Cooking Basic Vegetables

Published October 25, 2020

I want to quickly collect how I cook a number of common vegetables. This is just for reference.

Last updated 2020-11-01.


I peel my asparagus with a vegetable peeler. Look for thicker asparagus. I don’t have any use for the twig thin kinds. After peeling, line up a bundle facing the same direction and tie with two loops of twine so the bunch fo them don’t float arond freely in the water. (This gets them looking nice and neat when you take them out). About 12-14 minutes in boiling salted water? Check with a knife or fork after 12 or so.


In a steamer basket, I steam the broccoli for about 12 minutes. I probably set a timer for 10 minutes and then start poking it work a fork to check doneness.

If I’m blanching them, I bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Put the peeled cut broccoli stems in first for 4 minutes (if you are using them). Then add the cut up crowns for 4 more minutes. Then it’s done.

You can cook the stems as well as the crowns. The stems take longer and I would do this the blanched way. The stems should also be peeled and then sliced. Stems go into boiling water first fir 4 minutes. Then add the crowns for an additional 4 minutes.

Brussels Sprouts

These are best if you can buy them on the stalk vs loose. I only cook them seasonally in the fall.

First trim the ends of the sprouts and remove any loose leaves. Cut an X on the bottom (stem end) of the sprout.

Blanch them in boiling, salted water. About 14 minutes until a fork or sharp knife starts to pierce them easily.

Drain and cool a little until it’s comfortable to cut them in half with a paring knife.

Then swish them in some melted butter. They’ll taste good after cut in half. They’ll taste better after the butter. Serve.


See Broccoli. Except for stems.


Sautee very gently in butter. Garlic burns easily. Low heat. I always think they start to get puffy and then they are done.

Green Beans

I only blanch these. In a pot of boiling salted water, cook them for about 8 minutes. Tougher beans take longer. Again, check with a fork. Don’t over cook.


Slice and sautee in butter. Mushrooms have an amazing quantity of water hidden in them. If you sautee them, you get the water out and then that doesn’t make soggy things you don’t want soggy. Like quiche.

Summer Squash (Zucchini, Yellow squash, and friends)

Slice. Sautee in oil. They get soft. They can get too soft. Good with mushrooms and herbs.

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