Hello my hungry friends,

Submersion cooking is very typical in American households with boiling being the most popular choice of all other submersion styles (such as poaching and simmering). With that being said, many people just simply plop their vegetables in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes or so then sprinkle with salt and pepper….. and that my friends is the reason why your little ones refuse to eat their veggies!

There are 5 main factors that play into boiling veggies, water temperature, water additives, cooking times, size of pot with correct amount of water, and of course uniformed cutting sizes. If you can perfect these common errors, then I promise, you will have an entirely different outcome when it comes to your family eating their veggies!

Water Temperature

Today we are going to talk about soft boiling our veggies and a few simple tips to bring out not only the flavor of these tasty vegetables but their beautiful vibrant colors as well. Under or overcooking vegetables is far more common than not when cooking veggies, especially green veggies, which can become overcooked in a matter of seconds.

Truth is, the temperature of the water or liquid will severely affect the way your veggies turn out. According to culinary students, long term boiling is mainly used only for pasta; soft boiling, poaching and simmering gives entirely different results. It is recommended to bring your cold water to a boil, add in your additives (see below), add in your veggies, then turn heat down to med. With delicate veggies, keep the temperature to a simmer to prevent them from knocking into each other and breaking apart, brussel sprouts are great for simmering.

Water Additives

When boiling with water, you can be left with flavorless mush. But again, if you are cooking with proper temperature and cook times then you will experience a bit of crunch and flavor. However, there are ways to enhance the flavor and color of your vegetables by adding a few ingredients into the water.


1 tsp of sea salt to 1 quart or liter of water is a proper amount to give your veggies just a bit more flavor. Make sure to taste the water checking for blandness.

Olive Oil

This coats the veggies, adds flavor, and protects the veggies after straining.

An Acid

 Depending on what color your vegetable is, an acid might be added to restore colors. With green vegetables, there is no need to add an acid and in fact can cause discoloration very quickly. But with vegetables containing flavonoids, such as red and white colored veggies, you can add red or white vinegar or a slice of lemon (for white veggies). Vegetables containing keratin can be cooked with or without adding an acid, they are robust and can typically retain their colors.

Cooking Time

I am positive many of you have pinned a few cheat sheet cooking times for each vegetable, however this is not the way you want to go when boiling your vegetables. There is no exact time that is correct, take in the factors of your temperature and size of each piece you have as well as YOUR preference. Your veggies will be done when they’re…well done! You will need to test them for doneness at least 2-3 times, just as you would with pasta.

You obviously want to test your veggie before you think it is done, to guesstimate a ready time. Remove one individual piece from the water and shock it in a bit of iced water, then take a bite to see. The tenderness should have just the tiniest resistance to the teeth. You want tender but not mushy! Make sure to stay on top of this factor, for texture is a main reason why children refuse to eat their veggies. Also remember that your veggies will continue to cook after they are pulled out of the water so work quickly to get them served as fast as possible, or you could always shock them in iced water for a few seconds to stop the cooking process and bring out their color. To prevent being waterlogged only leave in the iced water for about 5-8 seconds.

Pot Size & Water Amount

Remember, that your veggies need room to move around the pot without vigorously bumping into one another. To prevent this from happening, you need an adequate amount of water and a good size pot, more wide than tall.

Be sure to save your water that you use for boiling to use in stocks, animal water bowls, or even water your plants with it (once it cools down).

Cutting Veggies

When cutting your vegetables it is important to note that the size of the cuts are a key factor for consistency. The cuts need to be unified size and shapes when cooking. This helps to determine doneness with all the vegetables. Be sure to only cook one vegetable at a time per pot to also help with consistency.

Once your vegetables have been cooked there are a variety of ways to prepare them for the eating besides your average table salt and cracked pepper. Experiment with fresh herbs, spices and even vinaigrettes to bring out even more flavor and to get your family asking for seconds! I hope that these simple tips will help you in the kitchen and give you the push you need to expand your veggie cooking experience.

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Question of the Day:
What is your family’s least favorite vegetable to eat, and how do you cook it?
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Please share your opinions, thoughts, experiences or questions in the comments down below. I would LOVE to hear them!! Be sure to check back on Tuesdays for more recipes or you can always subscribe to my newsletter!! Also if you decide you’re up for the challenge of replicating this recipe, please post a picture on the comments down below, my Facebook / google+ page or instagram it! {don’t for get to use #omlivin & @omlivin} Lets spread the plant based love!! ❤ ॐ❤!

Ashleigh is a stay at home mom who enjoys blogging about balancing the mind through meditation and conscious parenting, the body through plant based eating and yoga, and the soul through up cycling and sustainability. Keep your life balanced & subscribe to her weekly emails, like OmLivin’ on FB or check her out on Google+ for more.

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