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How to Make Green Vegetables and Sprouted Beans and Seeds Taste Good

Updated on May 21, 2012

The Mirepoix Plus

To give this cooking tip a name, I’ll call it The Mirepoix Plus. Here’s a specific recipe for it - but you're limited only by your imagination:

Mirepoix:

1 medium onion
1 large carrot
1 large stick of celery
(That’s the traditional mirepoix ‘trilogy’.)

Add:

1 Bramley apple (cooking-apple)
1 piece of root ginger (about the size of your thumb) finely chopped
1 small to medium sweet potato

Method:

Dice it and sweat it all together on the lowest possible heat, for about an hour. (This obviously depends on your cooker.) This suits my routine - not everyone has an hour in the morning, but at the lowest possible heat, you won’t need to stand over it.

You’ll find that the carrot melts in your mouth and when you stir it, the sweet potato and fruit will puree.

Add:

1 tablespoon of tomato puree, which will contrast/compliment the sweetness of the fruit and sweet potato. And, any herbs or spices you fancy; I like Cajun mix, but it’s too hot for my wife’s taste.

I do this in the morning, and put my raw chopped up vegetables on top, so that when I come home in the evening I just need to put the pan on for 30-45 minutes, at the lowest heat possible, and heat it through whilst lightly steaming the green vegetables.

I soak my own seeds, and sprout my own lentils and beans, so I leave them completely raw and mix them into this mushy mirepoix at the very last moment before serving.

Sprouting

Sprouted Mung Beans
Sprouted Mung Beans
Sprouting Green Lentils
Sprouting Green Lentils
Alfalfa Sprouts
Alfalfa Sprouts
Sprouted Mung Beans
Sprouted Mung Beans

Mirepoix

Traditional Mirepoix
Traditional Mirepoix
Mirepoix
Mirepoix
Cabbages and Celery
Cabbages and Celery
Broccoli and Basil in Sunlight
Broccoli and Basil in Sunlight

Many people know about the health benefits of sprouted seeds, beans and lentils, but how do you make these healthy foods appetising? After all healthy-eating won’t help your health, if you get bored eating it and you go back to junk food. That's what I want to concentrate on in this blog.

I’ll also scatter a few links around, for you to get the guff on health benefits and sprouting methods. I don’t believe in bunging-up the internet with any more verbiage than is necessary.

I seldom actually cook what I’ve sprouted; I eat it raw. I believe cooking destroys vitamins. On the other hand, it also destroys harmful bacteria. Life's a gamble.

The question here is about how to prepare green vegetables and sprouts in a way that makes them as appetising as possible. And to do it with the least amount of inconvenience possible, because that's another thing that put's busy people off healthy eating and back into the arms of junk food.

Modern palates are used to chips, (French fries) sausages, pies, pizzas and meat dishes, and some people find it hard to persevere with a diet that seems alien to them.

Of course, it depends largely on how it’s prepared and cooked - and individual taste. I have no notion for processed foods now.

However, I do have a few tricks to mask the blandness of green vegetables and to help you acquire a taste for sprouted seeds and beans. This can help to make green vegetables like cabbage and broccoli a bit more interesting too.

One well tried and tested way to put body and flavour into a dish is with the traditional mirepoix, (that’s a fancy French word). The mirepoix consists of carrots, onions and celery. Equal amounts are fine: One medium onion, a medium sized carrot and two or three sticks of celery. If you sweat that lot lightly in some olive oil, (or butter, if you’re young and aren't concerned about cholesterol), until the carrot melts in the mouth, you'll get a good flavour base. I’ve an electric cooker, and I cook my mirepoix on the very lowest heat (number 1). It takes about an hour, but you can almost forget about it at such a low heat; it won’t burn - (but don't go on a fortnight’s holiday and forget about it, and then blame me when you get home to find a blob of aluminium on the kitchen floor).

Another thing I do, when I'm short of time, is turn the hob up full until I hear a sizzling sound, then I turn it down to its lowest heat immediately. It speeds things up a bit, but if you do that, don't leave the kitchen while the hob is fully up!

Either way, the objective is to cook the food slowly for better nutrition.

You can add stock cubes, your own favourite seasoning or bouillon mix, to suit your taste. I often use fruit, like apples and oranges to avoid using salt, to enhance the flavour. I often finely dice a couple of mandarin oranges, to add flavour. It has a similar effect to the use of lemon juice in cooking, to cut down on salt. I often use a Bramley (cooking) apple in this kind of recipe.

Sweet potatoes will puree easily to give your mirepoix a nicely flavoured, mushy texture to which you can add your greens, sprouted beans and lentils. You can also add things like fresh ginger root or mustard to your mirepoix to give it a bit of a kick.

I don’t worry about killing off the vitamin C in the fruit; I doubt if supermarket fruit contains much vitamins anyway. The sprouted seeds and veggies are the main source of vitamins. You can add them raw, or lightly steam them on top of the mirepoix for a short time before serving. Again, I like to do that on the lowest possible heat, so that the food doesn’t stick to the pan.

I heard some time ago that burnt food is carcinogenic (that’s a posh way of saying it causes cancer), although we shouldn’t believe everything we see and hear. But why take the chance?

Anyway, in the morning, I prepare the mirepoix, mix in the seasoning and place the raw sprouts and veggies on top. If you leave it in the pan, it’ll take about half to three-quarters of an hour on the slowest possible heat on the hob. If you want to microwave, it’ll take about 8-10 minutes in your microwavable dish.

Once the veggies look lightly steamed, according to your taste, you can mix the whole thing through. You can let it cool a while and then add some form of omega oil - like canola or linseed etc and your C vitamins like fresh lemon juice. It’s best to add any nutrients and vitamins that perish with overheating, at this stage.

Where I live, in the Scottish Borders, it’s difficult to get seeds specifically for sprouting, like alfalfa or broccoli seeds, so I just go to the nearest supermarket that sells mung beans or green lentils and sprout them instead. It’s much easier and cheaper - and there’s no postage cost. However, you can Google etc, and you’ll find plenty of companies who’ll send you the proper sprouting seeds and sprouting equipment.

Ah, yes! Now I mention equipment: you don’t need to buy anything special; a coffee jar and a wee piece of lace curtain should do. Keep it simple; if you spend a lot of money on health-food equipment that you ultimately don’t use, you’ll just end up with both, an empty wallet and a fat bum, - a double whammy, for your ‘best laid schemes’.

Comments

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    • amillar profile imageAUTHOR

      amillar 

      5 years ago from Scotland, UK

      We have an interesting heritage triciajean. I've read quite a bit of Scotland's history in the past (I mean my past), but I can't remember reading Tom Steele's book. It's maybe quite a recent publication. We were at the heart of the Industrial Revolution; I saw the tail end of it - as capital chased cheap and easy to abuse labour. I hope future generations will find a better way forward.

    • triciajean profile image

      Patricia Lapidus 

      5 years ago from Bantam, CT

      No dishwater, variable weather. Got it. I may have told you I just read a history of Scotland, Scotland's Story by Tom Steele. Quite the read. You are eating much better than some of our ancestors. And yet the Scots invented practically anything you can think of for industry.

    • amillar profile imageAUTHOR

      amillar 

      5 years ago from Scotland, UK

      That would be handy triciajean; I haven't a dishwasher. Mind you, the weather is beautiful in Scotland at present, but I can't guarantee it'll last - quite the opposite.

    • triciajean profile image

      Patricia Lapidus 

      5 years ago from Bantam, CT

      Oh, please, please, please, amillar, can I come live with you. I'll do all the dishes.

    • amillar profile imageAUTHOR

      amillar 

      5 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Hello triciajean, thanks for dropping by and commenting.

      I like to prepare all my food from scratch; then I know what goes into it, and who put it there - (and whether or not he washed his hands).

    • triciajean profile image

      Patricia Lapidus 

      5 years ago from Bantam, CT

      Thanks for a great idea, amillar. I love to make sprouts. I like all those ingredients.

    • amillar profile imageAUTHOR

      amillar 

      5 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Yes, I expect you're right Appsthatpayyou; sprouts should help with a vegan diet. I don't know much about vegan or vegetarian, but I once read, somewhere, that we tend to eat much more protein than we need. I get most of my protein from quinoa.

      Thanks for reading and liking.

    • Appsthatpayyou profile image

      Appsthatpayyou 

      5 years ago from London

      Another great hub! I had no idea sprouted beans contain 30% and many of the amino acids we need daily. So they really should be used in a vegan diet to boost protein. I'll be sharing this article and also liking it on Facebook. Thanks.

    • amillar profile imageAUTHOR

      amillar 

      6 years ago from Scotland, UK

      They’re always telling us what's good for us or not. The trouble is there are too many gurus, constantly disagreeing and changing their minds. I think you're right to ignore them. Everything's fine in moderation Jackie.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      That salad of mine with all the veggies has a sweet and sour taste from vinegar and marmalade so this would just be like a slightly cooked version I imagine. I love the flavor of seared meat and I do that even if I am going to bake it and I so hate they came up with that not good for you junk. I think I am going to ignore them.

    • amillar profile imageAUTHOR

      amillar 

      6 years ago from Scotland, UK

      Over is fine for me Jackie. I find veggies boring on their own. I have to chop them up and mix in some kind of sauce or seasoning, to make them appetising. The sweet and sour combination of fruit with tomato puree for example, helps to avoid salt-cravings.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Wow this sounds like a winner, I will keep it and go by it. I have been trying to stick to a veggie diet and it is boring but this sounds like I can have some good flavors to not miss the salt which is my big fear. Thank you Sir!

      Up and over!

      Well I can't find up, so how about over? !

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