The key to maintaining a healthy diet is variety. This also applies to the way you cook your food, and did you know that different methods of cooking bring out different flavours and can even change the nutritional value of your vegetables? Here are a couple of tips and tricks to inspire you to get cooking your vegetables differently. Not only will they fill half your plate, but they’ll also taste delicious!
Your oven is a great tool for caramelizing vegetables, which gives them a great texture and brings out their natural sweetness. Squash, carrots, peppers, parsnips, sweet potatoes and asparagus lend themselves well to this type of cooking. Roast your vegetables in the oven during the winter and grill them on the BBQ during the summer and you’ll see how delicious they are!
Recipe Idea: Cut up broccoli florets, add a touch of oil, salt and pepper, turmeric and garlic powder and lay them out on foiled baking sheet and bake at 400F until they’re golden (about 15 minutes).
Boiling is a fast and easy way to cook your vegetables. This cooking method is ideal for potatoes, turnips and carrots, since these veggies typically take longer to cook. However, it’s possible to lose some vitamins in the boiling water while you cook. To avoid this, try not to leave the veggies in the water for a long time by adding the veggies only when the water is really boiling.
Recipe Idea: Want to try something different? Boiled veggies can easily be pureed. To make a new type of puree try mixing carrots, parsnips and curry or potatoes, cauliflower and parmesan cheese. Success guaranteed!
Steaming veggies results in the most minimal loss of nutrients and vitamins. The only downside to this method is that you need a perforated pot or store bought steamer.
Recipe Idea: Try adding a piece of ginger or lemon to boiling water, or even lemon zest: this will give your veggies a subtle aroma.
Sautéing is an easy, fast and delicious way to cook your veggies. Just cook the veggies in a bit of hot oil! Since they cook quickly this way, the vitamins retain most of their nutritional value. Adding sundried tomatoes or spices or garlic and herbs will take ordinary veggies to the extraordinary. Short on time? Frozen cut up veggies are great help.
Recipe Idea: Heat up some sesame oil in a frying pan, sauté chopped onions, broccoli florets, bean sprouts, and slices of pepper for an Asian style side dish.
As well as these four ways, there are lots of other ways to cook your favourite veggies: braised, en papillote, microwaved, etc. All it takes is a little bit of imagination to start. And no matter how you cook, it’s just important fill half your plate! What are your favourite ways to cook veggies?