Vegetable Cooking Methods Elementary and Easy – why wouldn’t you eat more veggies?

Plants 2Vegetables provide nutrients needed to maintain daily wellness.  If you want to increase energy, improve physically, lose weight and maintain wellness, you need to increase your intake of veggies.  Cooking methods are limitless and the amount and combinations of veggies you can put together for yourself are endless.

Steaming

Steaming is one way to prepare simple, clean-tasting vegetables.   Steaming takes 5-10 minutes for green leafy vegetables, and 10-25 minutes for roots.  All you need is a steaming basket and a pot with a lid, filled with about 2 inches of water.  One if the best ways to steam veggies is to wash them, chop them into smaller sizes because they will cook quicker, bring the water to a boil, please the veggies in a steaming basket over water and cover, steam until they become a bright color and have a texture that works for you, then remove and run under cold water.Steamer Basket

Some ideas of how to season your steamed veggies include:

  • Add 1 Tbs olive oil or toasted sesame oil to every 2 C of greens
  • Add 2 bay leaves or 1 tsp of cumin seeds to the water
  • Sprinkle greens with toasted pumpkin, sesame, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds or walnuts
  • Sprinkle greens with fresh herbs: mint, dill, basil, parsley, cilantro, scallions
  • Use tamari soy sauce or umeboshi vinegar to add some extra flavor
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice over them to add some zing

Blanching

Blanching, or quick boiling, is another way to prepare veggies very quickly.  Blanching helps to break down the fiber of raw vegetables more so than steaming, which may aid digestion.  Blanching vegetables also removes the raw flavor and brightens up their color.  To blanch veggies just bring water to a boil, add a pinch of salt, wash and chop the veggies, drop the veggies into the water and lower the heat, cook until they become right, and then rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process.  If you like your veggies soft, cook them longer.

WokStir Frying

Stir Frying is another quick and nutritious way to prepare vegetables.  You can stir-fry any kind of vegetables in oil or water.  Softer vegetables such as Chinese cabbage, bok choy, thinly sliced carrots, mushrooms, and onions will only take a few minutes to cook.

Before you start, make sure you have all the vegetables rinsed and cut into pieces – thinner slices and smaller pieces will cook faster and more evenly.

If you choose to use oil, heat a wok or frying pan and add a small amount of oil (like peanut, sesame, or coconut oil).  If you are making a small amount of vegetables, brushing the wok or pan with oil is usually enough.  Start with the harder vegetables like roots. Add one variety at a time and cook them until they become shiny before adding the next ones.  Sprinkling a pinch of sea salt over the veggies draws just enough moisture to prevent sticking and will bring out the flavor.  You may also sprinkle water over your vegetables to gain extra steam and heat.

If you want to stir fry with water, which is what I do, add one inch of water to your wok or pan, and bring to a boil.  Add thinly sliced vegetables and cover, then simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Check out these awesome stir fry combos:

  • Onions, carrots and snow peas
  • Chinese cabbage, mung bean sprouts, and scallions
  • Leeks, carrots, and red peppers
  • Onions, mushrooms, and zucchini with dried basil
  • yellow patty pan squash and mizuna greens with garlic

you can also add:

  • tofu, tempeh, or meat for protein
  • cooked grains to the vegetables toward the end for impromptu “fried rice”.

roasting veggiesBaking

Many vegetables taste delicious when baked.  Baking brings out the very essence of the vegetables, especially squashes and roots.  Place veggies in a baking pan, roast for 45-60 minutes at about 400 degrees.  Try baking ny variety of the following veggies:

  • Green leafy vegetables – Collard greens, Kale (dinosaur kale, purple kale, and Lacinato kale), Dandelion greens, Mustard greens, Chards: Swiss chard, red chard, and rainbow chard, Beet greens, Watercress, Parsley, Dark lettuce.
  • Roots and squashes – Carrot, Parsnip, Turnip, Rutabaga, burdock, Celery root, Burdock root, Acorn squash, Kabocha squash, Butternut squash
  • Fat burners – Daikon radish, Leek, Scallion, Turnip, Onion, Celery
  • Other Veggies – Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Brussels sprouts

Hope this helps make it easier for you to eat your veggies!!!

*Content on this webpage contains the copyrighted material of Integrative Nutrition Inc., 2013 (Used with permission).

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