Suggestions for recipes for lightly cooked vegetables
- SteveTimko Sep 12, 2013 06:02 PM
I've decided to try to include more high-fiber vegetables in my meals I'm talking about green beans, turnips, beets, asparagus, spinach, squash and zucchini, among others. The question now is how do I cook them. I guess I don't need to cook carrots.
I love grilled vegetables, but it's not practical for m to grill them.
Can people point me to other recipes for lightly cooking these vegetables?
One of my favourite ways of cooking green beans is to lightly blanch them, then serve at room temperature dressed with good olive oil, fresh lemon or red wine vinegar juice, salt and pepper. As an alternative, I'll sometimes use Japanese roasted sesame dressing (out of a bottle), or herbed butter. You can do the same with asparagus or broccoli.
Asparagus is also good done under the boiler and dressed with olive oil, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and shaved parmesan.
Beets - raw grated beets are fantastic as a salad. I use either beets or carrots or a mix, coarsely grated, and dress with olive oil, lemon juice, a bit of honey, salt, and toasted cumin seeds and mustard seeds.
Zucchini - cut into slices or sticks and lightly sauteed with basil.
You can grate things like squash, beets and zucchini and use them as the basis for something similar to a potato pancake - grate, toss with a bit of flour and some egg, form into pancakes and fry until done.
Squash and beets I tend to do fairly well cooked - for squash, roasted in the oven in wedges, or I'll cut it into halves, roast upside down in a pan with a bit of water until tender, scoop out and mash, serving with butter. Beets - roasted or boiled until tender (takes about an hour for large beets), cut up and served with butter, or lemon juice and olive oil, or as the basis of a salad with feta or blue cheese, toasted walnuts, thinly sliced onions and a vinagrette.
Spinach - steam and serve with butter, or vinegar. Use in soups - I like a simple soup of noodles, broth, spinach and an egg cracked in to poach. Use as a pasta sauce sauteed with onion and tossed with feta cheese, or with tomato and cheese.
Another bean recipe - sautee chopped onion and garlic in olive oil. Add green beans cut into bite sized lengths, and a chopped fresh tomato or two, and whatever herbs you want. Saute until cooked but not mushy. Add a bit of red wine vinegar. Can be served hot, cold or room temperature.
Vegetables can make a great basis for soup. For a pureed soup, I sautee some onion until soft, add stock and veggies, cook until tender, and puree and season - you can add a bit of cream at the end if you want. Try plain asparagus or squash with cumin and a bit of cinnamon.
You can also do chunky soups. One fast one I like is to start with chicken broth, and add a spoon of Thai Tom Yum soup paste (hot and sour - you can buy it in jars). Then whatever vegetables I want - carrots, celery, onion, tomatoes, green beans, corn, broccoli, spinach, cabbage - basically whatever I've got handy, and then cook until the vegetables are just tender. A squeeze of lime juice at the end is good.
Mark bittman's book (now also an iphone app) called "how to cook everything vegetarian" has multiple suggestions for nearly every vegetable you can imagine. Very creative and simple ideas with few ingredients.
Roasting beets in a big batch is great- wrap each in foil with a tsp olive oil and salt/pepper, then put in a pan (in case they drip) and roast at 350 approx 1hr, until knife easily goes thru.
After peeling i chop and keep the cut prepared beets to add to salads etc, also great as is with a basalmic glaze.
Asparagus is great blanched- about 2-3min in boiling water, then run under cold water to stop cooking. Will still have a "bite" to them. Great addition to stir fries, salads, or as a simple meal with a poached egg ontop and parmesan.
Your body absorbs the most nutrients from spinach when it is lightly cooked vs raw, what i do is put a big colandar in the sink with spinach and just pour a kettle of boiling water over to wilt it. Drain and use the greens as a base of a salad, mix into mashed potatoes, or pasta.
Try to keep a few flavorful condiments for the steamed veggies to beat boredom- ie green beans with a lemon vinegrette, or with a sesame oil and crushed peanuts, or red pepper flakes and tomato sauce or smoked salt and paprika.
All very different flavors for the exact same steamed green beans
You mentioned you don't feel you need to necessarily cook carrots. I agree. I also love raw green beans. I wouldn't serve raw beans at an elegant dinner party, but they're great as a crisp, refreshing side, or snack, when I'm eating alone. And spinach can be eaten raw in a salad.
My father's favorite TV-watching snack was raw turnips, so cooking is not the only answer.
Personally, I like roasted vegetables, sometimes tossed with olive oil if I feel like it. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, beets, carrots and onions lend themselves to roasting, as do Brussels sprouts.
I like zucchini slaw: grate semi-coarsely, them toss with your favorite salad dressing. My favorite spinach recipe is to fry up a couple of slices of bacon, remove from pan, turn off the heat, toss a few handfuls of spinach in the hot pan, turn a few times to coat, then add vinegar and the crumbled cooked bacon.