Recipe Staples: Best Recipes for a New Cook?

Recipe Staples: Best Recipes for a New Cook?

Emma Christensen
Feb 23, 2009

We often get asked what recipe we recommend for someone just starting out cooking. They're eager and nervous, and we want to encourage as best we can! We have our own ideas about what's best to recommend - what are yours?

When a new home cook asks us where to start, we fall back on the two recipes that were our own introduction to cooking: homemade tomato sauce with pasta and veggie stir-fry with rice.

Both of these recipes rely on the same basic cooking method of sautéing vegetables, which we think is one of the best techniques a new cook can learn. They're also both endlessly adaptable to personal tastes, what's in the refrigerator, and what's in season. What's more, they're easy, quick, and satisfying.

You can also start jazzing them up the more you learn and grow! You can make different sauces or experiment with seasonings. You can start adding meat and looking for ways to build flavor.

Here are the recipes we send them:

Basic Tomato Sauce (with optional zing!)
How to Cook Pasta
Tofu Stir-fry with Snap Peas and Mushrooms
Spicy Broccoli and Tofu Stir-fry
How to Cook Rice on the Stove

What recipes would you recommend for new cooks?

Related: Good Question: Stocking a New Kitchen

(Images: Emma Christensen, Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, and Faith Durand for the Kitchn)

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