Vegetables are nature’s multivitamin gummies. They are packed with essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and fight off viruses, murder hornets and existential dread. Here are The Daily’s best tips, tricks and recipes for incorporating some more veggies into your diet.
General cooking tips:
Water is the enemy.
Boiling vegetables removes their flavor and a lot of nutrients. Use cooking methods that minimize water exposure, such as steaming, stir-frying, etc.
Fat is good!
Olive oil is your best friend when cooking vegetables. Its fruity undertones, healthy fats and antioxidants make it a delicious and healthy alternative to other fats like peanut oil or animal fat.
Browning adds flavor
We’ve all accidentally burned our food. No one wants a crispy mess of flames for dinner, but browning on vegetables is a sign of released and concentrated sugars produced by caramelization.
How do I chop my veggies?
Dice: This cut looks like little cubes and is commonly used for onions
Mince: This cut looks like a tiny dice and is commonly used for onions and garlic.
Slice: This is a singular cut made in an indicated direction, such as in half, on an angle or in quarters.
Julienne: This cut looks like skinny french fries. It involves cutting the food into thin, even strips. It is commonly used for carrots.
How do I chop my veggies and not myself?
By keeping your fingers back and away from the blade, you reduce the risk of an unwanted cut. By curling your fingertips in, you have more control and your knuckles can be used as a guide.
Stabilize your cuts. Try not to cut on an unsteady surface. Flip vegetables to a flat side to cut them safely.
Here are some of The Daily’s best veggie recipes for beginners:
Brussels sprouts don’t have to be bitter, tough and slimy. With a little effort, they can be good and good for you. Check out the Daily’s recipe for sprouts with a sweet heat you just can’t beat.
1 lb of Brussels sprouts (the smaller the sweeter)
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ tsp. (more if you want some heat) red pepper flakes
⅓ cup dried cranberries or currants
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar glaze or honey
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 375° F
Slice Brussels sprouts down the middle
Rinse in cold water, dry (excess water prevents browning)
Put the sprouts on a baking sheet
Drizzle enough olive oil to coat the sprouts
Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
Add minced garlic and dried cranberries or currants (if using)
Mix with tongs
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through and browned
Finish with a drizzle of honey or balsamic vinegar glaze
This recipe is perfect for when you’re tired after a long day of work or school. By roasting the zucchini in the oven, you cut down time standing over the stove. And by using a pre-made salad dressing, you cut down on prep-work and seasoning.
4 medium zucchini
3 tbsp. Italian vinaigrette
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375° F
Wash the zucchini with cold water, dry
Using a chef’s knife, slice the top and bottom parts of the zucchini off, discard
Slice the zucchini in half vertically, then slice the halves in half again vertically
Place the spears on baking sheet
Drizzle with a vinaigrette of choice
Mix with tongs
Add salt and pepper to taste
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through and slightly brown
Minestrone: A fancy word for soup made out of whatever vegetables you have in your fridge. Traditionally this soup is made with seasonal vegetables and sometimes pasta. The beauty of this recipe is you can use whatever you have on hand, and it will still taste amazing. Use this recipe as a guide, but add whatever veggies your taste buds desire. Buon Appetito!
½ medium onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, optional
Sprig of rosemary and/or thyme
1-2 bay leaves
1 tsp. paprika
2 oz. white wine
2 medium carrots, chef’s choice (diced, sliced or julienne)
3 medium celery stalks, ⅛-inch slices
2 tbsp. double-concentrated tomato paste
3 medium potatoes, diced (Yukon gold or russet)
1 can of white beans (navy, great northern, cannellini)
2 medium zucchini, sliced or diced
Optional additional veggies (ex. broccoli, squash, green beans)
¼ box of pasta: orzo, ditalini or another small shape
Large bunch of spinach or roughly chopped kale
48–64 oz vegetable or chicken stock, depending on desired thickness
To taste: salt, pepper, lemon zest
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
*Season with salt and pepper as you go.
Place a large pot over medium heat on the stove with 3 tbsp. of olive oil (add more as necessary)
Add the chopped onion, carrot and celery to the pan
Cook until the veggies soften and the onions turn translucent, but do not brown
Add tomato paste, garlic, herbs, bay leaves, paprika, and red pepper flakes
Cook until tomato paste slightly darkens in color and sticks to pan
Deglaze pan with wine
Add beans, zucchini and any other vegetables you want to add (not the leafy greens yet)
Cook until veggies slightly soften
Add vegetable or chicken stock, bring to a low boil
When potatoes can be pierced with a fork, add pasta, cook until pasta is finished, adding more broth if needed
Turn down heat and stir in leafy greens and allow them to soften (this will happen quickly!)
Turn off the heat and add lemon zest and olive oil to finish
Serve with a Tuscan-style or hearty bread