If you’ve had a mushy carrot or boiled cabbage experience in the past, then you know how important timing is. Just a few minutes more than needed and you’ve got yourself a bowl of bland, overdone vegetables. Overcooking doesn’t just make vegetable flavorless, it also leads to a loss of nutrients. Luckily, cooking them right isn’t rocket science. With this handy list of cooking timings for seven common vegetables, you’ll never eat a limp green bean again.
Carrots need to be cooked until they’re soft enough to eat, but still have a crunch to them. If you’re steaming them, they don’t need more than ten minutes tops. Boiled carrots too require only 10 minutes if you’ve chopped them, but 25 minutes if you’re boiling them whole. If you’re frying them over direct feet, don’t exceed 8 minutes. Roasting them in the oven takes the most time as they cook in slow heat. They will need at least 40 minutes in the oven to get that lovely, sweet roasted flavor. Don’t crank up the heat, because this could ruin the taste.
Asparagus needs to have texture, so they generally require very little time to cook. Using fresh, thin stalks of asparagus will reduce cooking time even further and improve taste. Stir frying asparagus will only take about 5 minutes over a high flame. If you prefer steaming them, don’t exceed 12 minutes at the most. Roasting asparagus won’t take more than 20 minutes at 200 degrees C.
3. Brussels Sprouts
If you’ve spent most of your life hating brussels sprouts, you’ve probably not eaten properly cooked ones. Brussels sprouts made right are deliciously fresh and crunchy. Steam them for 7-10 minutes depending on how soft you want them to be. If you’re cooking them over a flame, slice them and stir fry for just 3 minutes. Roasted brussels sprouts taste so good, they will convert even the biggest cynic. Roast them for about 30 minutes in the oven to bring out their natural sweetness while retaining their texture.
With broccoli, all you need to do is soften it a tad. It still needs to be firm and vibrantly green. Whether you’re steaming them, boiling them or stir frying them, make sure the cooking time doesn’t exceed 5 minutes. Don’t worry about cooking them too little. Undercooked broccoli tastes miles better than overcooked broccoli. If you’re roasting florets of broccoli, don’t keep them in the oven for any longer than 20 minutes
Cauliflower is a lot firmer than broccoli and thus needs more time to cook. Steaming it requires at least 30 minutes to soften and become easy to eat. Cooking them over a flame requires 20 minutes, but you can shorten the time by pre-boiling it for 5 minutes. If you’re boiling an entire head of cauliflower for a puree or mash, don’t exceed 15 minutes. Overboiling can make your mash grey and taste bland. In an oven, cauliflower usually doesn’t take longer than 25 minutes to roast.
6. Sweet Potato
Sweet potato needs to be cooked just enough to make it easy to eat and bring out its natural sweetness. Overcooking will lead to a mushy mess that’s completely devoid of nutrition. If you’re frying chunks of sweet potato, it will need to cook for at least 25 minutes. To reduce cooking time, pre-boil the whole potato for about 5 minutes. Sweet potatoes also make great healthy alternatives to regular potato wedges. Roast wedges of sweet potato in the oven for about 30 minutes. You might even prefer them to your usual fries.
Cabbage’s natural crunchy texture often gets completely lost the way most of us cook it. Overcooking cabbage can make it limp and completely tasteless. Shredded cabbage doesn’t need more than 15 minutes on a stovetop. Never add water to it because cabbage releases plenty of water while cooking. If you want to roast it, chop the head into wedges and bake for 40 minutes.