How to Cook Vegetables
Learning how to cook vegetables can be broken down into simple, easy
understandable parts. The essential parts involve cleaning and
preparation and the techniques of different cooking methods. In this
article we will cover these basics, as well as taking a look at what
methods are the fastest and healthiest ways to cook vegetables.
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Cleaning and Preparation
There are two major reasons for cleaning vegetables thoroughly
before cooking them. The first one, which will be obvious to anyone,
is that fresh vegetables are often covered in dirt due to being
grown in the ground. There's also a less obvious reason - virtually
all vegetables you buy from a supermarket will come from crops
sprayed with pesticides. These chemicals, while invisible, can be
harmful and should not be ingested. Make sure all vegetables are
washed thoroughly before you start cooking. This is less important
with vegetables that will be peeled, but it's still good practice to
Peeling and chopping are the next elements of preparation. The
recipe should specify how vegetables are to be prepared -whole,
peeled, diced, sliced, finely chopped, mashed, and so on. There is a
difference between sliced and diced - slicing means a long fine
slice in one direction through the vegetable, while diced means
cutting the vegetable into cubes.
How to Cook Vegetables-Different Cooking Methods
See our basic cooking lesson on different
. Some favorite ways to cook vegetables
- Boiling. This simply
involves placing the vegetables in a pot of boiling water until
cooked - you can usually tell with most vegetables when they are
cooked because they will be soft when poked with a fork.
- Sauté. A sauté
involves cooking all the ingredients of a meal in a pan at once,
usually with oil or a little fat.
- Barbecue. You can cook
some vegetables on a grill to go with a barbequed meal.
- Steaming. As the name
suggests, this is cooking using steam. You boil water underneath
the vegetables and the steam passes up through a grate to cook
them - this method requires the right cooking utensils.
- Bake. Many vegetables
are best baked in the oven such as baked potatoes, eggplant,
squash or fresh pumpkin.
Boiling and steaming, as they only use water, are known to be very
healthy methods of cooking vegetables. Any method that includes
using oil, such as frying, tends to be less healthy- although this
depends on the type of oil used. Sautéing is next on the list of
healthy options after boiling and steaming.
How to Cook Vegetables Recipes
To start learning how to cook vegetables, here are a few recipes to
Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables
Here's a great way to use up any leftover vegetables sitting in your
refrigerator. If you don't have the vegetables used here, feel free
to substitute any sturdy veggie you have on hand, such as carrots,
fennel, parsnips, and eggplant.
Roasting deepens and intensifies the inherent sweetness of
vegetables; so don't be surprised if this becomes a new family
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40-45 minutes
- 1 lb. bag mini sweet peppers, seeded and cut in half
- 1 lb. Portobello mushroom caps, sliced
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
- 2 t. garlic powder
- 2 t. Italian seasoning
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 T. balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 425°F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with
parchment paper or a Silpat® baking mat. Set aside.
2. Add peppers, Portobello mushrooms, onion, and Brussels sprouts to
a large mixing bowl. Add garlic powder, Herbs de Provence, olive
oil, and balsamic vinegar and gently toss to combine. Season
generously with salt and black pepper, to taste.
3. Arrange seasoned vegetables on prepared baking sheet in a single
layer, being careful not to overcrowd. Use two large baking sheets,
4. Place sheet pan in preheated oven and roast for 40-45 minutes,
stirring halfway through, or until the vegetables are tender and
develop a nice caramelized color. Remove from oven and serve
How to Cook Vegetables
Here are some quick tutorials on how to cook different vegetables.
Cook Baked Potatoes
To cook whole baked potatoes, pierce potato with a fork on all sides
of potato. Place on a cookie sheet or wrap in tin foil. Bake at 350
degrees for 20-40 minutes depending on size of potato. Potatoes are
done when you can poke a fork in the potato easily.
Cook Fresh Pumpkin
To cook a fresh pumpkin, cut pumpkin in quarters or small wedges.
Place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until
tender. Pumpkin is tender when you can poke a fork into the pumpkin
easily. Time varies on the size of your pumpkin pieces. Scoop flesh
out of pumpkin rind and puree in blender or mash with a fork. Place
in plastic containers and freeze to use in future recipes.
See more pumpkin recipes
How to Cook Eggplant
Wash eggplant well. Pierce with a fork all over eggplant skin. Place
on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes
or until eggplant collapses. Allow to cool slightly. Cut open and
scoop out insides. Use chopped eggplant in casseroles, add to
spaghetti sauce, dips such as baba
or an eggplant recipe of your choice.
How to Cook Asparagus
Break off ends by bending and snapping the end of the stalks. Use a
wide skillet the stalks can lay down in. Boil asparagus in 5 cups of
water with 1/2 Tablespoon salt. Boil 5-7 minutes until skewer
pierces the middle easily. Dont overcook.
How to Cook Artichokes
My favorite way to cook artichokes is in the pressure cooker. If you
have a pressure cooker, add your artichokes with the stems cut off.
Add 1 Cup of water and seal the lid. Once the cooker comes to
pressure cook for 15 minutes. Turn off and let pressure cooker cool
Without a pressure cooker add artichokes to a large pot,
add water to cover and cover pan with a lid. Allow to come to a
boil and cook 30-45 minutes or until you can insert a knife through
the middle of the artichoke. Allow to cool slightly.
How to Cook Zucchini
There are several ways to cook zucchini. You can slice zucchini into
slices and saute in a pan with a dot of butter. Season with salt and
pepper and minced garlic if you like and cook several minutes. You
want the zucchini to still be a little firm and not mushy.
Another way to cook zucchini is in the oven. Slice whole
zucchini in half lengthwise. Place on a sheet of tin foil.
Sprinkle zucchini with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Add cheddar cheese, if desired. Wrap up zucchini in tin foil and
bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until fork inserted into zucchini
shows it is tender.
How to Cook Beets
My favorite way to cook beets is
roasted in the oven. Scrub outer skin of beets or peel skins if
desired. Place on tin foil, drizzle with olive oil and
sprinkle with salt. Wrap up and bake at 400 degrees for 20-30
minutes until beets are tender. Cut in slices or halves and serve.
More Veggie Cooking Help
to Cook Kale
to cook acorn squash
any of our food fact pages
more vegetable recipes.
Try these Food Trivia Worksheets
Submit your favorite kids recipe
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Basic Cooking Lesson Pages:
~ Basic Cooking Lessons,
~ Stock and soups,
~ 5 mother sauces,
~ Yeast and baking breads,
~ Herbs and spices,
~ Dry beans,
~ Different cooking methods,
~ Growing an herb garden,
How to Cook Q&A
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