The Best Ways To Cook Popular Polarizing Foods

The Best Ways To Cook Popular Polarizing Foods

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“I understand why people are so averse to this ingredient on its own, but when prepared this way, it’s difficult not to love it.”

It’s only human to have preferences, which is why different people love and hate particular foods. But sometimes the reason we dislike something only has to do with the preparation. So Redditor u/Scarlet_Highlander2 said: “Let’s play a game: List a food or ingredient that you absolutely hate[d], and the recipe that change[d] your perspective on it.” Here are some commonly disliked foods…and the preparations that might just change your opinion of them.


“I absolutely hate raw tomatoes. For me, the worst feeling is when you find sliced tomatoes in a sandwich. But I realized that on bruschetta, eating raw tomato is a totally different experience. Try beautiful cherry tomatoes chopped up with good olive oil, fresh garlic, basil, and black pepper on bruschetta. It’s absolutely heavenly.”


“Fennel. Lots of people can’t stand the licorice-like flavor. But if you roast fennel with other veggies on the grill with olive oil, salt, and pepper, it loses that strong flavor and becomes more mild and sweet.”


“Mushrooms. I find that most people who ‘hate’ mushrooms dislike like the texture, not the flavor. The solution: Cook them for much longer. Mushrooms are virtually impossible to overcook so fry them in butter in a skillet they are tiny and crispy and delicious.”


“Anchovies. I understand why some people are so averse to this teeny tiny seafood. They’re extremely fishy and salty. But when they’re incorporated into savory dishes, they just enhance the flavor. I love using anchovies to jazz up roasted vegetables. For example, I’ll make a paste out of olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and minced anchovies, toss it onto veggies (think: broccoli, cabbage, carrots, etc) and roast until charred.”


“Okra. Some people can’t get over the slimy texture. But it actually comes out fantastic if you smoke it alongside whatever other barbecue you’re making — brisket, ribs, chicken, etc.”


“Spinach. I always hated spinach growing up, but it was saag paneer — an Indian dish of creamy, spiced spinach served with cubes of paneer cheese — that made me realize this vegetable could actually be delicious.”


“Cooked carrots. I’m not terribly fond of them, but there’s one way of preparing them that I can’t resist. Boil carrots down until they’re semi-soft but not too mushy, then smother them in butter and sugar or honey. “


“Star anise. The smell may seem very intense, but try using it in pho. Once you’ve had a good pho with star anise, this Vietnamese noodle soup begins to taste strange without it.”


“Capers. I absolutely love salty things like pickles and olives, but sometimes capers are even too briny for me. But fried until crispy in a little butter or olive oil, they make an irresistible topping for things like pan-seared fish, Caesar salad, or chicken piccata.”


“Brie cheese. If you find the flavor too pungent or overpowering, add some heat. Baking Brie with honey and some nuts mellows out some of the funkiness.”


“If you want to like oysters but the texture is what gets you, try eating them fried. A good fried oyster retains a lot of the flavor, but it totally loses that snotty/slimy texture. Done right, they’re firm but still tender. You can serve them in the shell with your favorite toppings or condiments.”


“Tarragon. It can be a strong herb for some people, but try it in homemade chicken salad with a bit of Dijon mustard mixed in. The flavors really balance one another.”


“Salmon. Lots of people make salmon the wrong way, over-cooking it so that it’s dry and chalky. But cooked properly, salmon is tender, flaky, and versatile. I personally love slow-roasting it in a 275°F oven until it’s just an opaque pink color. Roasting at this low of a temperature makes it hard to overcook the fish and ensures a delicious texture.”


“Tofu. So many people think you’re supposed to eat it plain and unseasoned — which is disgusting, so of course you’re going to think you don’t like tofu. But once you realize you can do sooo much with a block of tofu, you’ll see how tasty it is. Now, I love to sauté tofu in vegetable oil with peppers and whatever assorted greens I have in my fridge, and it tastes wonderful.”


“Beets. I always felt like beets tasted like dirt until I started pickling them or eating them with something zesty (like a vinegar-based salad dressing or tangy goat cheese. The zingy element removes that earthy flavor many people find unappealing.”


“Lamb or goat. Lots of people find these meats too gamey to enjoy. If you want to incorporate them into your diet, try making curry or korma. Fully cooked, tender goat or lamb in spicy gravy tastes like bliss. Or try braising or slow-cooking lamb shank or shoulder until it can be pulled. This type of cooking method renders off a lot of the strongly-flavored fat.”


“Eggplant. Whether you dislike the taste or texture, you might enjoy eggplant in the form of babaganoush. It’s a creamy spread that is similar to hummus, but it’s made with roasted eggplant instead of chickpeas.”


“Zucchini noodles. I think many people think they don’t like spiralized zucchini because they overcook it. Too much time in a pan makes zoodles mushy. But if you throw zucchini noodles into a screaming hot pan just to get some fast color, it’s a game-changer. Once just charred, I add basil, olive oil, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, and fresh Parmesan. It’s the best summer side dish ever.”


“Scrambled eggs. For my whole life I’d only ever eaten dry and rubbery scrambled eggs — cooked over high heat with no butter in the pan. So when I saw that pro chefs cook scrambled eggs low and slow until they turn custardy, it was my single biggest cooking ah-ha moment. Now, scrambled eggs cooked with a good amount of butter over gentle heat is one of my favorite meals.”


“Scallops. I thought all scallops were just supposed to taste like the texture of rubber bands. Turns out I was just over-cooking scallops my whole life. Once I had the pleasure of tasting prosciutto wrapped scallops in lemon caper butter sauce, my life was truly changed forever.”


“Kimchi. I’m not a fan of kimchi straight from the jar because the flavor is too strong. But stir fried with noodles, rice, and whatever vegetables and/or protein in your fridge, it tastes delicious.”


“Cucumber. I’ll admit that I don’t enjoy cucumber on its own, but I absolutely love Chinese smashed cucumber salad. It’s crave-worthy and so refreshing, made with smashed cucumber pieces tossed in garlic, chili oil, sesame oil, and vinegar.”


“Tuna steaks. It makes me angry when people sear tuna steak until it’s cooked almost all the way through. It should be cold and still very pink on the inside. If you’re buying sashimi-grade fish, you want to let the freshness and flavors shine…not kill it with heat.”


“Brussels sprouts. I always hated this vegetable because I’d only ever eaten them boiled. Then I tried roasted Brussels sprouts, and it made the biggest difference. Tossed in just olive oil, salt, and pepper or a bit of honey and balsamic, you can’t even compare them to the boiled version.”


“Peas. Growing up we ate lots of mushy, canned peas with no seasonings. I absolutely hated them. But as an adult I’ve learned that peas can be delicious. I particularly loved making steamed sugar snap peas tossed with some sesame oil and Chinese 5-spice seasoning.”


“Raisins. I understand not loving raisins on their own, by try frying golden raisins in ghee or butter with some nuts (like cashews or almonds) and fried onions. They make an amazing topping for your favorite grain like quinoa or basmati rice.”



“Liver. If you think you don’t like it, try a bit spread on the bread of a banh mi sandwich. Between the pickled vegetables, creamy pâté, and crunchy bread, the flavors are perfect. It’s my favorite sandwich when made properly.”


“Asparagus. When I first tried fresh and crispy roasted asparagus it blew my mind. I never knew this vegetable could taste so good. As a kid, I was always served asparagus boiled or from a can.”


“Olives. They’re a divisive food you either love or hate. But even strong opponents of olives might change their mind after trying chicken marbella. It’s a sweet and savory Moroccan-inspired dish made with pitted prunes, green olives, capers, and white wine. The way all the flavors balance one another and work together makes this dish seriously hard to resist.”


“Beans. If you’re not a huge fan of black beans, fava beans, white beans, or any beans on their own, turn it into creamy hummus. You can substitute the chickpeas for any kind of beans. Blending them with garlic and lemon totally transforms your basic beans.”

What’s an ingredient that you thought you hated until you had it prepared a certain way? Tell us in the comments below!