While eating your vegetables raw is the best way to get all the nutrients, it is not always the most fun way. Cooking your vegetables allows you to make a range of dishes. You can try out new delicacies and recipes, so your meal plans do not get bored.
However, is there a way to cook your vegetables, just right? Should you avoid certain cooking methods? How do you keep some crunch on your vegetables when you cook them?
It is time to get the best-cooked vegetables for all occasions. Each vegetable will require different cooking time and necessities and will also taste better in certain ways. It is worth breaking the cooking down by individual vegetable.
Here is your ultimate guide to cooking your vegetables to make them delicious, nutritious, and fun.
You can braise, grill, roast, and microwave artichokes relatively easily. They will require a little prep work to remove the tough outer leaves that can make them almost impossible to cook and eat. Do not forget to chop their woody stems off as well.
If the artichokes have any bruising or browning, discard them. They are starting to go off and will not have all the nutrients to support your health.
When braising, you will need some olive oil to help prevent them sticking to the pan. They taste delicious with a little thyme mixed in and about a cup of white wine or vermouth. Bring the liquid to a simmer and then cover and cook for about 15 minutes. They will be tender and absorb all the flavors.
If grilling, you will want to scoop the choke out of the artichokes by chopping them in half. You can add a little oil and salt over the top, before grilling for about 8 minutes. Turn partway through the grilling time to cover all sides.
Steaming is extremely easy and one of the healthiest ways to cook the vegetable. Put in a basket over some water and cook for 15 minutes, so they are nice and tender.
Microwaving can be a good way to cook to keep the nutrients. You can add some white wine and thyme to the dish with the vegetable and cook for about 8 minutes. You will get the taste like braising.
Like artichokes, asparagus can be cooked in all four ways, although roasting and grilling tend to be the most favored. If the ends look a little woody, discard them as it means they have gone off. You want sturdy spears for excellent taste. Trim of the ends of the asparagus before cooking them.
Use some water and lemon in a pan for braising and simmer the asparagus in there for about 5 minutes, until tender. You can use the same mixture in the microwave, cooking on high for 3 minutes.
When roasting, you will need to turn the oven up high to 500F. Coat the vegetables with olive oil and cook for 10 minutes, turning halfway through. As for grilling, place under a medium heat for 6 minutes, turning now and then to avoid one side burning.
Broccoli is one of the most popular vegetables in the grocery store. It is packed with nutrients that will support your whole health, and it is one of the easiest to cook. Steaming is one of the most popular ways to cook, but certainly not the only option. However, broccoli tends to be better raw to get all the nutrients if you can deal with the slightly bitter taste.
Avoid broccoli with yellow florets. You can eat or discard the central trunk of the broccoli, but it is easier to cook just the forest.
To steam, add some water and lemon juice to a pan and bring to a simmer for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli to a basket over the water and cook for 5 minutes. You will cook through and absorb all the flavors of the lemon to balance out the bitterness of the vegetable.
Roasting is an option, but like asparagus, you will need to have the oven turned high to 500F. Cover in a little oil and cook for 10 minutes, turning halfway through to avoid burning. The broccoli will be slightly browned.
If you like to use the microwave, you can cook broccoli in just 4 minutes. Place the florets in a dish, cover, and place in the microwave on high.
It is time to get your Christmas vegetables just right. They tend to be the vegetables everyone avoids but buys because of it “traditional.”
You want to get firm Brussels sprouts that haven’t yellowed. Look out for insect holes, as they tend to be favorites of insects. One thing many people tend to forget to do peel the outer leaves. Most stores will not do this for you, but the outer leaves tend to be tough to chew.
Braising is one of the quickest ways to cook. You can put in a skillet with some dry white wine and cook for about 7 minutes. The Brussels sprouts will soften and absorb the flavors of the wine.
Alternatively, you can use the same liquid in the microwave. You only save about a minute of cooking time.
If you want to steam, place some water in a pan and cook the sprouts over the top for 6-8 minutes. Roasting will take longer and require a 500F heat. You will need to oil and cook for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through. While many people roast, they do not give the Brussels sprouts enough time to soften.
Carrots are one of the most popular vegetables and quite frequently eaten raw or boiled. There is no problem with doing either, but sometimes you want to do something a little different.
When buying carrots, look for those that are orange. You want to avoid any that have white/gray sections on their skin or any residue left behind. Buy with the greens attached if you can, as the carrots will gain more nutrients from them. Before cooking, chop the greens off and peel the carrots.
Microwaving the carrots is certainly one of the quickest ways to cook them. You can chop the carrots and put in some white wine or broth. Cook, covered, for 3 minutes on high.
Alternatively, you can use some water in a pan and steam the carrots for 4 minutes. Frying in a pan with some butter will also only take you 4 minutes, but make sure you keep moving the vegetable around the pan.
Roasting tends to be popular when making Sunday dinner. Chop the carrots in half lengthwise and place on a baking tray, covering with a little oil. Bake at 500F for 15 minutes. Get the temperature right for soft, well-roasted carrots.
While you can eat cauliflower raw, you do not have to. It is straightforward to cook. You want to prepare the cauliflower in the way that you did with broccoli, as florets are easy to cook rather than trying to cook the trunk. Avoid cauliflower with yellow or brown spots. Purple spots are fine!
It is possible to steam cauliflower over some water for 5 minutes, or you can cook in some white wine or vermouth for 4 minutes in the microwave. Braising is popular with some white wine and caraway seeds, and only takes about 4 minutes.
If you choose to roast, make sure the temperature is high at 500F again and bake for 15 minutes, turning partway through to avoid burning.
Whatever you call the vegetable, eggplants need to be cooked just right to get rid of the bitter taste. The eggplant should feel heavy, with smooth and glossy skin. Any wrinkles will mean that it is going off.
There is no need to peel the skin if you do not want. Chop in half or in thick rounds depending on how you plan to cook.
If you are going to roast, chop in half and cook at 500F for 15 minutes. Turn the eggplant over halfway through. You can also grill in the same way, but it will take just 8 minutes.
Braising is the other option, which is when the thick rounds are useful. Mix the rounds with some salsa before placing in the pan and then cook for 15 minutes. You will help to balance out the bitterness and earthy flavor of the vegetable.
Green beans are another vegetable that tends to be eaten because they are traditional. Nobody really enjoys them because they tend not to cook them properly. Look for firm and thin beans and snip the ends off, before cooking.
You can cook in four different ways. Frying is certainly the quickest, taking just 2 minutes. You will only need a little oil and will need to stir frequently to avoid burning.
Microwaving is the next quickest and easiest option. Put the beans in a little water and place in the microwave, covered, for 4 minutes. If you want to steam, use water in a pan and cook for 5 minutes.
Roasting will take the longest, but you can get soft, delicious beans. Coat with a little oil and cook for 10 minutes, turning halfway through.
Whether you get red-skinned, yellow-skinned, or white potatoes, you can cook them in similar ways. These are popular in households, and you will already likely cook them in a range of ways. Make sure you scrub off all the dirt before cooking and check that the skin is firm. There is no need to peel the skin before cooking but you can.
Baking your potatoes whole is popular, and you can do this both in the oven or in the microwave. Stab a fork or knife into the potato a few times to allow the water to escape the potato easily. Put the oven up as high as possible and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. The skin should be papery, and the potato will be soft on the inside. If microwaving, you can cook for 6-10 minutes, depending on the size of the potato. If you want to get the crispy skin, pop in the oven for a few extra minutes.
Alternatively, you can chop the potatoes into wedges and cover with some olive oil. Roast in the oven at 500F for 20-25 minutes. Try a few herbs and spices with the olive oil for a slightly different taste.
Fry your potatoes for something a little different. You can grate or chop in chunks and put in the frying pan with a little oil. Cook for 6 minutes, pressing the potatoes down into the pan if grated, and flip for another 5 minutes. If cubed, cook for about 10 minutes, moving around the pan frequently.
Squash of All Kinds
Squash is available throughout the year but is far more popular during the fall and winter months. Acorn and butternut squash tend to be the most known about, but you can follow these cooking tips for all of them.
Start by halving the squashes and scooping out all the seeds. If you find it hard to but, you can place in the microwave for a few minutes to soften.
To roast, score the squash with a knife and then put, uncovered, in the oven for 45-60 minutes at the highest temperature possible. Check on the squash regularly after the first 45 minutes to avoid burning the yummy goodness. The skin can be burned.
You can also similarly grill the squash. If you want, chop the squash into rounds and grill for 3-4 minutes.
When braising, use some apple juice in the pan and add cubed squash (with no skin) to the mixture. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the squash, is soft. Alternatively, chop into rings and fry for 7 minutes in a little oil and garlic.
In most cases, sweet potatoes can be cooked in the same way as normal potatoes. Look out for those with tight and slightly papery ends.
You can make sweet potato jacket potatoes by roasting or microwaving in the same way as normal potatoes. Sweet potatoes can be a little easier to cook, so you may only need about 45 minutes.
Braising is a popular way to add a little extra taste of your vegetables. Use some broth, thyme, and honey to accompany the natural sweetness of the potato. Chop the sweet potatoes into small cubes and cook for 15 minutes in the liquid, while covered. Remove the cover and cook for another 2 minutes to make the liquid into a glaze.
Sweet potato wedges are easily made in the oven. Turn the heat up to 500F and use some olive oil over the top of your potatoes. Cook for 20-25 minutes, turning partway through to avoid burning.
Add the wedges to some water to boil your potatoes if you want. Cook for about 15 minutes until tender. You can drain and add some milk and butter to make sweet potato mash if you want. Add some boiled carrots and make sweet potato and carrot mash.
Turnips and Swede
Finally, it is all about the turnip and Swede. They can taste delicious, but they need to be cooked just right. You also need to find those that haven’t started decaying, which means looking for firm and white skinned turnips or Swede. It is best if the greens are still attached when buying, but you will want to chop the greens off when cooking.
Grilling the vegetables is one of the easiest and quickest options. Slice the turnips into rounds and steam them for 5 minutes, before putting on the grill for about 8 minutes. You can just keep them in the basket to steam for 12 minutes to fully cook that way if you want.
If roasting, drizzle oil over the turnip or Swede rounds and bake for about 15 minutes, until tender. Frying is your next option, which will take about 12 minutes with a little oil.
It is also possible to boil and then mash. Turnip, Swede and carrot mixtures tend to work together for something a little different to the usual mash at Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Make the Most of Your Vegetables
These are some of the most popular vegetables undercooked or not prepared properly. Not cooking right will destroy the taste, the nutrients, and the fun. Make sure you get them just right by following this ultimate guide. You will soon have a dish worth serving to family and friends, without apologizing for burnt bits!