13 Veggies You Only Think You Don't Like

Hate Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or other veggies? These recipes and cooking tips may change your mind.

Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and beets may not be your favorite veggies. If this is the case, perhaps you haven't had them cooked in a tasty way. Using a different cooking technique can transform the vegetables you thought you hated into mouthwatering sides you'll want to make again and again.

Here are 13 nutrient-packed vegetables you can instantly make with little know-how.

Brussels Sprouts

Benefits: These baby cabbages contain just 38 calories per cup. They're also packed with fiber and potential cancer-fighting phytonutrients such as glucosinolates.

Why some people don't like them: An organic compound can cause Brussels sprouts to give off a stinky, sulfurous smell. "Boiling can make them seem slimy and even leach some of the nutrients into the water," said Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health's contributing nutrition editor.

Tips for altering the taste: Roast Brussels sprouts to seal in nutrients and flavor, and avoid overcooking them so they don't have a strong odor. "Just slice in half, mist with garlic and herb-infused olive oil, and roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees," Sass said. Roast for 18 minutes for smaller Brussels and up to 25 minutes for larger ones.

Try this recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Crispy Capers and Carrots


Benefits: This cruciferous vegetable is filled with a number of nutrients, from vitamin C to fiber to magnesium. Research shows that compounds in broccoli may protect against cancer and heart disease, and nutrients in this green veg are also essential for bone formation.

Why some people don't like them: Like some other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli contains a compound that some people, possibly depending on their genes, perceive as bitter. Even if you don't find broccoli bitter, you might be turned off by its mushy or stringy texture, depending on how they were cooked.

How to prepare them for optimal taste: Try roasting broccoli to caramelize the edges for extra flavor, then top with Parmesan. Or you can steam it for ideal texture and extra greenness, which can also be achieved through blanching, To blanch, cut the broccoli into florets, boil them for two to three minutes, and immediately place them into a bowl filled with ice to stop the cooking. Once tender, you can throw the broccoli into a stir fry or add it to a salad.


Benefits: A cup of raw split peas contains a lot of fiber—44 grams—which can improve digestive health and regulate how the body uses sugar. After being cooked, it still has 16 grams. Whether you eat them raw or cooked, split peas can account for a large percentage of the recommended 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories of food you should have daily.

Why some people don't like them: Peas might have a mushy texture, especially if they're canned, said Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, a dietician and founder of the F-Factor diet.

Tips for altering the taste: Peas are another food you will love after blanching. "Peas boiled very fast are going to have a nice snap to them," said Zuckerbrot.

Just follow the blanching times suggested by the National Center for Home and Food Preservation, which range from one to two minutes depending on the type of pea. The heat makes it easy for chlorophyll in the peas (or really any vegetable) to lose magnesium, leading to a chemical change that will leave them an unappealing olive green if overcooked, Zuckerbrot said. When done just right, blanching will help your peas maintain ultimate freshness.


Benefits: At seven calories a cup, this superfood is filled with nutrients such as lutein, folate, potassium, and fiber. Eating spinach may help curb some chronic diseases and boost brain, heart, and eye health.

Why some people don't like it: Some people find raw spinach too bitter, while overcooking the leafy green may make the leaves soggy and mushy.

Tips for altering the taste: Sass said adding fruit to your spinach salad cuts the bitter flavor. It will taste even better with a drizzle of olive oil for seasoning. "When I cook it, I often lightly sauté in a little bit of hot chili oil, along with minced garlic and chopped sweet bell pepper."


Benefits: At just 30 calories per cup, cauliflower packs a nutritional punch that includes fiber, vitamin C, and choline, linked to learning, sleep, and muscle movement. Compounds in cauliflower, like other cruciferous vegetables, may have anti-cancer, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Why some people don't like them: Like broccoli, cauliflower contains chemicals that some people may find bitter, something that may depend on genes. It can also come off as mushy if cooked improperly.

Tips for altering the taste: Roasting or sautéing cauliflower can bring out its sweetness and allow it to absorb other ingredients, such as oil or sauces. To roast it, add olive oil and salt and bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 375. Then eat it as the main course or as a delicious side.


Benefits: Beets are rich in iron, fiber, folate, and potassium and contain antioxidants. Eating beets may improve blood pressure and stamina and potentially lower your risk of developing heart disease and cancer.

Why some people don't like them: Beets contain the compound geosmin, also found in carp and catfish, which gives them an earthy flavor. Unfortunately, it can also make beets taste like dirt. "That compound is most concentrated in the skin of fresh beets," Zuckerbrot said. "That's why you have to peel them first."

Tips for altering the taste: After peeling, drizzle the beets with a bit of olive oil and roast them like a potato. Or you could try pickled beets, which have a crispy texture. "When they are pickled with a combination of vinegar, sugar, and spices, it gives them a similar taste to sweet pickles," Zuckerbrot said.


Benefits: The insoluble fiber in okra helps prevent constipation. Okra is also a good source of vitamin B6 and folate.

Why some people don't like it: "Many people have been turned off by okra because their only experience has been a boiled, slimy version," Sass said. When cooked, okra gets goopy because mucilage, a thick substance found in the veggie's seed pods, increases in thickness. Overcooking increases the sliminess.

Tips for altering the taste: Oven-roast, sauté, or grill okra for optimal flavor. Sass recommended grilling. "Just toss them in a little olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper and grill for about five minutes," Sass said.


Benefits: Onions contain a high concentration of flavonoids, a type of polyphenol that works as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. They also have properties that may protect against cancer, improve bone density, support healthy digestion, and lower cholesterol.

Why some people don't like them: Everyone knows that raw onions come with a sharp taste and smell. And although some people love the tangy crunch they add to a salad or sandwich, others are turned off by their smell and taste.

Tips for altering the taste: If you cook them using low-moderate heat, onions will caramelize after 10 minutes and take on a sweet taste.


Benefits: Eggplants are an excellent source of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6, They also contain phytonutrients that may have the potential to protect against chronic diseases, including cancer.

Why some people don't like them: "Some people don't like how it can get slimy if it's overcooked," Zuckerbrot said. It also has a naturally intense, bitter flavor.

Tips for altering the taste: "Oven-roasted and grilled are my favorite ways to enjoy eggplant," said Sass. Slice, brush with olive oil, and roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or skewer them for the grill. "Slices of grilled eggplant are terrific topped with a little olive tapenade," Sass said. You could also try one of these 11 eggplant recipes.


Benefits: These cruciferous vegetables pack significant health benefits. They're a good source of vitamins C, A, K, and folate, which your body needs to make DNA and for healthy cell formation.

Why some people don't like them: Like some other green vegetables, they have a bitter taste that can be hard to get over.

Tips for altering the taste: Sass's go-to method for preparing turnips: mashed. Boil until soft, then transfer to a food processor. Add yellow onions that have been sautéed in a bit of low-sodium veggie broth with garlic, olive oil, and black pepper. Puree until smooth.


Benefits: The spears are chock full of folic acid, fiber, vitamin E, and folate, which has also been shown to be a potential mood booster. The same chemical responsible for asparagus's bitter taste—aponin protodioscin—may also support ovarian health and enhance libido post-menopause.

Why some people don't like them: "Asparagus has a unique flavor some describe as woody," Sass said. "Proper seasoning can balance that out." But if not cooked properly, the veggie may be even less appealing. worse—mushy and dull green.

Tips for altering the taste: Sass recommended oven roasting and sautéing the plant. "Oven roast them as you would Brussels sprouts or sauté in olive oil with lots of minced garlic," Sass said. "The olive oil and garlic can completely change the experience."


Benefits: Kale is incredibly nutrient-dense, containing high doses of vitamins C, A, and K. Vitamin K helps to make proteins necessary to clot blood and support bone health. It's also a good source of iron, calcium, and magnesium.

Why some people don't like them: Raw kale is tough to chew and has a strong taste. Plus, raw kale can be hard to digest, causing bloating and gas.

Tips for altering the taste: "If you rub kale together for a few minutes, that breaks down the cellulose in the plant," Zuckerbrot said. "The leaves that were course get silky, darker, and shrink to half their volume."

Another plus: the bitter taste mellows out and becomes sweeter. And when you massage kale, you won't need to use as much salad dressing to add flavor. A bit of olive oil or a squeeze of lemon juice will balance it out, Zuckerbrot said.


Benefits: At 22 calories a cup, you can enjoy as much cabbage as you want and take a good dose of vitamins C and K and fiber. And it's high in sulforaphane, a chemical that may inhibit cancer progression.

Why some people don't like them: Watch out if you boil cabbage too long. It's another veggie that may get smelly and slimy. You may also be turned off to cabbage if you don't season the heads, which would give it an extra boost of flavor.

Tips for altering the taste: Instead of boiling it, try sautéing it with a mix of sweet additions. "I love to sautée cabbage with apple slices in olive oil, with a little chopped yellow onion, apple cider, salt, and pepper," Sass said. "The apples and onion complement cabbage's natural flavor."

A Quick Review

Some vegetables may seem unappealing if they're not cooked in a way that enhances their flavor and texture. This is especially true of cruciferous vegetables such as kale and Brussels sprouts, which have a naturally bitter flavor.

But there's good reason to eat the veggies on this list: They're all packed with nutrients that can help curb chronic diseases, boost brain health, and more. Seasoning them properly and using the optimal cooking method, whether baked or mashed, can help you learn to tolerate and enjoy them.

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