Hiding food

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.

Calvin Trillin

Picture the scene – you have a family of fussy eaters. Someone doesn’t like carrots, someone doesn’t like courgette, someone doesn’t like onion……. making cooked meals is a nightmare because you’re trying to get some good veggies and some extra vitamins and minerals into these people and they’re just not having it. Well now is the time to get sneaky my friend. There are some very easy ways to hide food in other foods!

Now before we get into this please note that this is only acceptable if meant with good intention and the other diners do not have food intolerances or allergies. 

There are plenty of foods that as standalone foods aren’t all that great, let’s be honest. I don’t rate courgette as a veg on its own. I’m not a fan of the texture, and the taste is very bland. But it’s these two factors that make it perfect for hiding. If you’re doing something like a spaghetti bolognese get that courgette chopped up real small and in with the mixture it goes. By the time you’ve cooked the sauce down there’s no courgette to be seen. Throw it in a stew too, it makes a great thickener. While you’re at it, throw in some peppers, some celery, some spinach or some kale. All these foods will take on a completely different taste and texture when used as ingredients rather than side dishes and salads. 

Carrots are a little harder to hide, but it’s still possible. Again, chopped up small it’ll go in a sauce like the bolognese or a ragu. What about making a smoothie and throwing in some grated carrot? It gives it a natural sweetness. 

Onion can be chopped down super fine. Once you’ve thrown that in a cottage pie, a lasagne, an omelette, a quiche, or a burger you’ll never know it’s there. Obviously onion has a distinctive flavour so if you really don’t like it then you need to pair it with some other strong flavours.

Cauliflower causing problems? Chop up small and mix some of that into a tomato sauce with the other goodies to pack it out. The flavour will be well hidden. Get it into an enchilada mix and the spices will cover that up.

There are some great sweet recipes too. Beetroot in brownies, avocado in cakes, sweet potato in apple pie. I’m not even kidding. With some creativity who knows where you can sneak those extra vitamins and minerals in. Have you tried avocado in a smoothie? It’s fantastic. Creamy and delicious. 

Lasagna on White Ceramic Plate

Remember also that sometimes just cooking things differently can change the flavours. Roasting carrots with some honey is a whole different world to steamed carrots. Baking cauliflower in a glorious cheesy sauce is so much more tempting than some boiled florets.

So there’s some ideas for you. Not only do you get to use up some leftovers that you’ve got knocking around but you’re helping people to stay healthy at the same time so go forth and hide that veg! Give things a try. Cooking should be fun so there’s no need to stress over it. If they don’t work out it’s ok, you won’t do them again, but you never know unless you try.

I’d love to hear what you do with your fruit and veg so please do share your ideas.

Please note:  This post is intended to be general information that applies to people who don’t have diagnosed medical conditions and are not pregnant, and any figures correct at the time of writing. As always, please see a registered professional before making changes to your diet⁠ and never give anyone else food or drink that you do not 100% know is safe for them.