So You “Don’t Like Vegetables”

Pretty much everyone knows that eating more vegetables, less meat and less processed food would be a healthier way to live. But it can be hard to do, and when we don’t want to try something new, we often turn to excuses. In this case a common excuse is I hear from people is, “I don’t like vegetables.” “Really,” I ask in return, “which ones?” “Oh, all of them,” is the typical reply. Then I’ll ask them to list all of the vegetables they have eaten at least twice and find objectionable.

So they start writing – carrots, beets, onions, celery, cucumbers, peppers, sweet potatoes, etc. By the time they’ve identified about ten or so they’re running out of steam. With prodding many can eke out another five or ten. So that makes maybe twenty or so vegetables that they “don’t like.”

Then I ask them to take a look at this list of vegetables:

Alfalfa sprouts, Artichoke, Arugula, Asparagus, Avocado, Bamboo shoots, Bean sprouts, Beets, Bell Peppers, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Chickpeas, Chile peppers, Chinese cabbage, Chives, Collard greens, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Garlic, Green beans, Green onions, Green peas, Greens, Horseradish, Jicama, Kale, Kidney beans, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lemon grass, Lentil beans, Lettuce, Lima beans, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Navy Beans, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Potato, Pumpkin, Radishes, Radicchio, Rhubarb, Rutabaga, Sauerkraut, Shallot, Snow Peas, Soybeans, Spinach, Split Peas, Squash, Sweet potato, Tomato, Turnip, Water chestnuts, Watercress, Yams, and Zucchini

Impressive, isn’t it? (I know that, technically, some of these are fruits, but most people think of them as vegetables.) And this is actually a pretty short list. Many more are local delicacies or staples in far away locations – seaweed in Japan, for example.

After reviewing the list, we cover ways of preparation – raw, steamed, roasted, etc. What various ways haven’t they tried? Have they tried stir-fry, or vegetable stews or soups? How about Indian or Middle Eastern vegetable dishes? And so on.

Two things generally happen: 1) they realize how much variety is available, and agree that perhaps there might be some individual vegetables and dishes which will appeal to them, and 2) we usually stumble over one or more things that they actually do like – perhaps hummus, minestrone, or corn. Aha! We’ve got something to build on.

Now they’re ready to end the “I don’t like vegetables” mantra and begin a journey of discovery in search of healthy and tasty plant-based foods. This really works. If this is you, why not try it and get started with what you do like? Then push the boundaries a little every month and see where you go.


  1. Clever approach. Fortunately, I like most vegetables. Not eggplant, though. Give me a roasted beet any day.

  2. Peter Weiss says:

    Thanks Diana. Beets are one vegetable that I’m not wild about, but I like most of the rest. (okay maybe not Kale either.)