“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Michael Pollan, “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto“
I’ve been steaming vegetables longer than some bloggers have been alive. I can tell you, with certainty, that there’s only so much you can do with water and time. Steamed vegetables may be healthier than canned ones, but they often don’t taste much better.
This is one of those cases in which a little fat (olive oil, to be specific) is not only not going to kill you, it will probably make you eat more veggies. And, that is a good thing.
Here is a basic technique for making good-tasting veggies. It works for one to however many you’re feeding:
Eat-Your-Veggies Stir Fry
Choose what vegetables you are using and wash, peel, chop enough for two cups (raw) per serving as they will cook down. Chop some onions and garlic, too, regardless of what veggies you pick.
(A note: If you are cooking for one or you could use leftovers in tomorrow’s lunch, cook that way. Make more than you need for this meal. Hard vegetables like carrots, celery and cauliflower hold up well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Softer veggies, like zucchini, will last at least a day. Vary the carb accompaniment — rice, pasta, quinoa etc. — and the sauce (Asian, Italian etc. ) and you have the base of at least a couple meals ready to go.)
Heat your wok (get one!) on a medium-high burner. Add 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil. Add veggies and stir to distribute the oil. Stir fry, not being overly zealous with your stirring. Letting the veggies rest a minute or so between stirs yields a tasty char that you won’t get if you’re stirring in time to the latest TobyMac tune. Just watch the heat. You want char, not charcoal.
Before or after you start stir frying — depending on the timing needed for whatever you are topping with the veggies — make a healthy carb. Whole-grain pasta, brown rice, jasmine rice, quinoa, skin-on mashed potatoes are all good as long as you practice portion control.
Back to the veggies, when they are fork tender, turn off the heat and separate them into two parts. Season whatever you are using for this meal however you like. Let the rest cool to room temperature, put it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and season only when you are going to use it to allow for variety. If you can’t use it up fast enough, pop the container into the freezer and use it in veggie soup when a cool day rolls around.
Serve tonight’s veggies atop your carb of choice and top with fresh herbs or something crunchy, like cashews. No one will have to remind you to eat these vegetables!