What order to cook vegetables? (5 easy steps)

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “What order to cook vegetables?”, discuss the different ways to cook vegetables and the time length required to cook vegetables.

What order to cook vegetables?

For cooking vegetables, follow the following easy steps:

  1. Add oil to a pan and wait until it shimmers. If you don’t let it shimmer first, the oil would not be hot enough to brown the vegetables and they will stick to the pan.
  2. Now add flavoring ingredients to the pan.
    1. If you want to add some hot peppers, add them 5 minutes before the addition of vegetables.
    2. If you want to add some minced garlic, add that 1 minute before the addition of vegetables.
  3. Now add the prepared vegetables (cut into specific shape/form) to the pan.
    1. Make sure that they cover the bottom of the pan and don’t pile up.
  4. Stir or toss the vegetables frequently to ensure an even supply of heat.
  5. Cook for 3-10 minutes until it is done.

How to cook vegetables?

While cooking vegetables, the preparation may not be the exciting aspect, but following the correct steps can make a big difference not only in the taste but also in the final appearance and nutritional value of vegetables. Doing so not only helps the beginner cook from getting frustrated but also helps the experienced cook to enjoy the cooking process.

How long to cook vegetables?

Different vegetables take different time for cooking depending on the way adopted to cook them, and the size to which they are sliced/cut. But keep in mind that you have to cook them until they are soft enough. For the sake of comparison, we can categorize the vegetables into three categories depending on the time they take to boil:

  • 5 minutes or less
    • Asparagus
    • Broccoli
    • Carrots
    • Corn
    • Eggplant
    • Green beans
    • Mushrooms
    • Peas
    • spinach
  • 10-15 minutes
    • Brussels 
    • Cauliflower
    • Squash 
  • 15 minutes and beyond
    • Artichokes
    • Beets
    • Collard greens (and other hearty greens)
    • Potatoes 

How to saute any vegetable?

To saute any vegetable is to cook it quickly in a minimal amount of fat over relatively high heat. It is the basic and key skill we can all benefit from. There are 3 slightly different methods to saute vegetables:

  • For softer vegetables

Softer vegetables (such as zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc.) have higher water content. So these can be simply cooked in a bit of oil until they are brown.

  • For harder vegetables

Harder vegetables (such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.) benefit from a little steaming before browning. You can simply add a splash of water with vegetables, cover them with a lid, and let them steam for a few minutes. Then remove the lid, and evaporate any remaining water by raising heat to medium-high.

  • Using a parchment paper

Using parchment paper is a perfect alternate for an especially tender texture. All you have to do is to cut the vegetables and heat the pan as normal. Add a splash of water, spices as required, and your vegetables. Now cover the pan slightly with parchment paper and wait for the water to evaporate. When the water has evaporated, remove the paper and wait for a couple of minutes, allowing vegetables to be caramelized by butter.

What are ways for cooking flavorful vegetables?

Cooking the same vegetables the same way can be boring. We need to nourish our body, mind, taste buds, and appetite by exciting, appetizing, and delicious vegetables. This is only possible when we try different methods of cooking the same vegetable. Here are some different ways to cook vegetables that you can try:

  • You can beautifully turn raw vegetables into a composed dish with the help of marinades, sauces, herbs, and spices. This helps you to taste the vegetable in its natural state and keep all of its nutrients.
  • To get crispy, bright vegetable boiling is an easy and fast way. Just make sure that you boil it in the right way.
    • For blenching, cook the vegetables for only a few minutes until they are bright in color and as tender as you like them.
    • For simmering, add the vegetables before the water boils, and let them cook at a lower temperature for a longer time.
  • Steaming can be the right choice for you if you don’t want to submerge the vegetables and cook them in oil. By this method, you can cook vegetables, making them tender, bright, flavorful, and retain many of their nutrients.
  • One of the best ways to cook vegetables is by sauteing. It involves cooking vegetables over high heat in a pan with a bit of oil and aromatics.
  • The fast way of making dinner for the whole family is stir-frying. For this, you need to prepare all your ingredients before you start cooking. Because the food cooks so fast by this method and you don’t have time to chop vegetables during the process.
  • For the heartier vegetables (such as root vegetables, potatoes, beans, squash, celery, etc.) braising and stewing serve the best option. In this method, you saute the vegetables in oil with aromatics first and then add some liquid for them to cook in.

Conclusion:

In this brief guide, we answered the question “what order to cook vegetables?”, discussed the different ways to cook vegetables and the time length required to cook vegetables.

References:

  1. 3 Ways to Sauté Vegetables – wikiHow 
  2. How Long to Cook Vegetables: A Beginner’s Guide to Preparation Times | Kitchn (thekitchn.com) 
  3. How to Saute Vegetables | Learn 2 easy methods to cook any vegetable! (thenewbaguette.com) 
  4. Try These 10 Methods for Cooking Flavorful Vegetables – One Green Planet

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