the dressing and toss again. Let rest before serving to allow dressing to soak into the bread somewhat.