On The Table

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Fun Recipes for Vegetables: Unique Ways to Taste the Rainbow

Here's your proof "fun" and "veggies" can belong together!

Fun Recipes for Vegetables: Unique Ways to Taste the Rainbow

If you aren’t a fan of veggies, seeing the words “fun” and “vegetables” in the same sentence may prompt an audible laugh. Yet, it’s true! 

Fun vegetables DO exist, and unusual vegetable recipes can help you explore both fan favorites and unexpected new varieties. Join us for unique recipes for vegetables, including ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert! 

Benefits of Fun Vegetables

Beyond contributing vitamins and minerals to a meal, vegetables can be fun to consume. 

Encourages Elevated Intake 

Did you know that by trying one new vegetable each week, you could increase your vegetable intake? This is a fun exercise for kids and adults and can also help push you out of your comfort zone. 

Instead of forcing another serving of peas down, look for a variety of veggies that excites you. To learn more about it, you could see which vitamin or mineral requirement it meets. 

For example, if you’ve never tried sunchokes (known as Jerusalem artichokes) before, you may be surprised to find out that one cup of sliced sunchokes satisfies about 28% of the average daily iron requirement. 

Increases Food Appreciation 

Learning more about a new food can help you to appreciate it. It often goes without saying, but not all vegetables are the same. 

Even those grouped in a similar category, such as “leafy greens,” can be remarkably different. For example, spinach creates a slightly different flavor profile than kale does to a salad. Arugula creates an especially unique bite! 

Promotes Variety 

Likely, eating the same foods each day would not meet nutrient requirements. For that reason, getting a variety of foods (including vegetables) is crucial. After all, “variety is the spice of life,” as the saying goes. 

Aiming to eat various vegetables throughout the day can help make each meal more interesting and exciting.

Can Be A Great Way to Connect 

One meaningful benefit of trying new or unusual vegetables is their ability to connect people. Exploring new foods with loved ones can help foster friend or family relationships and create new memories or traditions. 

Sometimes, new vegetables will require learning new skills (such as how to cut a squash). If you’re intimidated by vegetables, don’t hide them off to the side. Shine a spotlight on them for your next date night or family activity, and gather everyone together to learn a new skill. 

Connections don’t have to wait until cooking either but can start in the store's aisles. Veggies can be a conversation starter! Letting kids tag along at the store can turn into a valuable learning activity, where you can educate them on how to choose the best produce or allow them to choose a unique, new vegetable to try. 

Exploring Fun and Unusual Vegetables

Contrary to popular belief, many vegetables can be cooked creatively to appeal to picky eaters.

Opt For Fun Colors 

The adage is true: “We eat with our eyes first.” If you’re bored by your usual veggie presentation, select the same vegetable in an alternate color. This tip sounds simple, but can do the trick. 

For example, serve mashed sweet potatoes instead of mashed potatoes with their enticing orange appearance. Instead of roasted potato wedges, serve roasted root vegetables

Keep in mind that some vegetables of different colors have distinctly different flavors. Onions are a perfect example of this phenomenon since they can be pungent or sweet based on their variety. Interestingly, red onions stand apart thanks to their unique pink or deep purple hue and slightly spicy taste. 

Prep In Creative Ways 

Creative shapes can also help picky eaters ease into eating more vegetables. For example, cookie cutters can be used to cut cucumbers into tiny shapes (like hearts, flowers, or stars) well-suited to smaller hands. 

Some vegetables come in naturally fun shapes! For example, acorn squash often has a sort of scalloped edge once sliced. To kids, these can look like “smiles” they can hold up to their mouth— no cookie cutters required! Another squash to play around is spaghetti squash, which can create spaghetti-like strands once cooked. 

Switching up preparation methods may also make a difference. For example, serving mushroom, onion, and goat cheese bruschetta for brunch can offer an exciting twist in textures since the yellow onion is julienned and then caramelized (both of which are considered unique cooking methods. From turning cauliflower into crust and zucchini into noodles, the possibilities are nearly endless! 

Explore Uncommon Varieties & Unconventional Combos

As mentioned above, trying a new vegetable each week or month can be a fun practice. Some uncommon vegetable varieties that aren’t too far out include: 

• Jicama
• Kohlrabi
• Romanesco broccoli
• Rutabaga

Keep in mind that even familiar veggies can be prepared in unfamiliar ways. Pickled vegetables may have a completely different taste than their raw counterparts. 

Pairing two common vegetables may also create an uncommon taste! For example, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends combining fresh colorful beets and carrots from the garden to create a reddish, roasted soup

Keep Trying With Picky Eaters

Research suggests that children may need to be exposed to the same vegetable (or mix of vegetables) multiple times before they accept that food. Some sources estimate this number to be eight to 10 times, while other sources estimate as high as 20 times. In other words, picky eaters may just be eaters who haven’t found the right form of vegetable! 

Brussels sprouts are an excellent example! While this cruciferous vegetable often a childhood nightmare, many adults find that adding a bit of garlic or cheese can make all the difference. Temperature may also play a role in food preferences, and somewhat surprisingly, some eaters may prefer dishes like chilled vegetable gazpacho over warm soups. 

Exploring new cuisines can be another easy way to make vegetables more exciting for picky eaters. The same vegetables that might be shunned as a side dish can suddenly seem appetizing in a stir fry, fried rice, or potstickers. Alternatively, if you’re not feeling as adventurous, veggies can also find their way into your favorite comfort foods (like cauliflower tacos, for instance). 

Creative and Unusual Vegetable Recipes

Ready to get started with special vegetables? From side dishes to main meals, these recipes have you covered. Enjoy unique eats all day long with these stellar, veggie-centric recipes. 


Artichoke, Spinach, and Roasted Red Pepper Frittata

Frittata may sound fancy, but it's actually a lot simpler than people expect. Even with vegetables you don’t use everyday, like artichoke hearts and roasted red bell peppers, a frittata can be whipped up in under 10 minutes and cooked in less than half an hour. 

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Pancakes

It’s easy to forget that sweet potatoes are a vegetable, thanks to their naturally sweet taste. They make a perfect base for pancakes, and can even accommodate gluten-free eaters. 

Savory Oatmeal 

Not in the mood for something sweet? Opt for savory oatmeal. Healthy fats from vegetable oils and toppings like garlic, greens, onions, mushrooms, or cherry tomatoes can help create an unexpected breakfast. 


Corn & Zucchini Fritters 

Looking for a lighter lunch, but one that’s still filling? Fritters are a great fit, thanks to sneaky veggies (like zucchini) hidden inside. They’re highly customizable, meaning nearly any shredded vegetable can be substituted.

Japanese Seaweed Salad 

Seaweed is often referred to as “the vegetable of the sea.” It’s a great additional to lunchtime if you like salad, but are looking for something other than traditional salad greens. Japanese seaweed salad can also be paired with other delicious vegetables, such as carrots or cucumbers. 

Eggplant Pizzas

Craving a classic favorite? Take a slight twist on the Italian sensation with eggplant pizzas. These miniature servings act as small, personal pizzas. Just like real pizza, the toppings can be customized to include a variety of flavor profiles, from Mediterranean to Mexican!


Sesame Roasted Carrots 

Looking for a versatile vegetable side dish? Sesame roasted carrots pair well with just about any meal. Not a fan of sesame flavors? Try honey herb roasted carrots instead! 

Quick Italian Flat Beans 

Ready in under 20 minutes, quick italian flat beans are the perfect example of how a subtle change in variety can make a simple meal more enticing. You may even be able to make them with other vegetable ingredients you already have on hand, such as olive oil, yellow onions, garlic, and herbs. 

Healthy Eggplant Parmesan Casserole 

Casseroles are comforting, and you don’t have to give them up in order to get more vegetables. Eggplant parmesan casserole uses a simple tactic, covering veggies in parmesan cheese, to make vegetables more craveable. 

Cauliflower Gratin with Feta & Olives 

One way to make vegetables more delicious is to make them Mediterranean. cauliflower gratin uses common Mediterranean ingredients (such as lemon juice, Greek yogurt, pine nuts, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese) to dress up the common cauliflower. 

Snacks & Desserts

Air Fryer Zucchini Fries 

Veggies and hummus, step aside! There’s a new go-to snack in town. Air fryer recipes are all the rage lately, and for a good reason. Recipes like air fryer zucchini fries make it possible to get healthy snacks, reminiscent of fast food favorites, in minutes. Plus, zucchini fries are great as either an appetizer or a stand-alone snack. 

Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Tots

Another nod to fast food, but much healthier thanks to hidden veggies, are cheesy broccoli cauliflower tots. This recipe is great for picky eaters, like kids who only want to eat chicken nuggets and tater tots on repeat. 

Pumpkin Bread Pudding 

Don’t forget about dessert! Like sweet potatoes, pumpkins have a slightly sweet natural flavor, and make the perfect vegetable base for dessert.

While pies and tartlets are common during the holiday season, surprise your family with pumpkin bread pudding year-round. 

Fun Vegetable Recipes Recap

Many vegetables get a bad rap for being boring. However, excitement can start at the store by selecting a new variety, or in the kitchen by choosing new preparation methods.

By sneaking veggies into each meal, you’ll also be closer to meeting your daily nutrient recommendations. 

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