Whether you love vegetables or not, knowing they’re good for you is essential. Incorporating fresh, healthy vegetables into your diet ensures you get fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
There are over a dozen different ways of preparing vegetables, and in this article, we’ll show you the eight healthiest options.
Sometimes, vegetables do not need cooking at all. Eating veggies in their natural state ensures that all their nutrients remain intact. However, eating veggies raw doesn’t mean that you should consume them plain.
You can enjoy greens and other vegetables by adding them to salads tossed in dressing. However, it’s best to avoid eating fiber-rich vegetables without cooking them, as this may cause some digestive discomfort. Also, thoroughly wash all vegetables before eating them to remove dirt and bacteria.
Blanching is an easy and fast way to get your veggies crisp and bright. However, you must do it correctly to prevent the vegetable from losing nutrients. The key is to ensure you don’t leave the vegetables too long in the boiling water.
The blanching preparation method is best for vegetables like broccoli, green beans, and cauliflower. The proper way to blanch vegetables is to bring a pot of water, add some salt, then pour in the veggies. Cook them for only a few minutes until they are bright and tender.
The veggies will often continue to cook after you take them out of the water, so running them under some cold water is best to stop the cooking process.
You should consider steaming your veggies if you don’t want to submerge them in water. Steaming also makes vegetables tender, bright, and flavorful without affecting their nutrient content.
Steaming is an excellent preparation method for delicate vegetables like asparagus, greens, and carrots. Bring some water to a rapid simmer to steam vegetables, put them in a steamer basket, and place the veggies in the basket. After steaming, sprinkle your vegetables with salt, fresh lemon, or herbs for flavor.
Sautéing is a quick and easy way to cook and make vegetables flavorful. This preparation method also helps the veggies retain most of their nutrients. Sautéing involves cooking veggies over high heat in a pan with some oil and aromatics.
Sautéing works for most vegetables, including greens, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, onions, and peppers. Cut your veggies into equal pieces to ensure that they cook evenly. Heat your pan and oil, then add some spice before putting in the veggies.
Roasting is probably the easiest way to cook vegetables. This preparation method involves caramelizing vegetables in a hot oven. It helps all the natural sugars in the vegetable come out, leading to a sweet, flavorful meal.
All you have to do is chop up your veggies and toss them in some oil. Season them with some herbs and spices and add them to a preheated oven to allow them to roast. Roasting is an excellent preparation method for garlic, tomatoes, broccoli, potatoes, and squash.
Grilling vegetables gives them a smoky flavor and does little to alter their nutrients. You can grill indoors and outdoors, and this preparation method works for almost every vegetable.
To grill vegetables, let them sit in a marinade for about 30 minutes before tossing them in oil and seasonings.
The grilling time for vegetables varies, but the best way to know if the vegetables are ready is when you notice grill marks forming. After grilling one side, flip the veggies so the other side becomes tender.
Braising and stewing your vegetables involves simmering them in a flavorful liquid. Because this preparation method uses low heat, it may take several hours before the vegetables are ready to eat.
Vegetables cooked through braising and stewing are often softer and more flavorful. Since the food cooks in liquid for a long time, only braise hard vegetables like squash and potatoes.
Although many use "sautéing" and “stir-frying” interchangeably, they are different food preparation methods. Stir-frying happens at a much higher heat than sautéing. Therefore, it takes less time for the food to be ready. In stir-frying, you must stir your vegetables so they do not burn constantly.
When stir-frying, you must prep all your ingredients before cooking. Since the food cooks fast, there won’t be time to chop or slice veggies. Some vegetables that you can stir-fry include broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, and onions.
Cooking healthy vegetable meals doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. With these eight healthy cooking methods, you can enjoy delicious meals while reaping the full health benefits of the nutrients in the vegetables.