Do You Lose All the Vitamins When You Boil Your Vegetables?
You may have heard that boiling vegetables destroys all the vitamins in them. The truth is not that bad. First, I don’t think it is a good idea to boil vegetables until they are mush and inedible. Not only do over-cooked vegetables look bad, their taste doesn’t resemble the real taste of the vegetable.
In reality, cooking vegetables in boiling or simmering water does make some water-soluble vitamins leach from the vegetables cooking into the cooking water, but on the other (and positive) side, heat also makes some vitamins, in particular carotenoid in carrots, more bio-available (being able to be absorbed and used by the body) during the digestion process.
Here are some other articles on this subject:
So, the news isn’t all bad.
Why not put back those ‘lost’ vitamins into the recipe again?
The water soluble vitamins get leached from the vegetables and lost into the cooking water, but they are not all ‘lost’. In fact, by using a simple cooking trick, you can save some of those precious vitamins C and B by reusing some of them in the cooking process by adding the vitamin rich vegetable broth back into the recipe.
In this recipe I took some of the vegetable broth after the vegetables were cooked to add to the sauce. I also used the same water to cook the pasta, with some of the vitamin enriched water infusing into the pasta. Good for the environment too!
Check out the recipe below for my easy Pasta Primavera recipe. And keep reading for some other ways to preserve vitamins while cooking.
Other meal ideas to keep vitamins in your food dishes:
- Make vegetable soup and blend the soup directly in the pot with a hand-held mixer.
- Preserve the cooked vegetable water to use later for vegetable broths, soups or adding to dishes in place of tap water. If not using the water immediately, put in a separate bowl and keep covered in the refrigerator for up to two days, or put in the freezer.
- Simmer your vegetables rather than boiling at high temperatures.
- Some softer vegetables, such as zucchini and peas can be blanched (cooked for two minutes in boiling water) and cooked further in a sauce.
- Do not add baking soda or Vichy water to vegetables when cooking. (A chefs trick to make the vegetables more colorful). Sodium Bicarbonate (active ingredient in baking soda and Vichy water) can enhance the vitamin loss process and in particular, vitamins B and C are leached out quicker than by cooking with regular water.
My Easy To Make Vitamin Rich Pasta Primavera Recipe
- 1 head of broccoli, washed and separated into florets
- 4 medium-sized carrots peeled and cut into 1/2 inch circles
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 vegetable bouillon cube
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and added salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup for sauce, 1/4 cup for serving on the side)
- 3/4 pound spaghetti, linguine or pasta of your choice
- optional: sprinkle of fresh parsley or basil for garnish
- Fill a large cooking pot on stove 3/4 of the way with water and heat pot until water is boiling gently. Do not add salt.
- When water is ready, add broccoli and carrots and lower temperature to medium to cook vegetables with a just higher than simmering water.
- Prepare sauce. In a separate large sauté pan, heat the pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.
- When olive oil is hot (do not allow to burn), add minced garlic and chopped onions. Lower heat slightly and sauté onion/garlic mixture until onions are transparent, about 3 minutes.
- Add tomatoes to onions, (be careful of spritzing oil when you put tomatoes in pan) and stir for a few minutes until tomatoes start to soften. Turn off the heat.
- Test the broccoli and carrots cooking in the other pan. Carrots take longer to cook. Stick a knife into one of the carrots to see if they are soft (not mushy). When carrots are just starting to get soft it is time to move to the next step.
- With a large slotted spoon and an empty bowl, remove all the carrots and broccoli from the boiling water and place them into the empty bowl.
- With a large measuring cup, remove 1 and 1/2 cups of broth from the cooking vegetable water. Add the half cube of vegetable bouillon to the hot broth and let this sit for a minute.
- Put 1/2 teaspoon of salt into the boiling water and increase the temperature so the water is boiling vigorously.
- Add the pasta (spaghetti/linguine or another type) into the boiling water. Then continue to make the vegetable sauce.
- Reheat the tomato mixture and add the carrots and broccoli from the bowl into the sauce pan.
- Add the broth and lower temperature to just simmering. Mix the sauce thoroughly and check the pasta.
- When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it well and add pasta immediately to the vegetable sauce.
- Mix the pasta into the vegetable sauce well, covering all the pasta with the sauce. Add Parmesan cheese and mix again. Give a good twist or two of freshly ground pepper, adjust for salt. Add an optional garnish of fresh herbs .
- Serve immediately at the table with a side bowl of grated Parmesan cheese for those who want to top their pasta with extra cheese.
Hope you enjoyed this recipe and cooking tip to preserve more vitamins in your cooking and food. I greatly appreciate you sharing this article and would love your feedback.
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