Learning how to cook vegetables is a valuable skill that will improve the quality of your meals, snacks, appetizers, and more. Whether you're sauteing mushrooms or roasting sweet potatoes, these easy methods and simple tutorials for cooking vegetables will help you get a nourishing, colorful meal on the table in no time.
These methods are among the quickest ways to get veggies from your fridge to the table.
Stir-Fry Cut vegetables into bite-size pieces. Whether you're cooking one type of vegetable or many, cut the pieces into similar sizes so they cook about the same rate. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the vegetables in small batches and cook, stirring constantly, until they are just crisp-tender. Note that stir-frying too many vegetables at once causes them to steam and become mushy. If necessary, you can return all cooked vegetables to the wok or skillet and cook them just long enough to reheat.
Saute This method is much like stir-frying; the difference is that you generally use a lower heat setting than for stir-frying, so you can stir occasionally rather than constantly. Sauteing works especially well for cooking vegetables in butter, which can burn quickly over higher heat.
Roasting vegetables in the oven brings out their natural sweetness while giving them irresistible texture -- crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. For this cooking technique, the vegetables are generally tossed with oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and baked in a hot oven in a shallow pan. For a taste of this marvelous method, try this Roasted Tomato and Bread Toss or Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Arugula.
Once you get the hang of roasting, use it for other vegetables. Dense vegetables, such as potatoes, winter squash, and carrots, are particularly good candidates. Tender vegetables, such as asparagus and mushrooms, also transform in the heat of the oven.
To get the most nutrition from fresh vegetables, cook and enjoy them soon after purchasing. Frozen vegetables are also good sources of nutrition -- they're flash-frozen soon after picking, which retains vitamins and minerals at levels equal to or sometimes greater than fresh veggies. Canned vegetables can be a good choice, too; however, to keep sodium levels in check, look for canned products with "low sodium" or "no salt added" on the label.