Vegetable Cooking Times

After years of test trial (and failure), we finally came up with the best cooking time for different veggies!  Documenting them here so we don’t forget.  The below times are for medium (American-standard) sized vegetables.  Larger vegetables or thicker cuts may require more time.

Roasting:

Preheat the oven to the temperature listed in the bullets below.

Cut/slice the vegetables as described in the bullets below.

Coat the veggies in oil either in a zip lock bag (if you don’t want to get your hands messy) or directly on the cookie sheet.

Lay the veggies down on top of parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet.  Don’t crowd the pan, as that may cause the veggies to steam instead of roast.

If desired, season with harder herbs coated in olive oil like chopped rosemary or sage at this time.   Leave softer herbs like cilantro or parsley for later.  Don’t salt the veggies before roasting, as this will bring out water and cause the veggies to steam instead of roast.

Roast the vegetables for the length of time described in the bullets below.

Flip the veggies 2/3 way through the roasting time to brown them on both sides.  If adding bread crumbs and/or cheese (e.g., Parmesan or cheddar), sprinkle on top of the veggies after flipping.  Put the veggies back in the oven for the remaining 1/3 of the roasting time.

After roasting is complete, add salt, pepper, and any softer herb seasoning like cilantro or parsley.  Mix to combine.

  • Asparagus – 16 min at 400°F.
  • Cauliflower – 30 min at 400°F.  Cut in 3/4 inch slices (instead of florets) to maximize the surface area touching the pan, which will help the browning process.
  • Eggplant – 25 minutes.  Sliced in half lengthwise, oil, and place the cut side down on the the pan.
  • Onions – 30 minutes at 400°F.  Sliced into strips and mix with other vegetables.
  • Peppers – 40 min at 400°F.  Sliced into strips.
  • Beets – 40 minutes at 400°F.  Cut in 1 inch cubes before roasting.
  • Brussel sprouts – 35 to 40 min at 400°F.  Cut each brussel sprout in half.
  • Pumpkin – 40 min at 400°F.  Cut in 1/2 inch slices.

Boiling:

Make sure to boil enough water that when vegetables are placed in, the water doesn’t take much time to return to boiling.

Unless otherwise described below, salt the water with about a 1 tsp of salt.

Allow the water to come to a full rolling boil before placing the vegetables in.

After boiling, drain the veggies, and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.

  • Yukon gold potatoes (after visiting Peru, we only cook with yellow potatoes – they’re so much tastier!) – 20 minutes for mashed potatoes.  Sliced in half lengthwise (maximizing surface area) prior to boiling.
  • Broccoli – 3 minutes.  Broken into florets.
  • Frozen peas – 4 minutes.
  • Frozen corn – 3 minutes.
  • Collard greens – 2 minutes.  Boil in heavily salted water (1 Tbsp salt per quart of water).
  • Soy bean sprouts – 30 seconds.

Sauteing:

Saute on medium high heat in a very large bottomed pan (12 to 14 inch), with 1 to 2 Tbsp of oil.

The harder vegetables will need to be braised in liquid in between sauteing to soften them up.

  • Carrots – Sliced on a bias.  Sautee in oil or butter for 8 minutes.  Add 1/2 c of water and seasoning (e.g., bullion, sugar, thyme, etc), cover and cook for 7 more minutes.  Uncover and continue cooking until water has fully evaporated.
  • Leafy greens (e.g., spinach, ong choi, kale) – if cooking the stems as well as the greens, cut the stems into bite-sized pieces separately and saute for a minute or two prior to adding the leaves.  Add the leaves, and flip constantly during cooking so that uncooked greens touch the span.  Remove from the pan as soon as all of the leaves are wilted.  Do not let them stay in the pan, or the greens will become mushy.

“Waterless” Cooking:

We learned the “waterless” cooking approach from Kitchen Craft who does demonstrations at state fairs around the country.  It’s much healthier than roasting, sauteing, and boiling because the vegetables are cooked at a lower temperature for a shorter time, helping to retain the nutrients.  Very little water is used, so the nutrients stay in the food rather than leaching into the water.  It also doesn’t involve oil, which helps to reduce fat and calories in dishes.  The vegetable taste is much stronger with this cooking method, which can be good or bad depending on what you’re trying to do.

Place sliced vegetables in a large flat-bottomed pan  with the tougher side down (for example stem side).  Add 1/4 of water.  Place a cover on the top of the pan.  Turn the heat onto high.  Watch the pan.  As soon as steam starts coming out the sides of the cover, turn the heat off.  Do not open the cover.  Allow the vegetables to sit in the pan until the vegetables are soft.

Below is a list of vegetables that are good for waterless cooking.  They are listed in order of softest vegetables in order of softest to hardest vegetables.  If waterless cooking more than one type of vegetable, put the hardest vegetables on the bottom of the pan and the softest on the top.  This will help to ensure the vegetables cook evenly.

  • Broccoli, cut into florets, arranged stem side down
  • Bell peppers, cut into strips
  • Cauliflower, cut into florets, arranged stem side down
  • Carrots, sliced on a bias approx 1/4 inch thick