How to Cook Vegetables: 6 Easy and Delicious Ways
While not everyone looks forward to eating their vegetables, they are an important part of a healthy diet. This is especially true if you are a parent trying to get your child to eat vegetables every day. But with a little preparation and creativity, vegetables don’t have to be a dreaded part of your meals. Here’s how to cook vegetables in six different and delicious ways.
How to Prepare Vegetables
Before you learn how to cook vegetables, you need to know how to prepare them to maximize their taste and freshness. Here’s how to prepare your veggies for cooking:
- Don’t prep ahead of time – do these steps just before cooking
- Wash your vegetables thoroughly by rubbing or brushing them under running cold water
- Cut or chop them to your desired size
- Season them as you like
Seasoning Your Vegetables
Once your vegetables are clean and chopped to your liking, it’s time to season them. This is where you can really transform the taste of your vegetables into something delicious. Here are some of our favorite options for how to cook vegetables with amazing flavor.
Garlic & Herb Seasoning
This classic mix of flavors is delicious on any vegetable, but broccoli, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts are some of our favorites. Drizzle your vegetables with olive oil, then toss with:
- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic (½ tsp garlic powder)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Juice from half a lemon
- Grated parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste
Simple Italian Seasoning
Adding veggies to a pasta dish or as a side to an Italian meal? Try this easy Italian seasoning recipe on broccoli, squash, tomatoes, and potatoes. Drizzle your veggies with olive oil, then toss with:
- 2 teaspoons basil
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons parsley
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- Red chili flakes, salt, and pepper to taste
This mix is delicious on potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower. It has a hint of spice without being too overpowering. Drizzle your vegetables with olive oil, then toss with:
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper to taste
How to Cook Vegetables: 6 Different Ways
Vegetables are a great addition to any meal or snack because there are so many ways to eat them. Learning how to cook different vegetables is a valuable skill to have, especially if you entertain frequently or have picky eaters in the family.
There are 6 common methods to cook your veggies that every cook should know: boiling, steaming, sauteing, grilling, braising, and roasting. There is no right or wrong choice when cooking your vegetables, so get experimenting to find a method that you and your family love!
Boiling your vegetables is one of the most fool-proof methods for cooking veggies. While it doesn’t provide as much flavor as some of the other methods, fresh boiled vegetables with a little salt are enjoyed by many.
Here’s how to get started boiling your vegetables:
- Add enough water to your pot or saucepan to cover the vegetables
- Add salt or oil to the water and put the heat on high
- Once the water is boiling, add your vegetables
- Reduce heat to low and cook vegetables until they are tender (check with a fork), or to your liking
You can boil most vegetables, but we’d recommend starting with broccoli, green beans, or cauliflower.
Steaming vegetables is similar to boiling and is said to be the healthiest way to cook vegetables. Rather than being cooked by the boiling water directly, the vegetables are cooked by the steam, making them tender but not mushy.
To steam your vegetables:
- Add approximately 1 in. of water to your pot. Make sure you have a pot that fits your steam basket/colander (if you opt to use a colander, make sure it is heat-proof).
- Put the heat on high and wait for the water to boil.
- Once the water is boiling, fill your steam basket/colander with your vegetables, and place it on top of the pot.
- Place a lid on top and reduce the heat to medium or low.
- Cook your vegetables until they are crisp, but tender, or to your liking.
Almost any vegetable can be steamed, but some of our favorites include asparagus, greens (like spinach), Brussels sprouts, and carrots.
Sauteing your vegetables is a fast and delicious way to prepare your dinner with plenty of flavor. The steps are easy to follow and will leave you with a great side to your main dish:
- Preheat your pan on high or medium heat.
- Add enough oil to the pan to cover the bottom.
- Add your vegetables, occasionally tossing or stirring them.
- Season as you stir to add more flavor.
- Cook until vegetables are tender and dark around the edges, or to your liking.
You can saute nearly any vegetable of your choice but the most common to choose from are greens, asparagus, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, onions, and green beans.
Grilling your vegetables is a perfect choice especially if you want to enjoy the outdoors while you cook! The steps are just as easy as other methods but you will be able to taste the difference.
- Marinate your vegetables for at least 30 minutes, or toss them in oil and your desired seasoning.
- Place them on the grill and make sure to flip them halfway through grilling. If you have large vegetables you may be able to place them directly on the grill. If your veggies are smaller, use a grilling basket or a layer of aluminum foil.
- Grill until your vegetables are crispy and brown around the edges for the best taste.
5. Braising and Stewing
Braising and stewing your vegetables is a great choice if you’re looking for something flavorful and hearty. Follow these steps for a filling and satisfying vegetable dish:
- Add your vegetables to your baking dish/pot.
- Add your choice of liquid (stock, wine, tomato sauce, broth, water, etc.) to the baking dish, leaving approximately a quarter-inch of the vegetables sticking out the top.
- Put a lid over the baking dish and place it in the oven.
- Bake at 250 degrees for 2-6 hours.
Most vegetables can be braised or stewed but some of the best choices are potatoes, beans, squash, celery, and carrots. Check out these slow cooker recipes for great ways to incorporate your chosen vegetables into delicious meals.
6. Roasting and Baking
Roasting and baking vegetables is a timeless way to cook your vegetables that creates a hearty and delicious meal. Here’s how to roast or bake your vegetables:
- Preheat the oven to 400-425 degrees (depending on how crispy you like them).
- Toss your vegetables in oil and seasoning as desired.
- Spread them evenly across a baking sheet (line with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
- Place your vegetables in the oven and bake until done to your liking (usually around 15 minutes).