We all know how important it is to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and while fruit is pretty easy to love, veggies can be a little...boring. Especially when you try to prepare them in a healthy way, without cheese or butter. I admit I usually lightly steam vegetables and leave it at that, but I've found my family is much more likely to eat them when I put a little thought into the preparation.
Acid (especially citrus) is a great way to balance the sweet and earthy flavors of vegetables like spinach, broccoli and asparagus. I like to squeeze a little lemon over them and garnish them with grated lemon zest. Cucumbers and vinegar are a classic for good reason. I like mine with freshly ground black pepper.
Roasting also brings out the flavors of vegetables. Cut a head of cauliflower into eight wedges, brush it with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast at 450 degrees on a metal baking sheet, turning once, until both sides are golden brown. I eat this stuff like popcorn, it's that good. And speaking of crispy, salty vegetable goodness, try kale chips. I like Smitten Kitchen's recipe: tear kale into smallish pieces (not too small because it shrinks down a lot), toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and a bit of salt, and bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes until they are crisp. I LOVE these things and I think my family does too...I say "think" because often they never actually find out I've made them since they are long gone before they get home.
I also am addicted to sauteed Brussels sprouts. I do these a couple of dfferent ways: either I cook a couple slices of bacon, remove them from the pan, and then cook halved Brussels sprouts in the drippings until browned and lovely (then crumble the bacon over before serving), or I replace the bacon with garlic and olive oil if I am feeling virtuous. Either way, they're SO GOOD.
Sometimes I'll sprinkle a spice blend over the veggie of the day. Penzey's makes one called Mural of Flavor which is delicious; if you can't find that, try Mrs. Dash. Both are herby and lemony and so good on just about anything. You can literally follow your nose; if a spice smells good with a vegetable, it's going to taste good with it too.
How do you spice up your vegetables?