The Spectrum of Vegetable Preparation

Reading your ingredients. It sounds fruit loopy but it’s a real thing. What’s sitting on your counter or in your fridge has a destiny which you, as human, have the gift and capacity to facilitate into a tangible, edible reality.

All this takes to be able to do is a bit of practice, patience, and intuition. Such a fun opportunity.

Your variable ingredients (be it fruit, vegetable, spice, grain, or meat) each have a unique ability to transform. This is cooking, this is proper assembly and preparation. They each take to a lovely form with your applied creativity and technique. Kept raw, sliced, fried, roasted, spiced, elevated with acid/fat/salt/sweet…working with food is a dance and an art form. I’m feeling like a bit of romantic right now-I swoon for vegetables (coffee and chocolate too, but that’s conversation for another time).

One of my favorite ways to eat vegetables is to combine them in dishes utilizing both raw and cooked states. This way of preparation makes the meal feel balanced and satisfying due to the varying textures and temperatures.

I was inspired to make this kohrabi/cabbage/chard mix after a trip to the farmer’s market and the farmer suggested I make a slaw from the kohlrabi I purchased from him. I had never had this vegetable before, so I figure what better way to learn about it than to experience it raw at the recommendation of the man who grew it:

kohlrabi salad

I sauteed the chard with onion in coconut oil until wilted and added the shredded red cabbage right at the end of the cooking so just the raw bite of the cabbage was taken away. I then tossed the cooked stuff with the matchstick chopped kohlrabi, and coated it all in small bit of maple syrup, fire cider (apple cider vinegar tonic of garlic/onion/rosemary/horseradish/lemon/orange/hot pepper/astragalus), olive oil, and sea salt.

Here’s some of my favorites ways to play with vegetables. General rule of thumb is apply heat if the vegetable is unpalatable in raw form. Also, some vegetables are more nutritious when cooked (vitamin a more available in carotene rich sweet potato and carrot and compounds in cruciferous vegetables like kale that can be thyroid hindering are reduced when cooked).

  • Root 

Raw
shredded carrot (in a pancake, over a salad, in a wrap), kohlrabi (thinly sliced mixed with greens), celeriac (grated or julienne, eaten fresh as is or in a salad)

Roasted
sweet potatoes (in chunks covered in coconut oil or butter-try cumin and cinnamon with salt, shred them for hashbrowns), yellow or red potatoes (sliced into rounds or sticks, turmeric, garlic, cayenne), parnsips & carrots (prepared like fries, olive oil and herbs), beets (sliced, layered and coated in olive oils and a splash of balsamic, salt). Turnips (cubed/roasted or smashed into a mash. SO GOOD). 

  • Cruciferous 

Raw
kale (rip it up, massage it with lemon, olive oil, salt, tahini), broccoli or cauliflower florets for dipping, cabbage (shredded up in salad, create cabbage cups to hold stir fry or ground beef/choice of protein), brussel sprouts (shredded for salad, perhaps apply a maple/mustard vinaigrette), cauliflower can be shredded by food processor into rice-like granules to serve as you would a grain, or steamed & blended to serve as a mash or combined with half potato to make a more realistic starch substitute. 

Roasted
keep it simple-brussels, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale, all take to a simple coating in your choice of fat and salt 

  • Greens

Raw
 spinach (salads,  mild/tender enough for a smoothie) collards or rainbow chard (a full, fluffy leaf applied as a wrap-treat it like a burrito), romaine lettuce (shred to be a bed or chop for a salad, as a boat to salsa or protein), arugula/baby gem lettuces/spring mix….learn to make salad dressings at home and your salad game will change (try orange/olive oil/salt/maple, mustard/olive oil/spices, tahini/apple cider vinegar/honey/salt, maple syrup/balsamic/herb olive oil/salt, lemon/olive oil/salt, almond butter/apple cider vinegar/sea salt/honey) 

Cooked
greens that apply well to cooking are lower in water content (i.e. spinach, collards, chard, kale, etc all take to be a delicious bed for proteins or grains and are excellent with a bit of caramelized onion/garlic). Don’t forget that the tops to vegetables (radishes & beets for example) are not to be wasted and do well sauteed or stirred into soups or stews

 

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Filed under Advice, Raw, Salads, Veggies

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