Mixed vegetables aren’t usually one of those side dishes that people clamor for. Instead, you probably end up saying to yourself, “I’ve got a main dish, some great mashed potatoes, and a fruit salad that is awesome… I need to add in some vegetables. How about mixed vegetables?”
There’s nothing wrong with mixed vegetables, but unless you do something to spice them up, they’re likely to be the last thing eaten on your plate. Even then, they're only eaten out of a sense of duty. I call it obligatory eating….
Before you decide never to have mixed vegetables again, there are some pretty simple things you can do to spice things up.
Go Frozen, Not Canned
Fresh mixed veggies generally taste better and are better for you, but sometimes you need a cheat. In that case, try to get frozen "fresh" mixed vegetables as opposed to canned veggies. Frozen vegetables haven’t been soaking in liquid for months, so they'll taste more like fresh vegetables than their canned counterparts.
When cooking your mixed vegetables, either prepare them on the stove in boiling water or in a microwave steamer. You can cook the vegetables in chicken or beef broth to add a little more flavor instead of just using water.
Using a Microwave?
If you just toss your vegetables in a bowl and microwave them without adding water, you’re likely to end up with chewy or overly dried vegetables. Steam is the key to cooking frozen vegetables in the microwave. After you’ve cooked your vegetables, be sure to drain out any excess water before seasoning them.
On with the Spices
When it comes to seasoning mixed vegetables, start with the basics. As with nearly any food dish, my holy trifecta of spices applies to mixed veggies — salt, pepper and garlic. For a 16 ounce bag of mixed veggies, add about a tablespoon of butter or margarine and season with salt, pepper and garlic to taste. That’s about as simple as it gets, but you’ll notice the spices really make mixed veggies taste quite good.
Other Tips and Ideas
Another simple idea is to cook your mixed vegetables, add in butter and salt and then mix in Parmesan cheese. Bacon is another add-in that can make veggies a bit more interesting.
If you want to go with more of an Asian flare, stir fry the vegetables in a small amount of oil and soy sauce. You can even go one step further — stir in some cooked rice and make it fried rice.
Don’t be afraid to try something new – and it's always interesting to try different spice combinations based on what else you're serving that night.
Recipes with Mixed Veggies
If you want a tried and true recipe to use with those mixed veggies, how about one of these:
Here's the fried rice recipe -- seriously, you will love mixed veggies this way!
Post a comment with your favorite way to spice up mixed vegetables!