The Vegetable Revolution: The New Techniques That Chefs Are Using to Cook Vegetables

Hear that ruckus? It’s the sound of sweet carrots and baby lettuces storming the menus at some of the world’s best restaurants. Their co-conspirators? Big-deal chefs like Rene Redzepi and April Bloomfield, who are celebrating produce with a reverence formerly reserved for Wagyu beef. They’re turning ingredients that used to be side dishes into centerpieces (even if it does involve some pork now and then–it’s not a vegetarian revolution). For the ideas, tips, and recipes that prove there’s never been a better time to eat your vegetables, see the whole feature here.

How chefs are preparing veggies of the moment–and how you can, too:

Radishes: Roast Them

It’s the new standard in radish preparation: Jonathan Berube of Portland, Oregon’s Radar cooks them in butter until softened and finishes with flaky sea salt.


Kale and Hearty Greens: Grill Them

Amanda Cohen of NYC’s Dirt Candy tosses greens with oil and salt, then piles them high on a hot grill (some touch the grates, some don’t) until just wilted.


Jerusalem Artichokes: Shave Them

At Cambridge, Massachusetts’s West Bridge, Matthew Gaudet loves raw Jersualem artichokes (a.k.a. sunchokes) for the sweet crunch they add.


Atera’s Charred Leeks

Charring food may be trendy, “but it’s been around for centuries,” says chef Matthew Lightner of New York’s Atera. He uses a grill to “transform” leeks so they’re blackened on the outside, juicy and sweet within.



Vegetables Need Butchers, Too

A dice is nice, but to get the most out of their veg, chefs are putting as much thought into how they cut them as to how they’re served. These are three of our favorite techniques. (We love the Paderno Tri-Blade Spiral Vegetable Slicer, $27;

1. Crosshatch: Chef Justin Yu of Houston’s Oxheart takes a page out of the meat playbook when approaching broccoli. “There are so many fibers in the stem that it tightens up when you apply heat,” he says. Yu halves the stalk lengthwise, then marks a crosshatch pattern with a knife for even cooking. The method works best for roasting, when the broccoli can caramelize all over. It helps when frying and steaming, too.

2. Cut Coins: At Chicago’s Lula Cafe, chef Jason Hammel shaves asparagus crosswise into superthin medallions. “It’s a texture thing,” he says. The asparagus takes on a “lightly crunchy, sweet, water chestnut quality to it that you don’t get when you cook it.” After the asparagus is shaved, dress it with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. “Spiralizing zucchini twists the taste and texture so far out of context that it’s almost like you have a whole new vegetable,” says Dirt Candy’s Amanda Cohen. “It’s a nice trick.”


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