You know you “should” eat more vegetables. Maybe you don’t make them because you (or your spouse or kids) don’t like them or because they’re just so boring and you have to add so much butter or sauce to make them taste good that what’s the point—whatever your reason, you may not eat anywhere near the recommended number or servings.
The question, then, is: How do you cook your vegetables? If you typically steam or boil them, try roasting them instead.
Vegetables are mostly carbohydrate—they have some protein and most have trace amounts of fat, but for the most part, they’re carbs. And carbs are sugar. And when you cook sugar, it caramelizes.
Vegetables don’t caramelize when you steam or boil them, but when you grill, sauté, or roast them—that is, when you cook them with dry heat—the water in them evaporates and they turn brown. And that brown is where the carbohydrates have concentrated and caramelized. As a result, roasted vegetables are sweeter and have a deeper flavor than steamed or boiled ones.
Roasting is easy and versatile. Most vegetables can be roasted, and you can use the same basic formula for cooking them all:
When you roast vegetables, you may end up using less fat and salt than if you steam or boil them. If you add a lot of butter and a heavy shake of salt to give boiled vegetables flavor, you may find that roasted veggies need a lot less of either.
You can add flavor in other ways, too. For example, if you’re serving an Italian dish, toss mushrooms with basil or oregano before you roast them; if you’re making something Chinese, mix a little soy sauce or ginger into the oil before you toss them. Consider sprinkling a teaspoon or two of grated cheese over the vegetables a few minutes before they’re done. This allows you to get the flavor of a food you “should” avoid in an amount that may fit with your eating plan.
|Asparagus||12-15 minutes||Slivered almonds|
|Bell peppers||12-15 minutes|
|Broccoli||12-15 minutes||Slivered garlic|
|Brussels sprouts||12-15 minutes||Chopped apple; pecans|
|Cauliflower||12-15 minutes||Curry powder|
|Cherry tomatoes||12-15 minutes||Basil, pine nuts|
|Green beans||12-15 minutes||Ground cumin, lemon zest|
|Onion wedges||30 minutes|
|Scallions||10-12 minutes||Use dark sesame oil|
Scallions, bell peppers, green beans
Carrots, parsnips, potatoes, onion wedges
Bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms