Making Delicious Meals When Cooking with Vegetables
Loaded with vitamins and minerals, vegetables play a key role in nutrition. They are low in sugar and pack a lot of fiber, making them ideal for those trying to lose weight. Spinach, cabbage, kale, broccoli, and other veggies have less than 50 calories per cup. Due to their high antioxidant levels, they slow down aging and fight inflammation. Additionally, vegetables can be cooked in a multitude of ways, from salads and stews to casseroles. Take advantage of the following tips when cooking with vegetables for meals you won’t soon forget!
The Health Benefits of Vegetables
A diet rich in vegetables can improve your health and prevent diseases. People who eat their veggies are leaner and find it easier to maintain their weight. They also have more energy and stamina, look younger, and are less likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic ailments.
Vegetables are low in fat and have no cholesterol. They boast large amounts of zinc, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, and other nutrients that support optimal health. The fiber in vegetables suppresses appetite and keeps you full longer, which helps prevent overeating. It also slows sugar absorption into your system and prevents insulin spikes, reducing your risk of diabetes.
Contrary to popular belief, meat and dairy foods are not the only sources of protein. Vegetables contain protein too. Peas and lentils have more than 10 grams of protein per cup. The same amount of soybeans provides over 28 grams of protein. Asparagus, broccoli, kale, kidney beans, and collard greens are rich in this nutrient too, which makes them perfect for vegans.
Eating more veggies can add years to your life and lower your risk of cardiovascular problems, hypertension, insulin resistance, and even cancer. Additionally, you’ll enjoy better digestion and have greater energy. The reason why most people don’t like vegetables is because they don’t really know how to cook them. Salad isn’t your only option.
There are lots of ways to mix and match vegetables in order to make delicious, healthy meals that everyone will enjoy. Even picky eaters will love a hearty vegetable soup, smoky veggie chili, vegetable lasagna, or stuffed mushrooms. If you need inspiration, check out these simple tips for cooking with vegetables:
Learn the Basics
The first step is to learn how to cook different veggies. Some can be roasted, fried, or grilled. Others taste better when steamed or consumed raw. Steaming is the healthiest way to prepare vegetables. This cooking method preserves their nutritional value and requires no oil. On top of that, it takes only a few minutes. Add sea salt and lemon for extra flavor.
Most vegetables can be boiled. The downside is that they lose nutrients and flavor during cooking. You may also braise or stew your veggies to enhance their aroma. These cooking methods take several hours, but the end result is worth the effort. The veggies will be soft and tender, offering a mix of flavors.
For a more intense aroma and a crunchy texture, roast your vegetables. All you need is a little oil. This cooking method works best for starches and cruciferous veggies, such as parsnips, potatoes, and cauliflower. Some people love their vegetables baked. The warm air in the oven cooks foods evenly, leaving them soft and moist.
To learn more about cooking with vegetables take a peek at classes such as Vegetables Re-Imagined or other vegetarian cooking classes offered by Cozymeal. Depending on what you want to learn about vegetables, there are a variety of cooking classes at your disposal.
Add a Bit of Oil
If you’re short on time, saute carrots, mushrooms, onion, tomatoes, and other veggies. Sauteing works great for greens and takes just a few minutes. Or you can fry vegetables to make them taste amazing. However, this cooking method isn’t too healthy, so don’t make a habit out of it. Use a napkin to remove excess fat. Add extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil to get more nutrients in your diet.
Other simple ways to prepare vegetables are stir-frying, grilling, and pickling. You can also make vegetables-based sauces and mashed veggies. Experiment with new recipes, such as kale chips, green beans with cranberries, kale casserole, creamed spinach, cauliflower rice, spinach-apple salad, roasted Brussels sprouts, and vegetarian pizza. This way, you’ll keep your diet varied and eat healthier meals without giving up flavor.
Spice Up Your Veggies
Herbs and spices can turn the most boring meal into a feast. With the right spices or herbs, you can add gourmet flair to your veggies and make them taste heavenly. Most vegetables go well with sage, thyme, oregano, black cumin seeds, rosemary, and peppermint leaves.
Add turmeric to cauliflower to enhance its flavor. Artichokes can be mixed with paprika, garlic, or bay leaf. Beats pair well with cloves, chives, fennel, and ginger. Use red pepper flakes, dill, curry, or tarragon in broccoli dishes.
Cooking with vegetables is easy. All you need is some creativity. Veggies are anything but boring. When cooked right, they melt into your mouth and their natural aroma pops. Try different combinations of spices and veggies, create your own recipes, and replace unhealthy snacks with bite-sized vegetable treats.