One Pot Vegetarian Cooking

The secret to making everyday cooking easy is timing. Whenever possible make protein, starch and veg all in one pot. The trick is not to overcook them in the process. Combining foods with contrasting colors is always nice too. It can be quite appetizing and even enhance the psychological taste of the food.

A simple example is in the photo. It's garlic mashed potatoes with peas and carrots. the red dust is paprika. A attractive and delicious garnish in this case.

Frozen peas are really easy. Just add them after your food is done cooking. Add them to the hot pot of food. Gently stir in. Cover pot and return it to the warm burner. Let sit at least 3 minutes. Green peas are so small it doesn't take much to defrost and warm them through.

Frozen carrots, broccoli, cauliflower... items of that density take much longer to cook. Generally about 5 minutes of strong heat to thaw and heat up. In the case of instant mashed potatoes you can add them to the water from the get go. Bring the water/veg to a boil as the package suggests. Then turn off heat and stir in potato flakes.

With rice it can vary greatly as different rices have vastly different cooking times. Just add your thick frozen veg when there is about 5 minutes left in cooking your rice. If it's not done when your rice is add a 1/4 cup more water and continue cooking on low heat until your veg is good to go.

When working with frozen greens like mustard greens, collard greens, spinach and kale it's best to cook them longer. Their fibrous and chewy nature will benefit from an extended cooking time. Add them from the beginning. When cooking rice add greens at the same time you add the dry rice. The exception being brown rice. Any rice that takes more than 30 minutes to cook. Don't cook greens for more than 20-25 minutes. When making instant mashed add greens when first add the water to the pot.

You can cook fresh vegetables in the same way. Fresh veg will take a little longer to cook. The very best indication of vegetable doneness is color. Once it's turned a bright vivid color it's time to stop cooking it.

I prefer to keep fresh veggies fresh. Just each them raw. They are great that way and there is less loss of nutrients. But depending on when you became a vegetarian/vegan your body may have different needs.

Every change in diet takes some getting used to. If you're just starting out as a vegetarian, allow your digestive system time to adjust. Eat more cooked veg than raw. Cooking aids in the digestive process. In some cases cooked foods can offer more nutrition. Especially to those not accustomed to consuming large amounts of raw food.


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