Ok, I need more vegetable ideas
I always make a vegetable with my dinner, every night. However, I find myself making the same vegetables: corn on the cob, escarole, spinach, green beans, peas, zucchini and broccoli. I am getting sick of eating them aren't there other types. I have tried kale and other greens, such as collard greens but I am not a fan. Isn't there something else....
As on another thread i will recommend very very highly mark bittman's book (also an iphone app) "how to cook everything vegetarian"- literally every vegetable with several preparations and easy simple recipes.
That said, bok choy, nappa cabbage, and raddicio are great sauteed or braised.
A roasted root veg mix of carrots, parsnips, beets, and fennel is great.
Baked winter squash like acorn, butternut, and kabocha.
Green salads are very different once mixed with fresh herbs- a basic mixed greens with basil is great.
What veggies do you order and like at restaurants? That could be a starting place for ideas as well.
+++ on the beets, parsnips, fennel & many different squash varieties that are out there. Several years ago, I set out to buy-try-fix veggies that I'd never prepared before, each and every week. I knew what parsnips were... just never had tried them. Now I love them. Have many different recipes for that one veggie alone. This can be done with any vegetable. Example: A green bean can be steamed, grilled, pickled, eaten raw in a salad, etc. The possibilities are endless. Current favorite is a saute of ginger, carrots & napa/bok choy. Take a look at what's "good" at your local store or market. Get creative! Fall is a great time for produce!
A book covering vegetables from a to z might be the best place to start, in concert with the produce stands and produce aisles in your local market to see what else is available.
While it's kind of old (published in the early 80's) I absolutely love Marian Morash's The Victory Garden Cookbook. It is still relevant, despite being over 30 years old. When I need vegetable inspiration, I always turn to this book; so much so the binding is completely worn out! I've not looked for a new book of vegetable cooking, because I've found that all my other cookbooks are adequate to inspire vegetable bliss, as long as I have Morash's The Victory Garden as my stepping stone.
Search on Amazon.com for The Victory Garden Cookbook and you will easily find Morash's book. Look through the section where you can scroll through the recommendations for other strictly-vegetable cookbooks.
Deborah Madison's book on cooking vegetarian gets high praise, but I take it you want vegetable cooking ideas, not vegetarian cooking ideas, which while similar, are not the same. I've not read her book, seeing no need to add it to my already hefty cookbook stock.
Artichokes, asparagus, carrots, cardoon, fennel, fava beans, cabbage, cauliflower, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, mustard greens, Chinese long beans, winter squashes, parsnips, turnips, radicchio, radishes, okra, eggplant, all sorts of non-bell peppers...
My favorite vegetable books are "Vegetables from and Italian Garden" , "Plenty", and my old copies of "Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables" and "Cooking from the Garden"
How to find different vegetables? Visit a local farmers' market and ask the growers about some of their more unusual offerings. Or, if there are grocery stores in your area catering to immigrant populations try them: you can pick up pea shoots in stores with a Chinese clientele, or fenugeek greens in Indian-oriented groceries. Often the other customers can offer suggestions.
Another way to get variety when there's only a limited number of vegetables available is to serve them in a different way. For example, instead of serving plain steamed or creamed spinach, cook it lightly and serve it as a salad with a tofu/sesame dressing. Or wilt it in a pan that's been used to cook a few pieces of bacon. Or make a mixed vegetable tempura.
How are you cooking your vegetables and incorporating them in your meal? If you're just doing sides with the veggies vs. incorporating them in the protein (e.g. chicken stir fry), you may want to consider trying meals where the veggies are incorporated.
For example, I might cook Asian food for a week with the same 3 veggies that week - mushroom, bell pepper, zucchini. I'll make:
- Thai red curry with shrimp and those 3 veggies in it, over rice
- Chicken stir fry with zucchini and mushroom
- Dice up the veggies, add some tofu, make a meatless chow mein using thin spaghetti noodles
- Fried rice with mushroom and bell pepper and whatever leftover meat is available
So I'm having the same veggies over and over again, but with drastically different flavors :)
This also works for non-Asian meals. I've used the same veggies for pasta, pizza, chicken & cream sauce, quinoa salad in the same week.
When you are produce-shopping, watch for someone selecting a vegetable you don't cook or with which you are unfamiliar, and ask how s/he prepares that vegetable. On occasion you'll encounter someone who blows you off, or does not speak your language, but I have found that most people are happy to suggest ideas.
Perhaps the reason you don't like greens like collards and kale is because you're not cooking & flavoring them in the right way. These types of hearty greens needs tons of flavor added to make them interesting. As a confessed porkaholic who feels that it should be added to dishes as much as can be possible, smoked pork like hocks, neck bones, tails are perfect slow braised in a pot of greens with onions & garlic....it's a meal by themselves. For a quick sauté, oven dry some prosciutto or shaved pieces of country ham. Saute your spinach, chard, kale or other greens in olive oil; stir in some roasted garlic, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and deglaze with some stock. Simmer for a couple minutes and crumble some dry prosciutto or ham over the top. So, so good!
Parsnips, carrots, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are great oven roasted. I like to blanch cauliflower, drain and season with Indian spices then dip in beaten egg, roll in panko and oven roast. Served with a coconut sauce is delicious.
Thin slices of eggplant stuffed with cherry or other fire roasted tomatoes seasoned with oregano or thyme and finished in the oven is a nice side dish to pork or use it to top pasta. Corn can be done in so many ways: two dishes off the top of my head is corn pudding, which is a casserole and corn puree.
If you're closed minded to certain types of vegetables, it won't matter about suggestions but if you're open, just browse the internet and you'll find all types of ideas.
My favorite vegetables:
Mashed rutabaga with crispy shallots
Roasted broccoli with Parmesan and pine nuts
Miso glazed turnips
Interesting potato gratin combinations
Roasted smashed potatoes
Szechuan green beans
Mashed root veg
Almost everything in Plenty
Fresh corn polenta
Spinach with currants and pine nuts