This is a great question (and one of the subjects of Chapter 6 of Mindless Eating), but here's a quick example of how vegetables can make a meal tastier if they are served in the main dish and not off to the side.
A number of years ago I flew back for my Aunt Eileen’s 90th birthday party in Iowa. After a rousing out-of-tune rendition of “Happy Birthday,” and a round of Wal-Mart birthday cake, Aunt Eileen fell soundly asleep in her chair. It reminded me of most of my birthdays. Later that night we all had a tuna casserole dinner –a very good casserole dinner. But something was different. It didn’t have any rice, or potatoes, or pasta in it. What it had was a double-load of vegetables. Some were frozen, some fresh, some canned.Some were probably according to the recipe, but most were pretty much random. It didn’t matter; it tasted great.
What an overlooked idea. These vegetables gave the casserole a whole lot more flavor than the blah-tasting carbs we put in by habit.
We've used this every week since in my kitchen. If vegetables go in the dish, we make it a double-load and no one ever complains.
For 30 years my Lab and I have focused on discovering secret answers to help people live better lives. Some of these relate to health and happiness (and often to food). Please share whatever you find useful.