Here are some healthy and delicious ways to bring vegetables to the center of the plate, whether you’re a novice or an expert at cooking with plants.
While it may seem daunting at first, cooking vegetarian does not need to be difficult. The best vegetarian food strikes the perfect balance between the extremes of heavy, old school fare and bland, unadorned salads.
Just as you take care sourcing fresh, high-quality ingredients, it is important to have the right tools and techniques to bring plants to the center of the table.
Here, we break down six must-have products, from preparation to garnish, to make healthy vegetarian food accessible for home chefs of every skillset.
As with meat, one of the most important tools you will need for successful vegetarian cooking is a good knife. In order to ensure even cooking, cutting your vegetables into similar sized pieces couldn’t be more important.
Different sizes will yield uneven, sometimes unpleasant textures and while contrast is important, you’ll want to achieve that from either spices like chilies or add-ins like nuts rather than an errant piece of partially cooked potato.
While a good chef’s knife is essential, the 7-inch Santoku Knife is a favorite for plant-forward cooking because of its flat cutting edge, which is more suited to notoriously unwieldy vegetables like squash. The shorter blade length also makes it ideal for precision cuts (think: scoring before roasting or removing kale ribs) and gives you exceptional control when chopping, dicing or julienning.
Sautéing is a major component of vegetarian cooking. One of the easiest weeknight meals to throw together is some lightly sautéed vegetables, a whole grain and an accompanying sauce. When it comes to low fat cooking, non-stick cookware is ideal for this technique and more. Flipping egg-white omelets, searing tofu or wilting greens are all made simple with the super slick surface of our Non Stick Frying Pan.
The surface of our 12-inch pan is double coated and guaranteed to last 70x longer than competing ceramic pans. Additionally, it is non-toxic and made without PFOA. The Non Stick Frying Pan can also be used as a way to heat up meal prepped food with minimal mess.
With its simple clean up and thoughtful design, it is no wonder this pan was voted Simply Recipes’ Best Overall Non Stick Frying Pans in 2021.
Learning how to properly roast vegetables is one of the best ways to introduce more of them into your diet and truly enjoy the process. After using your knife to cut your desired vegetable (or better yet a medley of them) into similar sized pieces, you can continue to ensure even cooking by making sure the pan is not crowded.
As the water begins to cook out of the vegetables, a Maillard reaction occurs and the vegetables' own sugars help them beautifully caramelize. While a little oil aids in the cleanup process and creates a crispy exterior, it is not necessary to perfectly cook veggies.
Roasting temperatures vary between 375ºF and 450ºF, so try to pair similarly dense vegetables to make sure that nothing gets over or undercooked.
The high, curved walls of our Carbon Steel Roasting Pan further ensure even cooking and allow you to easily turn vegetables without fear of spilling them into the oven. Designed in partnership with Chef Tom Colicchio, it can just as easily be used to cook a holiday or weeknight dinner.
If you over steam broccoli, asparagus or Brussels sprouts, they end up like mushy cafeteria food. Texture is a great way to give the vegetables you may have detested in childhood a second chance.
Potatoes and other denser vegetables benefit from a light boil in salted water for 10-12 minutes before being hit with higher heat but brassicas (which include both broccoli and Brussels sprouts as well as cauliflower and cabbage) can be subjected to a higher heat without the extra step, leading to fully cooked interiors and deliciously blistered exteriors.
Grilling is also another way to cook with less oil. While meat will release proteins as it cooks, vegetables yield water, helping to steam them along the way and improving texture. The 62 perforations on our 11-inch Blue Carbon Steel Grill Frying Pan allow for the flames to make even contact with the bottom of the pan.
This not only means impressive grill marks but also more uniform cooking. Grilled vegetables can be used in a variety of ways from an impressive appetizer like a grilled artichoke to a centerpiece like fajitas, or even a topping for grains.
Salads can be drab or beautiful depending on many things— dressings, toppings, greens used and of course plating. After you have chopped your vegetables of choice, one way to really let them shine is to present them in one of our Serving Bowls.
With its 12-inch diameter, our Serving Bowl provides salads with the stage they truly deserve. Crafted with care in England, it is scratch and stain resistant so you don’t have to worry about using metal serving utensils.
Another idea for dynamic serving is to give yourself or your guests options for their salad. Part of what makes something like a taco night fun is the customization aspect and building a salad should be no different.
Our Side Bowls serve as the perfect salad accessory. Fill them with healthy add-ins such as raw or roasted nuts, seeds, other freshly cut vegetables, fresh or dried fruit and even different varieties of dressing. Like the Serving Bowl, the Side Bowls are scratch resistant and made in England.
Finally, if you are going to indulge, let it be in the good stuff. Not all olive oil is designed for the same thing. Some are better for sautéing, some floral ones lend themselves to sweeter applications and others like Fat Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil are best suited to a drizzle or a garnish. Vegetables, especially earthy and/or bitter ones, love richness and with Fat Gold, a little goes a long way.
A healthy diet is not necessarily devoid of fat, and extra virgin olive oil is known to be both a source of antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory properties. Fat Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made from three different olives – frantoio, leccino and maurino – that results in a deep and peppery flavor.
You can also use Fat Gold combined with lemon juice, salt and pepper to make a simple salad dressing, which pairs well with a flavorful green like arugula.
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