There’s no doubt that vegetables can be intimidating. There are so many different ways to cook them and each way will reap a different result. That’s why we’re providing you with our 6 favorite methods to cook your vegetables and 6 reasons why you should try them. You’ll be amazed by how each method highlights different flavors! And don’t be afraid to get creative with seasonings—the sky is the limit!
Why: Grilling vegetables creates a very specific smoky flavor that is great for barbecue dinners. You can’t get this flavor with the other methods. It’s even better if you have a charcoal grill.
How to Grill: Preheat the grill for 15 minutes to let it heat up. Slice your vegetables however you prefer, toss them lightly in oil, and season to taste. Smaller vegetables should be cooked wrapped in foil and larger veggies like eggplant or zucchini can be cooked directly on the grill. If directly on the grill, flip vegetables at 2-3 minutes and if wrapped in foil, anywhere from 7-12 minutes—or at desired tenderness.
Why: Sautéing vegetables (like onions) is great for caramelizing or blending flavors together. It’s one of the most common ways to cook vegetables, and some vegetables are best sautéed, such as spinach. But experiment with it to find what works best for you palate!
How to Saute: Heat a pan over medium heat and add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of oil. When the oil begins to sizzle, add your diced vegetables (typically the smaller the better). If you’re combining vegetables, add ones with longer cooking times first and additional ones accordingly. Season to taste and cook until desired tenderness, stirring occasionally.
Why: Roasting vegetables is probably one the most foolproof and delicious ways to cook your vegetables. You can make your veggies crisp and soft at the same time, and roasting vegetables is great for robust flavor. For example, boiling broccoli creates a much blander flavor than when you roast it. Try both and see which one you prefer!
How to roast: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Slice, dice or spiralize your vegetables into even sizes. Coat them in your favorite oil and season to taste. Give them space on a parchment- or foil-lined pan. Roast until desired tenderness (times vary depending on size and type of vegetable).
Why: Blanching vegetables is useful if you plan on freezing them. It helps maintain their bright colors and crisp consistency. Blanching vegetables doesn’t cook them, it tenderizes them, which is why it’s also a great method when you’re making a proper crudité.
How to blanch: Boil a large pot of water over high heat, then add a teaspoon of salt. Cut veggies uniformly, then add one type of vegetable into the pot at time. Depending on denseness, blanch the vegetable for 30-60 seconds. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of ice water. Remove the vegetables when cool, dry and either use for crudité, on top of salads or freeze in a freezer-safe bag.
Why: Steaming vegetables is probably one of the quickest ways to get the job done. It’s a great method if you don’t plan on seasoning them beforehand. It’s also a great way to cook vegetables without drying them out.
How to steam: Cut vegetables into uniform sizes. Add an inch or so of water to a pot and let it come to boil. Place vegetables in a steamer basket and place the basket over the pot. Cover with a lid and cook until vegetables are tender when poked with a fork.
Why: Boiling is great for those dense, thickly-skinned root vegetables like potatoes and beets. What’s great about this method is that you don’t have to stir or supervise the cooking process too closely, and best of all, you don’t have to peel your vegetables. When they’ve cooled, rub off the skin with a kitchen rag to save time (just be sure you don’t care about the rag you’re using if you’re peeling beets due to their staining nature!)
How to boil: Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a pinch of salt. Either leave vegetables whole (like our potato or beet example) or cut them uniformly. Cover with a lid and cook over a boil until the vegetables are tender when poked with a fork.