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Cooking Vegetables

Posted Sep 14 2008 2:42pm


We all know we’re supposed to be eating our vegetables. But there are so many different notions out there about how we should prepare our veggies. Is raw always better? Is poaching better than microwave cooking?

The New York Times columnist Tara Parker-Pope just wrote about how to cook your vegetables in her Well column. The answer? There really is no one perfect way to cook vegetables; different methods all have their own benefits and disadvantages.

Cooked and processed tomatoes (and other red-fleshed fruits) are higher in the powerful antioxidant lycopene than raw tomatoes. Poaching releases some nutrients but leeches out others. You will lose less vitamin C if you microwave your vegetables than if you boil or steam them. Whole fats (like dressing or avocado) actually help the body absorb more lycopene, lutein, and beta carotene in vegetables.

Cover your bases by eating a wide variety of vegetables in a wide variety of ways! Here are a few ideas.

Herbed haricorts vert from Saveur

Lettuce hand rolls from Cookie

Homemade agave syrup ketchup (lycopene!) from The Kitchn

Avocado and watercress salad from Epicurious

Raw Tuscan Kale Salad with Pecorino from the New York Times

Potato salad doesn’t have to have mayonnaise. Try tossing cooked, chopped potatoes (with their vitamin-rich skins) in olive oil instead.

  • 4 medium-sized waxy potatoes
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup watercress
  • 2 Tablespoons minced scallions or ramps
  • 2 Tablespoons (or more) fresh thyme and/or chives
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A dash of paprika

Chop potatoes into slightly larger than bite-sized chunks and boil until just tender. Combine while the potatoes are still warm so the flavors blend. Let cool to room temperature.

Image by Landon Nordeman from Saveur.

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