How to season my veggies: a plea for culinary assistance

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    How to season my veggies: a plea for culinary assistance

    Hey guys! I have a quick question to ask you all about the recipes found within the mealplans. The meal suggestions in the mealplans have examples like "grilled chicken with brocolli", "pork chops with green beans", "salmon with brocolli & peas" and so on. They have no individual recipes in the Darebee website and I was wondering what seasoning, spices or ingredients do you use on the vegetables? I assumed butter but it wouldn't be healthy to use it on the veggies all the time. Or are they supposed to be eaten bland? I have very little experience with cooking so I would very much appreciate your input and suggestion. Great thanks and love to all of you wonderful people!

    #2
    Well, what do you like? There are basically no herbs or seasonings that will impact your health negatively (sodium salt can if you eat enough, and I'm sure there are other things I don't know about). There's no reason you can't toss a bit of salt, pepper, garlic <powder, salt, minced, paste, whatever>, or any other of your favorites on just about anything. More important would be that the flavors work with the rest of the meal.

    If you don't know what you like, experiment. Learn what works and what doesn't. Maybe you'll find a new curry recipe this way, or find you like oregano, tarragon, and saffron on your broccoli. You may be new to cooking, but in a year's time, you'll be a master of your kitchen if you take the time to play in it.

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      #3
      I don't know if they're supposed to be eaten bland, but bland is really meh anyway.

      Well. A little olive oil to cook them (like a little spoon of olive oil). Onion, garlic, salt and pepper (of course), probably some herbs (parsley, thyme, stuff like that)?
      I like to also add ginger and a little soy sauce when I cook vegetables with noodles or rice.
      Butter from time to time won't harm you (not at the same time as the olive oil, they have the same function).
      I like a little nutmeg with cauliflowers.
      Don't be afraid to experiment with spices and herbs. Sauces would probably add too many calories, but spices and herbs? That's fine.

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        #4
        Can also play with cooking method, roasted green beans (put on a cookie sheet with a tiny bit of oil, salt, pepper, garlic and maybe rosemary, put in a very hot oven for 10 mins or so) are much different then steamed. (Broccoli and califlower roast well also, broccoli w a ton of garlic, califlower with cumin are my reccs...peas do not roast well lol.) If you are steaming/boiling broccoli I really love it with bay leaves in the water (do not eat the bay leaves).

        if you have one of those basic spice racks that came w various herbs in it, just play a bit. Open bottles and smell them, see what smells seem to go together. Or think about what some of your favorite types of food are and try to mirror their spice combinations. Some combos that I reccomend - sage/rosemary/thyme go well together, oregano and cumin have a spanish inspired taste as a combo, cumin and curry powder and maybe corriander is indian, ginger garlic and soy instead of salt tastes chinese, garlic basil and oregano if you like Italian, mint basil hot peppers and lime is sort of thai inspired.

        I think seasonings were left out of the recipes to make them accessible to people who don't have them in their kitches (herbs are spices are not always cheap). Herbs and spices have a negligible amnt of calories, you are not going to wreck any diet adding them.

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          #5
          Also don't forget things like vinegar, lemon juice - lots of flavor, little to no calories.

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            #6
            Of course you can use butter and oil. They are not bad. it´s just about the amount and your goals.

            Otherways you can use any kinds of spices- easiest is salt/pepper. But there are about a milion other possibilites. Paprika powder also works for most dishes.Add herbs. Garlic. Onions.....

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              #7
              Never forget the garlic. Its just as important as the vegetable itself. Just from a flavor point of view.

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                #8
                aveoturbo So right, never underestimate the power of garlic! Especially these tasty turkish, greek, romanian cuisines live by garlic

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                  #9
                  100%Human I guess it depends on how you cook it. If as other suggest you roast it in the oven then a dried herb mix could be good (i.e. rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano and maybe a little olive oil), or possibly a vinaigrette reduction (i.e. some vinegar, olive oil and a dash of honey).

                  If you're sauteing you could try the a ginger, chilli and soy sauce mix, to give it a bit more of a stir fry feel.

                  if you're doing a fresh coleslaw you could try lots of grated cabbage and carrot with a little bit/a dash of mayo for some coleslaw.

                  Otherwise, if you want some cheap and easy options you could always just microwave frozen vegetables (i.e.a bowl full) and either have it plain or with a little bit of mustard or as other suggested some garlic and a little bit of oil or garlic.

                  The easiest thing to do is know which vegetables you actually enjoy/or don't mind eating and using them as a base for meals and then adding some protein components to them.

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                    #10
                    If you want to use fresh herbs, but can't use an entire pack in one go (I've found that cooking for 2), one trick is to freeze them — if you wash them, pat dry with some kitchen roll & put in a freezer bag, they're keep for ages & taste just like fresh (think we picked that up from some cookery show, can't remember which one).

                    Fresh leafy herbs (parsley, basil, tarragon) go really well with steamed/boiled veg, or in sauces (actually sauces are a nice way to season your meat and veg together, as you could easily make something that works well with both). Woody herbs (and dried herbs) are good with roasting things — e.g. rosemary / thyme works well with roast veg/spuds.

                    For spices, one easy way to add bags of flavour from spices is the Indian process of a 'tadka' or 'tempering' — frying dry spices in a small amount of really hot oil & then adding this to the otherwise prepped veg. E.g. You could steam carrots and then add something like mustard seeds cooked this way, and you can reduce the amount of oil used versus if you were frying the carrots themselves in oil. (A lot of dry spices are also quite cheap if you can buy them in bigger bags, if you have stores catering towards Asian communities in your area, versus buying a small amount in a glass jar from a regular supermarket)

                    Are there any vegetables in particular that you want ideas for? E.g. ones you like but need to change up / ones you hate & want to disguise the taste of


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                      #11
                      Lemon juice and/or fruit also brings a lot of tast to meat like chicken and also veggies.

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                        #12
                        100%Human I think others have pretty much summed it up, but the best thing really is to experiment. Start off with smaller amounts and add more progressively. Then one day you'll forget how much you put in and you'll put in too much or you'll lose the top of the spice jar and half the jar of hot chilli powder will end up going in (you can probably throw that one out and start again).

                        Onion and garlic are pretty much indispensable. The rest... is just trial and error. I've been cooking for about 20 years and I'm still experimenting... (and often forgetting!! ) Also remember that no combination is wrong if you like it. Equally, some combinations are considered "tried-and-tested" ( feathers has done a good job of summarising some classic European ones) but if you don't like it - don't go for it. It will take some time to find "that" combination for certain dishes, but when you do, it'll be a Eureka! moment.

                        You may also find some guidance on the side of the jars. If you don't, look for a recipe that has most of the principal ingredients, and see what they suggest. Dried herbs are more concentrated than fresh ones (generally by a factor of about 2:1 or 3:1).

                        Good luck, keep us updated with what you try - and what you find works.

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                          #13
                          I steam green vegetables and usually add some fresh chilli, ginger, and garlic - or some combination of those. Sesame oil is nice when serving too.

                          Or you can go down the more "salad dressing" sort of root, which is also nice. Most green vegetables work well with some combination of oil and vinegar - I did once have a recipe for a fantastic dressing for kale made with white wine vinegar, olive oil, capers, anchovies and some other bits and pieces, if I can track it down I'll post a link.

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                            #14
                            wjs Hiraelle 'rin K e l l y Ulli aveoturbo Nebulus Rahx feathers Martyn colinclean Hey guys, thanks so much for replying to my question. It really means a lot to me that you all took the time to impart your knowledge. I have absolutely no clue on how to mix and match spices because from where I come, the seasoning we most often use here are: soy sauce, vinegar, oyster sauce, fish sauce, garlic, onions, tomatoes, salt & pepper. When I saw the sample meals in the meal-plans, I was confused since the veggies in the pictures looked at most blanched and unseasoned. I didn't know where to start, mostly because I didn't want to ruin the "healthiness" of the meal plan itself by using the wrong ingredients. Your answers clarified everything. Once again, thank you for your kindest support! Here's hoping to a healthier life!​​​​​​​

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                              #15
                              100%Human herbs and spices don't generally contribute significant amounts in terms of calories or macronutrients so don't worry about it.

                              Soy sauce, fish sauce etc. are all good as well so you're not going to be stuck for options.

                              As a clue to mixing herbs and spices, you could maybe buy a set of measuring spoons - that may give you some ideas. It's all a question of taste - what works for one person may be unpalatable to another. For example, I love cumin and ginger. My mother can't stand cumin and my wife HATES ginger.

                              Good luck with your efforts. Maybe post some recipes when you've become a grand master

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