In America, 7% of women and 4% of men are vegetarian, and 3% of the population are vegan. However, these statistics are set to rise, with 31% of people considering cutting meat and other animal products out of their diet. When you are a vegan, vegetables are, of course, the main star of the show. You can easily follow a balanced diet, obtaining all of the nutrients that you need from plants. This is why it is a good idea to improve your kitchen skills when it comes to their preparation. There are many ways of prepping veg that you will find in professional kitchens that you can easily do at home. It will make your vegan dishes look just as delicious as they are to eat.
Shredding vegetables is a basic kitchen skill, but when it’s done well, it can transform your food, giving dishes like ‘slaw a beautiful texture and consistency. You are always best shredding your own vegetables, such as lettuce and cabbage, rather than buying them pre-shredded, as it will avoid oxidization, which will turn the leaves brown. Don’t forget: a fresh, ripe cabbage is easier to shred than an older one. Many people use a grater to shred cabbage, but you will get a finer shred with longer pieces if you use a knife. Using a knife to shred cruciferous vegetables like cabbage also means that you will have far more control. Make sure that you take the outer leaves off before you start, and wash the cabbage thoroughly. Remove the core, and cut the cabbage in half so that you can place it down on a flat surface. Shred the cabbage from the top in small sections - your slices should be a couple of millimeters thick.
Julienne your vegetables
Julienne is the French method of cutting your vegetables into very thin, matchstick-like strips. Your vegetables will need to be reasonably firm in order for you to be able to cut them properly. Carrots, celeriac and peppers are good options for the Julienne technique. They can be served in salad or a remoulade. The trick to Julienne is making sure that each of the strips are the same length. Cut your vegetables into rectangles first, stack these, and cut them lengthways into thin batons before finally slicing them into very thin strips.
One of the most common mistakes that people make when preparing vegetables is not seasoning them enough. Green vegetables in particular need a good, heavy pinch of salt when you are boiling them in the pan. This will give them an extra punch of flavor that will enhance the fresh taste. Salt and pepper shouldn’t just be used with proteins - be liberal with your seasoning when cooking veg. Cauliflower and broccoli, in particular, will benefit from roughly ground black pepper.
Practicing your vegetable preparation makes all the difference when you are cooking your vegan meal. Beautifully prepped veg will make your food look good and taste delicious - and it might even help you persuade your friends to try the vegan way of life.
Article courtesy of Jane Sandwood
Picture courtesy of Conscious - Design