Our vegetable crisper drawer has a wide selection of possibilities when it comes time to make dinner but not always enough of any one vegetable to make a side dish. Perhaps your garden is just starting to produce okra with only a few pods big enough to harvest. This is a great opportunity for vegetables to team up and make side dishes that ooze garden fresh flavor.
I find that onions along with red sweet peppers have a wonderful way of boosting flavor in other vegetables. Team those two with zucchini or yellow squash and you have a combination where each flavor complements the other. Take the simple step of letting onion, either chopped or sliced, begin to brown in a lightly oiled skillet then add summer squash or zucchini, potatoes or cauliflower — you hardly need any other seasoning. This is a great technique if you are trying to cut back on salt.
This onion start is also great with chopped cabbage or kales. You can decide how much, but I use a ratio between a quarter and a half. Add a second flavor-maker vegetable like red sweet peppers and you have trios of yummy flavors evolving in the skillet, and in your mouth.
A marketing guru once told me research shows that the color red makes you salivate. If this is true, the red of a sweet pepper is perfect for helping other vegetables find their way into our menus. The pepper brings its own layer of flavor to most any dish. The roasting or sauteing of the pepper is a flavor boost worth taking time to do.
My recent foray into vegetable flavor combos involved one small yellow squash, one zucchini and several okra pods. With onions and red peppers nearly always on hand, I had the making of a great little sidekick. When sauteing several vegetables together I start with the vegetable that will take the longest first, often starting the onion with it. All you really need is just enough canola, grape-seed or olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Sometimes I include the chopped red pepper with it if I am after caramelizing it as well.