Vegetables are amazing, as we usually learn closer to adulthood. This is also around the time when you question why you haven’t known they were good for such a long time. And even then, there are tons of ingredients people still overlook that deserve more attention in the kitchen.
1 – Lima beans
As a kid, lima beans were one of the top green veggies to push around on your plate and not eat. For me, I’ve always loved lima beans and would actually request my mom make some, which she rarely did. Once I started living on my own in college, frozen lima beans became a regular in my grocery rotation. With a subtle flavor and buttery texture, lima beans are great to throw into stir fries, soups, or alone with flavorful seasonings. They also have many great health benefits, like being rich in fiber and lowering risks of heart attack.
2 – Broccoli rabe
If you eat a decent amount of European cuisine, you’ll have seen broccoli rabe somewhere on the menu. These thin, tall broccoli-like branches are delicious roasted with garlic and balsamic vinegar. They add more nutrition to pasta-based dishes and are very versatile in meat dishes, since they pick up a lot of flavor. Cooking with it might seem intimidating if the kitchen isn’t your favorite place in the house, but cooking these just like broccoli (hopefully more than just steaming) should give you favorable results. Just don’t forget to season.
3 – Radish
These spicy root veggies don’t seem as popular as they should be. With many variations like watermelon radish and daikon, radishes will work in basically anything. One of my favorite Filipino dishes, sinigang (a savory sour soup), features radishes in such a way that it’s my favorite part of the soup. In a lemon-heavy broth with spinach and typically some sort of meat, the radishes shine as a soft ball of flavor. Some people like radishes raw, but with a strong peppery flavor, this isn’t the best option for the less adventurous. Mixing them into soups or with other sautéed vegetables is the way to go for newbies.
4 – Pumpkin
A little harder to pull off using during spring or summer, pumpkin is such a fun vegetable (it’s technically a fruit but bear with me) to cook with. Even just stocking up on the canned stuff, using it as a base in spicy red pepper pasta or blending it into a soup are amazing savory reasons to start cooking with it. Sweet and kind of nutty, pumpkin is good in more comforting dishes, but they don’t always have to be sweet. If you like butternut squash, try swapping or adding pumpkin to a future recipe.
5 – Peas
Most of these stereotypically hated vegetables comes from the fact that kids were never given good versions of them. Heated up frozen peas isn’t horrible, but it’s not going to make anyone love them. Instead, frozen peas sautéed with garlic, red chili flakes, and sea salt is much more interesting and tastes great (maybe more for kids without as much spice). But peas are actually good and can be used in pretty much any dish. If it’s easier to serve them alone, add some flavor – onion, paprika, lemon pepper, anything to make it more than just steamed.