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Sep 12, 2013 11:54 PM

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....

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  1. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ttrockwood

      +++ 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!

    2. 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 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.

      2 Replies
      1. re: janniecooks

        Absolutely agree about The Victory Garden cookbook. It really is the gold standard for vegetable cookery, IMO.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. Carrots - sauteed, steamed
              Roasted Brussels sprouts
              Roast the zucchini and broccoli for a different flavor (toss with sesame oil)
              Sauteed Swiss Chard with shallots and pancetta or bacon
              Baked acorn squash
              Sauteed bok choy
              Stir-fried Sugar snap peas with ginger