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5 ways to make veggies the star this summer

Cooking vegetables (or anything) during the summer always feels like more of a chore than during the rest of the year. Especially in the heat, who wants to be stuck standing by a toasty oven, roasting veggies? It’s time to get a little creative with your veg. When you’re sick of salads, there are tons of methods you can use to cook vegetables to make them not only delicious but the focal point of any meal. Read on to learn five interesting ways to prepare veggies that you may not have considered before.

Corn, tomatoes, and assorted vegetables
Randy Fath/Unsplash

Cook them sous vide

If you (like me) are always watching cooking competition shows, you may be terrified to try cooking sous vide in your home (also like me). But the technique is surprisingly simple to master when you have more than 20 minutes to cook an entrée. This cooking method involves sealing food in an airtight, vacuum-sealed bag and placing it in temperature-controlled water. For vegetables, the water should remain at a constant 183 degrees Fahrenheit to thoroughly cook them.
Sous vide cooking is great because it produces consistent and tender veggies. Plus, as long as the water remains at the right temperature, you can’t overcook or burn your food. It’s an easy, hands-off way to cook vegetables, making it perfect for amateur chefs.

Which veggies should you try?

Lots of vegetables taste great when cooked sous vide. Here are a few you should try:
• Root veggies like potatoes, beets, and carrots
• Asparagus
• Eggplant
• Artichokes
• Fennel

Smoke the veggies

Firing up the grill is one of the best things about summer. But meat isn’t the only thing you can cook outside; smoking vegetables in your pellet grill is a simple way to make a delicious dish for your next barbeque. You can cook your veggies quickly and get that nice smokey flavor, too.
Start by seasoning the vegetables of your choice to taste. You can use balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, or whatever else you like. Preheat your pellet grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, using your preferred wood chips. Then, just put the vegetables in a grill basket and smoke them until they’re caramelized and cooked through — 30 to 45 minutes.

Which veggies should you try?

There are tons of veggies you can smoke, including:
• Potato and sweet potato
• Corn on the cob
• Bell peppers
• Mushrooms
• Yellow squash

Pickled vegetables in jars
Brooke Lark/Unsplash

Pickle them

Almost every kind of vegetable can be pickled fairly easily. Pickled veg can be used to top tacos, bring some life to salads, complement a sandwich, or satiate your afternoon snack cravings. Plus, you can flavor your pickled veggies however you want, making them as sour or sweet as you like.
To pickle your vegetables, start by slicing them and blanching them briefly (2-5 minutes). Separate the veggies into canning jars and add your seasoning like dill, garlic, or cumin. Then, make the brine using water, vinegar, sea salt, and sugar. Boil it for two minutes, add it to the jars, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.

Which veggies should you try?

Cucumbers aren’t the only vegetable you can pickle. Here’s just a few you can try:
• Beets
• Avocado
• Peppers
• Onions
• Rhubarb

Person peeling a zucchini
Caroline Attwood/Unsplash

Steam vegetables in a microwave

Steaming is one of the simplest ways to cook vegetables as it only takes a few minutes to complete. When you steam a veggie, whether in the microwave or on the stovetop, it better retains its nutritional value, natural flavor, color, and texture. Micro-steaming is even more manageable during the summer since it’s faster than stovetop cooking and won’t add any heat to the kitchen.
Steaming veggies in the microwave doesn’t require any special equipment; all you need is a microwave-safe bowl and plastic wrap or a silicone bowl cover. Place your vegetables in a bowl and add just a little bit of water, about the same amount that you would use to rinse the vegetables. Cover the bowl, leaving one area uncovered to vent. The cook time varies depending on the vegetable, but three to eight minutes is typically enough.

Which veggies should you try?

You can micro-steam any vegetable that you can steam on the stovetop, including:
• Green beans
• Cauliflower
• Zucchini
• Brussels sprouts
• Broccoli

Make them into a sauce

What dish is complete without a tasty sauce? Though you probably know you can make a sauce with tomatoes, there are plenty of other veggies that taste great as sauces, too. The internet is chock full of delicious vegetable-based sauce recipes that you can use to complete a wide assortment of meals. Sauces are surprisingly easy to make, too, usually just requiring a saucepan and a few additional ingredients. If you or your kids struggle to eat the recommended amount of vegetables every day, sauces can also be an easy and delicious way to sneak in an extra serving.

Which veggies should you try?

There are tons of vegetables that you can turn into sauces. Try:
• Tomatoes
• Squash
• Celery
• Eggplant
• Carrots

When deciding how to cook veggies, you may be surprised at how many different options there are. From steaming them in the microwave to smoking them on a pellet grill, there are tons of ways to prep your veg. Each one has its own time commitment, level of prep work, and flavors that it produces. But one thing is for sure: every one of these veggie cooking methods is delicious! So, no matter what you’re in the mood for today, adding vegetables to your diet will be easier (and tastier) than before!

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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Shannon Cooper
Freelance writer
Shannon Cooper has written about everything from pet care and travel to finance and plumbing in her seven years as a writer…
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