Food & Nutrition

How To Cook Vegetables

Vegetables should form the foundation of your diet – it’s virtually impossible to eat too many. Apart from all their vitamins and antioxidants, they’re stuffed with important phytochemicals that are difficult to get anywhere else. All you need to worry about is filling your plate with as much varied veg as you can handle. Jules Clancy, whose Stone Soup cooking course is devoted to idiot-proof five-item recipes, knows the best ways.

Roast with the most

“The easiest way to make veg tasty is to roast it. Peel and cut your veg, drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle fresh thyme on top, then cover it with foil and bake at 160˚C/gas 3 for 30 minutes. Finally, uncover it and keep cooking until it browns. This is perfect for broccoli, parsnips or sweet potatoes. Make sure all the chunks are roughly the same size so they cook evenly.”

Steam powered

“When cooking veg like kale or spinach, steam them in a deep pan with a lid. Wash your veg, throw it in, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan, then put it on a low heat. Cook your veg gently for about five minutes until it goes limp and bright green.”

Dressing for success

“For a simple salad dressing, combine two teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil – a good fat – with one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar for sweetness. Alternatively, try three parts olive oil to one part each of red wine vinegar and wholegrain mustard.”

Flash in the pan

“For a super-simple way to cook broccoli, put two tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan, add the florets, then cover the pan – this will fry it at the bottom and steam it at the top. After two minutes, stir in a knob of butter and cook for two more minutes or until tender.”

Hearty Vegetable And Bean Stew Recipe


  • 800g canned cannellini beans
  • 800g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2-3 courgettes, chopped
  • 2tbsp paprika
  • 1 bag washed baby spinach

To make

  1. Place the beans and liquid, tomato and juices, chopped courgettes and paprika into a large saucepan.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about ten minutes or until the courgettes are soft.
  3. Add the spinach and continue to cook, stirring, until the spinach is just wilted.
  4. Taste, season and serve drizzled generously with extra virgin olive oil.

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