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One of the easiest ways to eat healthy and get vegetables into our diet is to make a side dish. When I started cooking, I realized that I didn’t add vegetables at all. I decided to change that but struggled and overthought how I was going to incorporate it into my meal. One way, other than side dishes, is to add vegetables directly into your main entree. That’s not always possible, take steak for example. Instead, I found it easier to think of them separately.
There are four simple ways to cook vegetables for your side dishes. They’re not hard at all and can easily be made while you’re cooking your main dish.
1. Stir-fry vegetables
Stir-frying vegetables are my most favorite way of preparation. You can add a variety of vegetables together without much thought and it seems to be the most versatile preparation. There’s no going wrong with stir-fried vegetables.
If you’re in a pinch for time, use frozen vegetables. I regularly pick up Target’s stir-fry medley since it’s filled with red bell peppers, carrots, water chestnuts, sugar snap peas, and broccoli.
How to do it? Simply add olive oil to a pan. Add vegetables of choice. Season with salt and pepper or other seasonings of your choice (I usually add garlic powder). Then serve alongside your main dish.
2. Roasted vegetables
Roasted vegetables aka you’ve baked them in the oven is another simple way to add a side dish to your meal. This is perfect for when you want to simply toss it and forget about it. While you’re making your main dish, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. On a baking sheet pan, add your desired vegetable(s) of choice. Apply a fair amount of olive oil all over. Add salt and pepper. Then toss it in the oven. It’ll take about an estimated time of 15 – 20 minutes. This amount should be considered as a starting point and will vary on the type of vegetable and your oven.
3. Steamed vegetables
Steamed vegetables are one way to cook vegetables without adding any oil (although steamed broccoli with butter is always a good choice). If you don’t have a steamer, simply add a little bit of water to a pot with your vegetable of choice. Alternatively, you can do this in the microwave as well. Add your vegetable of choice and water to a bowl. Then you have probably the quickest side dish ever.
4. Blanched vegetables
Blanching vegetables mean that you boil water and then add the vegetables for about 1 minute or so (to cook it quickly). Add flavorings of your choice such as salt/pepper or soy sauce/sesame oil. Maangchi has a tasty and simple side dish for spinach.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. Using these four ways of cooking vegetables, you can always have a side dish idea and plan ready to go. Keep these in a rotation. If you’re tired of eating stir-fried vegetables, opt for roasted vegetables and different seasonings. This is probably the easiest way to experiment in the kitchen because you aren’t likely to go wrong.
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What’s your favorite side dish?