Serving a couple of vegetables every night at dinner is a great strategy for families with picky eaters.
Offering young kids a choice ("Would you like green beans or parsnips or both tonight?") gives them a small but important sense of efficacy, while also helping to demystify ingredients that are served at the table. And for the rest of us, eating a couple of vegetables with each meal is a great chance to get in the variety of nutrients that keeps us healthy.
But two vegetables a night adds up quickly, and we can find ourselves a little lost for creative preparations, especially when time is short.
One of my favorite ways to cook veggies quickly is the pan-saute/steam method. It melds the best of sauteing (a little fat and flavor) and steaming (speedy cooking without bland boiling).
Start by adding a little fat to a saute pan. I love coconut oil for its healthy benefits and slightly nutty and exotic notes, but any neutral oil will do.
Saute the veggies for a couple of minutes, adding in whatever spices or aromatics your family loves. You can go simple with shallots or garlic or more complex with curry paste.
Next, add liquid — water, broth, citrus juice — and cover to steam for a few minutes. Once the veggies are crisp-tender, uncover the pan and allow the liquid to evaporate, leaving the veggies in a tasty and simple glaze. Top with some kind of acid — lime juice and tangy plain yogurt both work well with a variety of flavors.
And the final touch? Something crunchy (like pumpkin seeds or chopped nuts) and something fresh like chopped basil, cilantro or mint.