Brimming with the goodness of
vitamins, minerals, fiber and anti-oxidants, vegetables are among the
healthiest foods available. In fact, people who consume veggies on a regular
basis, research shows, have a lower risk at developing chronic diseases like
heart disease, type 2 Diabetes
, and some forms of cancer.
Eating vegetables in raw or
cooked form is a highly debatable question since some vegetables are more
nutritious when eaten raw while others are healthier when cooked.
Application of heat can destroy
15 to 20 percent nutrients in vegetables particularly, vitamin C, folate, and
potassium whereas it can drastically increase the lycopene in tomatoes.
Asparagus, tomatoes, spinach,
mushroom are more nutritious when eaten in cooked form whereas onion, beetroot,
bell peppers are healthier when eaten raw.
The nutrient losses are highest
when vegetables are cooked for a long time on high temperature using excess
water. Steaming and microwaving are the best cooking method for vegetables from
the nutritional viewpoint and calorie content wise.
Microwaving is the quickest
cooking method.Olive and canola oil
are best suited for cooking vegetables.
- By experimenting with cooking
techniques, you’ll find novel ideas to entice everyone in your family to up
their vegetable intake.
- Broiling which involves cooking
under high temperature for short time duration isn’t a good way to cook up
veggies since they tend to dry out.
Microwaving is perhaps the best
cooking method in terms of retaining nutrients, time and water consumption for
cooking. Cooking vegetables in the microwave with a small amount of water
essentially steams them from inside out.
- Since the cooking time is short,
cooking with a microwave preserves vitamin C and other nutrients that get lost
- Grilling is a quick cooking method where a hint of
smoke from the grill imparts a delicious smoky flavor to vegetables.
- It is an excellent cooking technique for getting
maximum nutrition without sacrificing on taste.
- Before grilling, it is important to coat the vegetables
with little oil to prevent them from drying out.
- Grilling can be done in a grill pan, oven or a
barbeque over medium heat.
- Bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus, eggplant
and potatoes are excellent choices for grilling.
- Fermenting vegetables in sliced, grated or shredded
form in a salt solution or salt and whey solution is an interesting way to
- Fermented vegetables undergo lacto-fermentation, a
method of food preservation, which enhances its nutritional value.
Bacterial action makes the vitamins and minerals in cultured foods more readily
available for digestion to the body.
- You can ferment one vegetable alone or create
mix of many different kinds, along with herbs and spices, for variety.
- The word sauté is derived from
the French verb, which means “to jump”. It refers to the manner in which
vegetables added to a lightly oiled pan tend to jump while cooking them.
- Sautéing is a quick and easy way
to cook vegetables with relatively little oil in a skillet on a medium flame,
making it a must include preparation style for weight watchers. Sautéed
vegetables tend to retain their nutritive value, as well as taste and color.
Sautéing is best suited for cooking tender vegetables, such as asparagus, peas,
bell peppers, onions and mushrooms.
- Stir-frying is very similar to
sautéing, with two important differences. Stir-frying is done over very high
heat, and the vegetables have to be constantly stirred to prevent them from
burning. It is often done in a wok, which is a classical Chinese cooking
- Good vegetable choices for
stir-frying include sweet peppers, zucchini, carrots, broccoli and onions.
- Roasting vegetables is a cooking
technique which involves placing vegetables on a baking sheet and drizzling
them with a little oil, and popping them in a 400-degree oven. The high oven
temperature of roasting, cooks vegetables quickly and caramelizes the sugars on
the surface, which imparts a crunchy and sweet flavor. Roasting helps to
preserve vitamins and minerals, as well as retain flavor.
- Eggplant, bell peppers, carrots
and onions are good choices for roasting.
Boiling or Simmering:
- Boiling vegetables is a quick and
easy technique involving cooking vegetables in boiling water. Simmering is
another technique for cooking vegetables with water, but at a lower
temperature, before the water begins boiling. This slow-cooking technique is
suited for dried bean, potatoes, beets and root vegetables that require longer
periods of cooking to become tender.
- Steaming cooks vegetables without
submersing them in water, so they are more likely to retain the vitamins and
minerals. Unlike sautéing, steaming doesn’t require oil, so it’s a great way to
prepare vegetables if you’re watching calories.
- Steaming is an excellent cooking
technique for vegetables like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans and
1 medium onion
- 1 medium or 2 small carrots
- 1 zucchini
2 small potatoes
5 small tomatoes
1 red or yellow pepper
2 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F (180 C). Slice the onion thinly. Dice all the
vegetables into pieces approximately the same size i.e. ½ inch. Place the vegetables
onto a baking dish. Season with salt, pepper and herbs and pour the olive oil
over the vegetables. Mix thoroughly but gently.
2. Place the baking dish in the oven and cook for 45-50 minutes. Halfway
through the cooking process, remove the dish and gently stir the vegetables so
that the ones at the bottom come to the top.
3. Towards the end of the cooking process, stir the vegetables a second
4. Remove from the oven and let
cool slightly. Serve hot.
- Always cut vegetables in big pieces so that fewer vitamins are destroyed when they are exposed to air.
- Sautéing and stir-frying are best done with cooking oil which withstands high heat, such as canola oil.
- If you want to cook vegetables like green beans or broccoli, add them when water is at a full boil.