Ina Garten Knows The Secret To Getting You To Eat Your Vegetables

Image by Cameron Whitman / Stocksy

Ina Garten wants to make it easy for you to eat your vegetables. The world's most famous home cook has spent years in professional kitchens watching people working and figuring out how to translate those skills into useful, approachable advice for anyone who dabbles in the kitchen. Her new book, Cook Like a Pro, is dedicated to just that—recipes that work every single time (an Ina signature) mixed with tips that will take home cooking to the next level.

"We feel better when we feel like we're doing it right," she told mbg in an exclusive interview. "Corn is a good example—if you cut the kernels off the cob, they bounce all over the kitchen, but if you take a half sheet pan and put a kitchen towel on it, they don't bounce, and you can pick up the kitchen towel and pour it into a bowl or into a saute pan."

Her genius trick for Brussels sprouts turns the seasonal staple from an annoying time suck (slicing in half all of those tiny cabbages!) into a quick and easy weeknight side dish. "Take the Brussels sprouts and put them in the feed tube of the food processor fitted with the slicing blade," she said. "And you'll very quickly have shredded Brussels sprouts that you can just saute in a pan with a little olive oil and salt. You're not wasting food, either, because you're eating the cores (which are normally too woody to consume, and discarded as such)."

When Garten needs an even faster dinner, she'll go for a twist on a wellness classic. "If I have 10 minutes or less, I'll make avocado toast with a poached or fried egg on top," she said. The egg adds enough protein to make it a filling, dinner-worthy dish, and the whole 'recipe' still only requires a few staple ingredients and minimal cooking skills—which is exactly what Garten's about. She was a pioneer in empowering home cooks to make elevated, delicious food and even recognizes that sometimes, that'll include store-bought ingredients.

"I think that there's a balance between the amount of time something takes to make and what the payoff is. I use Rao's tomato sauce, and I really love it," she said. She's also a fan of repurposing foods to make new and exciting dishes with little effort. "You can make pasta sauce into tomato soup if you want to. I did a tomato and eggplant soup that I made into pasta sauce, which you then bake. Make things that can become something else. It doesn't interest me to have the same thing two days in a row."


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