5 Ways to Cook Vegetables

Jerk Roasted Kuri SquashNaturally Ella

Preparing vegetables will always demand some extra time and
care. However, these days we’re all trying to get more vegetables
into our daily lives. Knowing more general ways to cook them only
works in our favor.

The transformation from raw to cooked never ceases to inspire
and once you learn the overall cooking processes, you can tackle
any vegetable like a pro. Below is just a start of ways you can
experiment with vegetables but hopefully this inspire more
vegetable cooking in your kitchen.

Blanching

Blanching is a quick cooking process that involves submerging
vegetables in boiling water for a short period of time. This
process helps vegetables lose that extreme crispy bite that might
be too much for some meals. Blanching works great for items like
asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower but can also be great for
greens.

How to blanch

To blanch, bring a pot of salted water to a boil with a bowl of
ice water nearby. Drop in your prepped vegetables and let them cook
for only a few minutes. The timing will depend on the heartiness of
what you’re cooking. Spinach will take around 30 seconds while
broccoli could be minutes. You want them to still be bright,
colorful, and crisp but not crunchy. Strain the vegetables and
transfer to the ice bath.

How to use blanched vegetables

I like to use blanched vegetables for vegetable cakes, stir
fries, or if I plan on pan-frying the vegetables after blanching.
Getting blanching under your fingers is also a good thing to have
in your pocket if you ever plan on freezing
vegetables
(which helps seal in color, flavor, and
nutrients.)

Example uses blanched vegetables:

Broccoli
Melts

Broccoli
Pesto Pasta

Garlicky
Yogurt Green Beans

Roasting

One of my favorite ways to cook harder vegetables like squash is
by tossing them in oil and salt and popping them in a 425˚F oven.
Let them roast under high heat for 30, 40, 50 minutes – I never
really set a timer I just check them occasionally with a fork to
test for softness and some good coloring.

How to use roasted vegetables

Roasting vegetables is a great way to lock in flavor and have a
bit of char-flavor to the items. Roasted vegetables are perfect as
a side but I love adding them to all kinds of meals including pizza
toppings, tacos, pasta, and salads.

Example uses roasted vegetables:


Sweet Chili Roasted Sweet Potato Spring Rolls

Roasted
Tomato Sauce

Einkorn
Risotto with Roasted Asparagus

Chili
Roasted Broccoli

Chile Roasted BroccoliCooking ComponentNaturally Ella

Steaming

I often times forget about this option when I am preparing
vegetables. When I think about cooking a sweet potato or a hard
winter squash, I sometimes get mentally cornered into thinking that
turning on the oven is the only way to get the job done.

Steaming takes a fraction of the time, and is easier to clean up
because there is no greasy oil or crusty bit of veg stuck to the
pan.
I highly recommend picking up a steaming basket
. This makes
steaming a bit easier because you can lift the vegetables out at
the end of steaming.

How to steam vegetables

For steaming, all the vegetables should be roughly the same
size, to cook evenly. Place about 1” of water in the bottom of a
pot. This water should not touch the steaming basket, though. Bring
that water to a boil, add your vegetables, turn the heat to a
simmer, cover, and cook until the vegetables are just-tender. The
vegetables should be bright in color still (similar to
blanching).

Remove the steaming basket and run the vegetables until cold
water to stop the cooking process then season as desired! Steamed
vegetables do well when finished with fats like olive oil, homemade
aioli, or other types of rich sauces.

How to use steamed vegetables

Steamed vegetables make for great side dishes. I also like to
use steaming if I plan on pureeing something into a sauce or soup.
You could also use as a filling for enchiladas, frittatas, or grain
bowls.

Example uses steamed vegetables:

Carrot
Baked Barley Risotto
(calls for roasting but could use steamed
carrots)
Sweet
Potato Pasta
(calls for roasting but could use steamed sweet
potato cubes)
Sweet Potato
Mac and Cheese
(calls for boiling but could use steamed sweet
potatoes)

Sautéing

I used to be intimidated by the term sauté – I thought you were
only doing it right if you managed to toss the food from your pan
up into the air and back into the pan again with a graceful yet
incredibly strong wrist action (luckily that’s not so).

How to sauté vegetables

Sauté simply means to fry something quickly in a little hot
fat. Cut your vegetables into evenly sized pieces, heat a pan with
some oil or ghee, and toss in the vegetables. Coat them in the hot
fat, and let the magic of fat and heat work wonders. Shoot for even
coloring and frequent stirring until everything is tender and
ideally caramelized or tastefully browned.

How to use sauteéd vegetables

Sautéed vegetables work well if you’re already making a meal
on the stove-top. Tacos, grain bowls, and egg skillets are all
great ways to use sautéed vegetables.

Example uses sauteéd vegetables:

Pan Fried
Turnips

White
Beans and Potatoes in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Green Bean
Stir Fry

Vegetable Lo
Mein

Pickling

This isn’t necessarily a ‘cooking method’ but the
fermentation nerd side of me can’t overlook the ease and fun of
quick pickling vegetables. There is no canning required, just some
vinegar, salt, sugar, and spices if you wish. There are many
different variations on pickling, which can be found along with

instructions here.

How to use quick pickles

Quick pickles are great on sandwiches, as a topping for
salads/grain bowls, or as a simple snack. Many different vegetables
work well as quick pickles- just play around and find what you
like!

Example uses pickled vegetables:

Hummus
Sandwich with Pickled Carrots

Avocado
Romain Wedge Salad with Pickled Radish


Caramelized Onion and Cheese Toast with Quick Pickles

Pickled Carrotshttp://naturallyella.com

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Vegetables
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5 Ways to Cook Vegetables