Once you know how to cook vegetables properly it goes from something to be endured to enjoyable. Really.
Vegetables should form the foundation of your diet – it’s virtually impossible to eat too many. Chef Toral Shah know the best ways to cook veggies in order to create the most enjoyable meals.
“If you buy veg when it’s in season it’ll taste better without you having to even do anything to it,” says Shah. “And eat a variety of vegetables. If you look at most fitness people’s Instagram accounts, it looks like they’re eating the same five vegetables all the time – but if you vary things it’s instantly less boring.”
Don’t overcook it
“A lot of people think they don’t like vegetables simply because they cook them badly,” says Shah. “People seem to be scared and want to overcook everything. Be more European and have them al dente so they aren’t too soft – take a bite while you’re cooking to check. Your food will have a much more interesting texture.”
“Even something as simple as salt and pepper can make vegetables taste better,” says Shah. “But try to use good-quality salt. It tastes better and so you need to use less of it. Table salt, as far as I’m concerned, is what you use on the road when it has been snowing. Adding a pinch of salt to your veg is also unlikely to make your salt intake too high.”
Go with garlic
“I always have some pre-crushed garlic on hand as an easy way to make vegetables taste more interesting,” says Shah. “Just peel a few cloves and blitz them in a blender. It might go a bit green - that’s fine. When it’s done, take it out and keep it in a small closed container. It’ll keep for up to four weeks and it’s ready to sprinkle on any vegetable dish.”
Roast with the most
“The easiest way to make veg tasty is to roast it,” says Clancy. “Peel and cut your veg, drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle fresh thyme on top, then cover it with foil and bake at 160˚C (320˚F) for 30 minutes. Finally, uncover it and keep cooking until it browns. This is perfect for broccoli, parsnips or sweet potatoes. Make sure all the chunks are roughly the same size so they cook evenly.”
“When cooking veg like kale or spinach, steam them in a deep pan with a lid,” says Clancy. “Wash your veg, throw it in, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan, then put it on a low heat. Cook your veg gently for about five minutes until it goes limp and bright green.”
Dressing for success
“For a simple salad dressing, combine two teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil – a good fat – with one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar for sweetness,” says Clancy. “Alternatively, try three parts olive oil to one part each of red wine vinegar and wholegrain mustard.”
Flash in the pan
“For a super-simple way to cook broccoli, put two tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan, add the florets, then cover the pan,” says Clancy. “This will fry it at the bottom and steam it at the top. After two minutes, stir in a knob of butter and cook for two more minutes or until tender.”
Hearty Vegetable And Bean Stew Recipe
- 2 15 oz canned cannellini beans
- 2 15 oz canned chopped tomatoes
- 2-3 courgettes, chopped
- 2tbsp paprika
- 1 bag washed baby spinach
- Place the beans and liquid, tomato and juices, chopped courgettes and paprika into a large saucepan.
- Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about ten minutes or until the courgettes are soft.
- Add the spinach and continue to cook, stirring, until the spinach is just wilted.
- Taste, season and serve drizzled generously with extra virgin olive oil.
Written by Joel Snape for Coach and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.