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Cooking Vegetables: The Best Kitchen Tips and Tricks

By: Molly Hall, Editor, FaveHealthyRecipes.com
Cooking Vegetables The Best Kitchen Tips and Tricks

As children, we often turned our noses up at the limp, green vegetables smothered in cheese sauce doled out to us at dinnertime. But now, there are so many ways to make veggies more appetizing without adding calories or making them mushy. This list contains four different cooking methods and the vegetables that work best with that method. Different cooking methods yield wildly different results, i.e. roasted broccoli will have a different flavor than steamed broccoli, so one vegetable may please your palette when prepared one way but not another. With these kitchen tips, you just may find your new favorite way to cook vegetables!

Cooking Methods

Steaming

One of the healthiest ways to cook vegetables is with steam. If you have a steamer pot, simply put a few inches of water in the bottom portion, top it with the lid, and bring the water to a boil. Add the steamer basket and replace the lid. The trick is to not over-steam the veggies otherwise they'll be mushy and unappetizing. 

Carrots: 4-5 minutes
Broccoli: 5-6 minutes
Cauliflower: 3-5 minutes
Asparagus: 8-10 minutes
Corn on the cob: 4-7 minutes
Green Beans: 5-8 minutes
Peas: 4-5 minutes

Microwaving

While it may seem unconventional, microwaving is a quick way to prepare vegetables. Cooking vegetables in the microwave is a similar process to steaming. To cook them in the microwave, just place the veggies on a microwave-safe plate, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for the recommended time. To make sure that they cook evenly, flip the vegetables about halfway through the cooking time. 

Carrots: 4-5 minutes
Broccoli: 2-3 minutes
Cauliflower: 2-3 minutes
Green Beans: 3-4 minutes
Peas: 2-3 minutes

Roasting

Roasting in the oven adds a bit of flavor and caramel coloring to the vegetables. This is a great method if you're trying to cook a lot at once or want to add seasonings and spices. This also works well if you want to prepare several different kinds of veggies--just be sure to cut the vegetables with the longest cooking time smaller than suggested to ensure even cooking. Each cooking temperature listed is in Fahrenheit. 

At 350 degrees:
Sweet Potatoes: 20 minutes

At 400 degrees: 
Asparagus: 8-10 minutes
Carrots: 20-30 minutes
Cauliflower: 25-30 minutes
Eggplant: 25-30 minutes
Potatoes (whole): 60 minutes

At 425 degrees: 
Broccoli: 15-18 minutes
Green Beans: 12-15 minutes

At 450 degrees: 
Bell Peppers: 15 minutes
Zucchini: 12-15 minutes
Potatoes (cubed): 20 minutes 

Grilling

In the summertime, one of the easiest ways to make your meal complete is by tossing vegetables on the grill in addition to your main dish. With minimal cleanup and maximum flavor, grilled vegetables are the perfect summer side dish.

Corn on the cob: 10-20 minutes with husks on 
Bell Peppers: 6-10 minutes skinned side down, flip, 3-4 minutes on other side
Onions: 8-10 minutes per side
Zucchini (cut into thirds): 5-8 minutes per side
Eggplant (cut into 1/4 inch rounds): 4-5 minutes per side
Asparagus: 5-10 minutes, until tender

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