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8 Ways to Season and Cook Vegetables Without Butter or Oils

I'm a San Francisco-based freelance writer and blogger with nearly ten years of writing experience behind me.

These baby mushrooms are tasty in some veggie broth

These baby mushrooms are tasty in some veggie broth

Fresh vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, many people ruin their nutritional value by slathering them with butter or dousing them in oils to fry them up. Here are eight different ways to season and cook your vegetables without using butter and oil, so that they stay healthy and also taste interesting.

1. Steam Vegetables

Steaming your vegetables is one of the best ways to get the full flavor of the vegetable itself so that you don’t actually need any seasoning at all. Try to keep the vegetables only lightly steamed so that they’re still a little bit crunchy; that’s how you will get the best flavor.

2. Add Just a Dash of Salt

If you can’t stand the taste of unseasoned steamed vegetables, there are lots of other options. The simplest one is just to add a little bit of salt. This will bring out more of the flavor of the vegetable. It will also help you get used to eating fresh vegetables if you’re more used to packaged and processed foods. Try to cut back on the salt gradually until you don’t need it anymore and can just enjoy your vegetables without it, though, since salt isn’t ideal in a diet. Bonus: Consider trying flavored salts, such as rosemary salt, to get a different flavor to your vegetables.

3. Add Just a Dash of Brown Sugar

If you really don’t like your vegetables but are trying to eat more of them then start the process by adding a little bit of brown sugar on top of them. This is especially popular on carrots but is good on many other vegetables as well. You can add brown sugar to steamed or boiled vegetables to get a great sweet flavor.

4. Boil in Broth

One thing that I love to do with my vegetables is to boil them up in a little bit of broth. I use vegetable bouillon cubes personally to create a flavorful broth that I enjoy but you can use chicken or beef broth or any other soup stock that you like. I just put a little bit in the bottom of a pan, add the vegetables and then bring to a boil with the pan’s lid on to keep in the flavorful steam. It adds richness to the vegetables, whether you eat the broth itself or throw that part out.

5. Add a Twist of Citrus

Add a little bit of fresh citrus juice on top of freshly steamed vegetables to give them a uniquely tasty flavor. Lemon is most popular and can be used on just about everything (lemon atop broccoli is a favorite of mine personally). But experiment with fresh lime, orange and grapefruit juice, too.

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6. Marinade and Throw Veggies on the Grill

Grilled vegetables are super tasty and often have a nice crunch to them. To avoid using oil or butter on the grill, you’ll want to marinade your veggies first. There are many options for marinades; I enjoy ones that are based around soy sauce.

7. Make a Sauce

Marinades are great, but they aren’t the only way to soak your veggies in flavor. Another option is to boil the veggies inside of a sauce. Try broccoli cooked in alfredo sauce, potatoes in curry sauce, or mushrooms in red sauce.

8. Use Hot Sauce

Depending on your taste buds you might like some salsa or hot sauce on top of your favorite steamed veggies. Mushrooms and baby corn with some spicy hot sauce on top is a super favorite of mine!

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