I know how hard it is to eat healthy during the holidays. This time of year is full of pies, breads, cakes, fried foods and other treats that I really want but know I probably shouldn’t have. So in order to make an attempt at eating healthy, I make sure to get veggies into my regular diet. But after awhile, eating the same vegetables over and over again can get pretty old. Here are four cooking techniques for the greens on your plate:
1. Grill Them
Grilled veggies get a slight smoky flavor that is absolutely delicious. Before you start grilling, make sure to drizzle your veggies in a bit of olive oil to help any seasoning stick and prevent them from becoming too dry. Keep an eye on the time as well. Some vegetables take longer than others to cook. Sear them over high heat for a few minutes. You may also want to invest in a grill basket. This way you can cook smaller veggies like sliced peppers and cherry tomatoes without worrying they’ll fall through the cracks of the grill.
2. Roast Them
It’s amazing how different vegetables can taste when they’re seasoned and roasted correctly. Broccoli and asparagus have risen to the top of my favorite vegetables list because of this method of cooking. It gives them a crisp texture while still locking in the flavor. Set your vegetables of choice in a roasting pan and preheat the oven to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. To give them extra flavor, toss the vegetables in olive oil and season with a bit of salt, pepper and lemon juice. Roast uncovered for about 30 minutes. Depending on the veggies you’re cooking, the oven time may vary.
3. Saute Them
If you’re not familiar with the saute technique: It’s the fancy method cooks use when they move a pan quickly back and forth so that whatever is in the pan jumps out and then back in. Of course when I do it, most of the ingredients end up on the floor … but I’m working on it. With this technique, you’ll have to slice and dice your vegetables first so they cook evenly. Cut them into 1/2-inch cubes and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. After a couple of good tosses and a only a few minutes, you’ll have firm, sauteed vegetables.
4. Steam Them
Steaming your vegetables is one of the best ways to lock in all of the vitamins and nutrients. Cut your vegetables into bite-sized pieces and place them in a steaming basket above 2 ounces of water. Once the water comes to a boil, wait about 5 to 12 minutes for them to cook, depending on the veggies that you chose. Make sure to keep the lid on during the entire process. Once the cooking time is over, transfer them to a bowl of ice water to shock your veggies and stop the cooking process so they remain crunchy.
[Image Sources: Flickr – Viewminder, Ari Hahn, s.yume, Jeff Nelson, Dan Callahan]