I know I need greens, but I don’t like them! It’s no news flash that I should be eating more veggies, especially given the history of cancer in my family. But—and I’m going to sound like a little kid complaining about this—no amount of butter can make asparagus and Brussels sprouts taste good. Is there any way to make them more appetizing?
It sounds like you’re among the 25 percent of the population who are supertasters. (Yes, that’s the scientific term.) For these people, the bitter-taste receptor gene TAS2R38 makes compounds like the phenylthiocarbamide in many green vegetables (and others such as cabbage) taste “yucky.” Fortunately, leaving veggies on the stove or grill for a little longer—10 to 15 minutes total— will heat them enough to break down the offending compounds. To reduce the pungent flavor (without allowing nutrients to leach out), try either of these methods: Sauté vegetables for five minutes in a healthy oil like olive or avocado, or blanch them in boiling water for two minutes. Also, sprinkling hot water with salt (nature’s bitterness blocker) makes them more palatable. If you’d prefer to eat them raw for maximum nutrition, try adding some agave. This natural sweetener masks bitterness and doesn’t spike blood sugar. Mix it with balsamic vinegar and use as a dressing.