We could all use a little encouragement to keep more produce in the house. But if your knowledge on what to do with it is limited, you’ll end up buying pricier, pre-made dishes with your favorite veggies. Save your money, and do it yourself with these 14 different ways to cook almost any vegetable.
Great on cold nights, or chilled as a summer appetizer, braised veggies are surprisingly easy to make. Just cut your vegetable into bite size pieces. Heat a pot over medium heat. Add oil just to coat the bottom of the pot, along with your veggies and a little salt. Then pour in a half to 1 cup of broth. Cover the pot, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the veggies simmer for about 20 minutes, or until they are tender and slightly browned. Add your favorite herbs for flavor.
Bring out the BBQ, but keep it healthy! Leave your veggies in large chunks so they don’t break on the grill. Brush them with vegetable or olive oil—don’t hold back, or they’ll turn to charcoal—a little salt, and place them over a grill on medium for ten minutes, or until you see those tasty grill marks.
One of our favorite things about mashed potatoes is that soft, creamy, easy-to-gulp-down consistency. But you can get that with any vegetable! Since potatoes are pretty bland in taste, you can mix most veggies with them. Boil or steam your veggie until it’s breakable-soft. Cut out most of the potatoes you’d use in a mashed potato dish, and replace with your veggies. Mash away with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Roasting veggies helps maintain the full natural flavor on the inside, while producing a nice crisp exterior. Pre-heat the oven to 375. Cut your veggies into bite-size pieces. Coat the bottom of an oven-safe dish or pan with olive oil. Add the veggies, plus any herbs you like, and shake them around to coat them in the oil. Cook for 30 minutes, or until you can push a fork all the way through.
Turn your favorite veggie into a snack! You can turn almost any vegetable into a chip, some might just have a funny shape. Slice your veggie into thin pieces—about a half-centimeter thick—add oil to a pan just high enough to cover one layer of the veggies, heat oil to 350 degrees, and fry veggies one batch at a time. Let them cool on a paper towel and sprinkle salt.
Make your favorite Asian veggie dish at home! Heat oil to 360 in a deep cast iron pan. In a bowl, make the batter by mixing rice flour (6 cups) plus your favorite spices. Then add in 1 quart of chilled club soda. The batter should be loose, like pancake batter. Toss the veggies right into the batter bowl to absorb the mixture. Add the vegetables carefully, one at a time, to the oil. Use a long-handled utensil to keep the veggies separated and moving in the oil. Let cook for four minutes. Remove the veggies from the oil with a spider strainer or basket. Place the veggies on paper towels to dry and add salt.
Gratins aren’t just for potatoes! Thinly slice your veggies, and layer them in a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper and cheese every layer or two. Add a cup of half-and-half, or broth. On the top layer add freshly shredded cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake at 375 degrees until the potatoes are soft inside, and the top layer is browned.
Another recipe stolen from the potato, hash browns can be made out of almost any veggie. Shred your veggie on the large hole of a grater. Heat vegetable oil over high heat on a frying pan or griddle. Create a patty out of the shredded veggies in your hand, add to the pan and sprinkle with salt. Cook the patties until they’re thoroughly browned on one side, then flip and repeat.
Add to lettuce
We forget that most veggies taste good cold, mixed with lettuce and a little dressing. Chop up your cooked veggies for a Chopped Salad, or just add small veggies in whole. Then add your favorite toppings like cheese, nuts and fruits.
Veggies can make an almost one-ingredient soup. Just boil or steam your veggie until it’s completely soft. Then add it to a food processor, with a little broth or cream, salt and pepper and you have a pureed soup.
Steam and toast
For an easy alternative to oven roasting veggies, try this: in a pan, cover the veggies with water—just enough to hit the top of the vegetables. Heat this on low, or until the water has evaporated. You should be able to stick a fork through the vegetables but if not, just add water and repeat until you can. When all the water is gone, and your veggies are soft, drizzle olive oil over the veggies in that same pan. Let them sit in low heat until browned a little on either side.
It’s one of the most basic ways to cook veggies, but here’s a refresher: thinly slice your veggie, or cut it into small pieces. In a cast-iron pan, heat the oil over medium, until it moves around with the consistency of water, but don’t let it smoke. Then add the veggies. The idea is to give the veggies a nice brown crust, and have them medium-cooked on the inside.
Take the above sautéed veggie and let it sit in a saran wrap covered plate in the fridge for two hours. Serve it as an appetizer solo, or chop it into smaller pieces and serve it on crackers with cheese, tuna salad or chicken salad.
Most vegetables cook to completion along with an omelet. Chop up your favorite veggie and throw it in a pan with some oil on low heat. Whip up eggs and pour them over the veggies to make a lunch or dinner omelet.