11 ways to cook vegetables

Stir-frying, blanching, steaming or microwaving are the best cooking methods to preserve the taste, texture and nutritional value of vegetables, but other cooking techniques will also produce great results. Check out these 11 ways to cook your veggies.

11 ways to cook vegetables

1. Barbecuing

  • Cooking vegetables over hot coals enhances their flavour
  • Gas and electric barbecues produce a good result, too
  • Either set the grill to medium-hot or allow hot coals to die down for about 30 minutes before placing vegetables on the rack
  • Rub all vegetables with cooking oil or toss them in an oil-based marinade or vinaigrette before cooking
  • Use long-handled tongs to turn the vegetables once, halfway through cooking time, or when they are lightly charred and almost tender

2. Blanching

  • Blanching means cooking vegetables in a large amount of boiling water for a brief period of time
  • The vegetables can then be immersed in cold water to arrest the cooking process and to retain their bright colour

3. Boiling

  • Boiling means cooking vegetables in a pot of rapidly boiling water to cover
  • Use this method for hard vegetables such as green beans, broccoli spears and carrots
  • Cook the vegetable just long enough to freshen its colour and soften the texture
  • Bring water to a boil first, add the vegetables and cook uncovered or partially covered

4. Braising

  • To braise veggies, sauté vegetables briefly in fat before adding liquid to finish the cooking process
  • Braising works well with fibrous vegetables such as celery hearts, celeriac, leeks and fennel
  • Root vegetables and leafy greens also become very tender when they are braised

5. Frying

  • Frying means to cook vegetables in very hot fat
  • Pan-frying uses up to two centimetres (three-quarters of an inch) of fat in a pan to cook larger pieces of food such as crumb-coated slices of eggplant
  • Deep frying, where food is completely immersed in hot fat, is the method for cooking batter-coated vegetables, such as those cooked in the Japanese tempura style

6. Broiling

  • This means browning the surface of vegetables with intense dry heat while cooking the inside
  • Marinate vegetables or brush with oil before broiling
  • Fibrous vegetables such as celery and leeks are best if they are first blanched
  • The broiler should be preheated first
  • Place the vegetables 10 to 15 centimetres (four to six inches) from the heat

7. Microwaving

  • Microwaving is a fast, clean and convenient method for cooking many vegetables and retains their nutrients, crispness and colour
  • Place vegetables in a microwave-safe dish with a vented cover and add a small amount of water
  • The greater the volume of vegetables, the longer it will take for them to be cooked

8. Roasting

  • This means cooking vegetables slowly in an oven with dry heat
  • When vegetables are roasted, they are usually tossed first in oil or melted butter
  • High-temperature roasting at 200°C to 230°C (400°F to 450°F) results in well-browned, crisp food

9. Sautéing

  • To sauté vegetables, cook veggies quickly in a small amount of fat over a relatively high heat
  • Shaking the sauté pan frequently during cooking keeps the food from sticking
  • Tender vegetables such as onions, zucchini and mushrooms can be cut up and sautéed very quickly

10. Steaming

  • This means cooking food on a rack above boiling or simmering liquid, usually water
  • Cooking vegetables in the oven encased in parchment paper or aluminum foil with a little liquid is also a form of steaming

11. Stir-frying

  • To stir-fry vegetables, cook small pieces of food fast in a wok or frying pan in a small amount of oil over high heat, stirring constantly
  • Stir-fry just until crisp-tender
  • Organized preparation is essential for successful stir-frying. Chop vegetables and measure out seasonings ahead of time

Consuming a diet rich in healthy, nutrient-filled vegetables is a great way to keep your body performing at its peak. The next time you're preparing a balanced meal or healthy snack, include some veggies prepared in one of these 11 ways.

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