Spruce those boring boiled veges and make them exciting by adding some of the best seasoning for vegetables and make a variety of delicious different vegetable side dishes .
We know that vegetables are good for us, but overcooking or frying to make them more palatable leads to loss of healthy nutrients.
An idea to cook a delicious vegetable side dish which does not get pushed to the side literally speaking, can sometimes be challenging.
Besides, getting your kids to eat bowls of greens, and shades of yellows and oranges without some of them landing on the floor is another story.
Eating them raw or just boiled or steamed are ok once in a while but imagine if these are the only options given to you everytime.
It becomes boring, mundane and frankly forced upon to be eaten because you just have to.
That may well change if you put into use these simple hacks on how to flavour vegetables with spices and herbs, and make you eat them more.
How To Make Vegetables Taste Good
Vegetables come in all shapes, colours, textures, sizes and tastes. Some you like some you don’t.
People especially children who do not like vegetables could be because they taste bland, it is the same repetitive vege dish or they just cant be bothered to try.
You cant change someone’s eating habits, but you can surely influence the thinking of picky eaters by changing the way and how you serve their dreaded food devils!
So how to you make vegetables more tasty?
I wont state the obvious about buying seasonal fresh vegetables and eating them before they start to wilt in your fridge.
We know that fruits and vegetables eaten as closest to their buying date retains most flavour.
For me the answer is simple, being more creative with flavours and cooking methods. Here’s how:
Use different types of methods to cook vegetables.
Boiling, steaming, making salads seem to be the most used and easiest way to cook vegetables.
Try using other cooking methods that are equally easy and quick.
Roasting, stir fry, air fry, grill or saute don’t really take any longer than steaming and give the vegetables a different texture and taste.
Do not over cook veges
Have you tried eating the mashed gloopy stuff you gave your kid during weaning? I think you get my point.
Over cooking vegetables not only destroy the nutrients but also the taste.
The secret to a good tasting vegetable is to cook it just enough until it goes past the raw stage and soft enough to eat. My personal preference is crunchy but if you wish you can go for a more softer bite texture.
Season the vegetables well
By seasoning here, I mean using salt.
Salt helps to bring out the natural flavours of vegetables.
Under seasoning makes vegetables taste pretty bland, so if you really wish to bring out the natural flavours add your salt.
Use a good quality fat
Fat as we know makes anything taste better.
Butter, olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil or any type of flavoured oil such as basil, garlic, herbs, chilli added to boiled, steamed or raw veges gives those monotonous vegetation a flavourful twist.
Add some zest
Adding any type of citric acid such as lemon juice, lime juice or even vinegar can pep up vegetables instantaneously.
There are jars of pickled vegetables available in the market for a reason and not just for display.
Give your veges a good squirt of any type of citrus juice after its cooked. They will brighten them up for sure.
Experiment with spices and herbs
Last but in case of this post the beginning is the use of spices and herbs.
While boiling and steaming are the cooking methods used to retain maximum natural flavour of vegetables, spices and herbs enhance those flavours.
If you really detest the idea of chewing on greens like eating fodder then spices and herbs will make them taste like a Michelin starer masterpiece.
We discuss about this in detail in this post.
What To Add To Vegetables For Flavour
One of the easiest and quickest way to add flavour to veges it to add seasonings.
By this type of seasoning I mean going beyond salt and pepper and adding spices and herbs to vegetables.
I have broken down the list into some of the good spices for vegetables that you can use to make the popular types of vegetable side dishes to go with roasts or any main.
Best seasoning for steamed or boiled vegetables
Boiled or steamed vegetables do not need to be boring and bland.
Both these methods especially steaming is considered an healthy cooking option to retain the nutrients and natural flavours of the vegetables.
An easy way to boost the sleepy veges without any additional effort from your side is to add a handful of herbs or whole spices in the water or steamer you put the vegetables in.
Few of my favourite herbs to add to veges are:
A piney flavoured herb with sweet, savory, and aromatic undertone. Just a little goes a long way
How to add rosemary to veges
Add dried or a few sprigs of fresh rosemary directly to boiling water or the steamer and cook along with the veges.
Earthy, savory with a faint minty flavour, thyme both fresh and dried adds a lovely aromatic flavour to the vegetables.
How to add to thyme to veges
Use both dried and fresh thyme leaves the same way you would use rosemary, directly with the vegetables.
Mint, Coriander and Parsley
These fresh herbs are my all time faourites and instant flavour enhancers. Give any vegetables a herby twist by choosing any or a combination of these herbs.
How to add to them to veges
Finely chop the herbs or tear them into small pieces and add them to the boiled vegetables with some butter or olive oil.
Italian Mixed herb
I absolutely swear my keeping a small jar of Italian mixed herbs. It is a mix of oregano, basil and thyme and many other aromatic herbs. It is one of my must have seasoning to make faster flavouful meals effortlessly.
How to add Italian mixed herb to veges
There are two ways to use Italian mixed herb seasoning with boiled or steamed veges.
One you can add a teaspoon directly to the pot or steamer while the veges are boiling or add a teaspoon with olive oil and dizzle over the cooked veges.
RECIPES TO TRY
Best Seasoning For Grilled Vegetables
Grilled vegetables are when vegetables are placed directly under heat that is either on top of a flame or surrounded by heat.
Grilling adds a natural smokiness to the vegetables which already makes them taste different.
There are different ways to grilling vegetables. Either using an oven, a BBQ grill or even a griddle pan like the one below.
Grilling cooking method refers to direct heat being applied to the ingredient.
This means that you need to be careful about the type of seasoning used for grilled vegetables as they have a tendency to burn and make the vegetables bitter.
Here are some of the best seasoning for grilled vegetables:
Cajun Spice Seasoning
Not to spicy but flavourful, cajun spice seasoning brings out the yumminess to any dish it is added to.
A mix of paprika, cayenne, onion powder, garlic powder and other spices makes this seasoning extremely versatile.
How to add Cajun seasoning to veges
Mix cajun spices seasoning to olive oil or any oil of your choice along with salt. Marinade the vegetables in the flavoured oil and grill.
Indian Tandoori Spice
There are not many who do not enjoy the taste of an Indian Tandoor.
Spicy and slightly fiery a tandoori spice rub is the mother of all grill seasoning.
How to add Tandoori spice to veges
The best way to get maximum flavour out of the this spice seasoning is to add generous spoonful to thick yoghurt and marinade chunky cut vegetables for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
Montreal Steak Spice
The iconic BBQ blend for any griller.
Popularly used for meats, but there is nothing stopping you from using it to grill your vegetables.
Robust flavours of garlic, pepper, coriander this seasoning will make you look at vegetables in a different light.
How to add Montreal steal spice to veges
Generously sprinkle this seasoning on top of the vegetables, along with salt and oil, rub in well and grill as normal.
RECIPES TO TRY
Best seasoning for roasted vegetables
Vegetables like carrots, peppers, cauliflower, eggplant, zucchini, sweet potatoes, beet retain more nutrients and actually taste better when roasted.
Roasting is when you cook vegetables in the oven on a temp of around 200- 300 degrees for 20 -30 minutes.
When cooked using this method the natural sweetness of the veges come out and make them tastier.
The ways to further enhance the taste is by adding few seasonings:
Taco or Fajita Seasoning
These two Mexican seasoning are a Mecca for everything flavourful.
If there is any dish dry or gravy based, adding taco seasoning gives it a depth of flavour.
Made with a mix of mild chillies, garlic, onion, dried tomato these two gems are flavour saviours.
How to add taco and fajita seasoning to vegetables
To roast vegetables add a few teaspoon of taco or fajita seasoning to the vegetables with salt and oil of your choice. Line up and roast.
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
If you thought that jerk seasoning can only be used to make jerk chicken then its time to change that thought.
The aromatic and flavourful combination of all spice, chilli and a hint of brown sugar is one of the best seasoning to roast just about anything.
How to add Jamaican Jerk seasoning to vegetables
I suggest to marinade vegetables in jerk seasoning and oil before roasting.
This gives time for the vegetables to adsorb the woody spiciness of allspice and highlight the natural sweetness of the vegetables.
One can easily change the name of this spice blend to ‘Everything seasoning’ .
Crunchy and nutty you can use this seasoning as a topping for more than just bagels.
If you haven’t tried adding poppy and sesame seeds to vegetables before I strongly suggest you to try that. It is a game changer.
How to use Everything Bagel to vegetables
It can’t be easier to add everything bagel to roasted veges. It is as easy as adding salt.
Roast the vegetables with oil as you normally would. Once they are out of the oven sprinkle and mix everything bagel seasoning and serve immediately.
Now that’s what I call instant flavour.
RECIPES TO TRY
Best seasoning for stir-fried vegetables
The stir frying method of cooking vegetables requires more personal attention.
You have to stand and be on guard while stirring the vegetables.
Time wise stir frying vegetables actually take less time.
Some of the best vegetables to make a stir fry side with are zucchini, mushroom, green beans, sugar snaps beans, carrots, peas, peppers to name a few .
Below are my recommended seasoning for stir fry veges.
Bring the aristocratic French flair into your repertoire.
A combination of aromatic herbs like tarragon, chives, chervil will make your main envy the vegetable side.
How to add Fines Herbs to vegetables
To bring the best out of both the seasoning and the vegetables, I would recommend stir-fying vegetables in butter and adding the herbs while frying.
Panch phoron may be a bit lesser known spice blend. All it is, is a blend of 5 whole spices like mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and nigella seeds.
As you can see from the mix of spices that it has a bit of all flavours in one teaspoon.
The colourful blend of spices give the vegetables an interesting texture and flavour.
How to add Panch Phoron to vegetables
Add one to two teaspoon of panch phoron for 2 cups of chopped vegetables to warm oil. Let the spices splutter in warm oil for few seconds before adding raw vegetables. Stir fry as you normally would.
Everyone knows about curry powder. It is the classic South Asian taste available for everyone to enjoy.
A mix of traditional spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli powder this spice blend has become truly global.
How to add Curry powder to vegetables
The best way to use curry powder when stir frying vegetables is to add it at the beginning of the cooking process.
The earlier you add the powder, gives the chance to cook out some of the raw smell of the spices.
Chinese Five Spice
Another taste of Asia. Chinese five Spice mix unites the five flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and savory giving the vegetables a beautiful balance of taste.
A versatile spice that can be used on anything from meats to vegetables and for making both sweet and savoury dishes.
Just a little dash is enough to brighten the flavours.
How to add Chinese five seasoning to vegetables
Chinese five seasoning use strong flavourful spices. It is best not to go overboard with the amount when cooking.
Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the spice blend while frying the vegetables.
RECIPES TO TRY
When Should You Add Vegetables
Depending on the type of cooking method you are using i.e steam, boil, stir-fry, grill or bake and the type of seasoning there may be slight variation of the ideal point to season the vegetables.
Here are few pointers to keep in mind on how to season vegetables to bring the best of flavours.
- Add generous amount of salt to water while steaming or boiling vegetables. This helps the vegetables absorb salt and retain flavour. You may not need to add additional salt while serving.
- It is best to add dry herb based seasoning around the middle of cooking the vegetables.
- Fresh herbs such as parsley, cilantro/coriander leaves, basil are best added at the end of cooking.
- Raw ground spice seasoning such as curry powder, Chinese five spice, taco seasoning are better added at the beginning.
- Add whole spices to warm oil at the beginning to flavour the fat before adding the vegetables
- If you choose to grill or roast vegetables you have the option to marinade them with the seasoning first.
- Pre-flavoured seasonings such as flavoured salt, flavoured oil, should be added at the end.
- Nut based or seasonings with texture should be added in the end to retain the crunch.
How To Make Frozen Vegetables Taste Better
Frozen vegetables have a lot of water content. Grilling or baking is not the best cooking option as it will loose moisture and taste during the cooking process.
I recommend, stir frying, steaming or boiling frozen vegetables with salt to bring back life into them .
You can use the seasonings listed above to flavour frozen vegetables.
We know that eating vegetables is a must for a healthy and well balanced diet.
There is a wide variety of options of vegetables and seasoning that can be matched and create some amazing vegetable side dishes.
Being creative with what you have in your spice drawer and using a particular cooking method, you can turn those need to have veges into must have them.
Spices, seasonings, herbs, flavoured fat, nuts and souring agents all can change the vege game.
All you need to do is just start adding them.