The Best Vegetables for Braising

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Meat usually gets all the attention when discussing braising since it undergoes such dramatic changes during the process. Vegetables are often used to boost flavor while braising meat, but they can do more than play sidekick! Braised vegetables can be just as satisfying as meat, and they usually cook in a fraction of the time.

Here’s a list of great vegetables for braising to spark some creative ideas for your next vegetable braise!

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

1. Beans and Legumes

Good for braising: Any dried beans and legumes, from chickpeas to lentils, that have to cook in liquid are made for braising. Fresh beans like green beans and Romano beans also make delicious braises in a welcome change from the way they are normally served crisp-tender.

2. Root Vegetables

Good for braising: Carrots are usually the vegetable thrown into meat braises, but try some of these other root vegetables: beets, kohlrabi, potatoes, radishes, rutabaga, sweet potatoes and turnips.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

3. Cooking Greens

Good for braising: Virtually all cooking greens work well in braises. Try cabbage, chard, collard greens, kale or spinach.

4. Hearty Lettuces

Good for braising: Crisp lettuces work best in braises. Endive, escarole, iceberg, romaine and radicchio are all good candidates.

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

5. Celery Family

Good for braising: Celery and fennel and the hollow-stemmed plants that are full of flavor but also absorb braising liquid well while staying relatively crisp.

6. Onion Family

Good for braising: All onions (regular, pearl, cipollini) turn lucscious and sweet in a braise. Leeks and shallots are in the same family and also make great braises.

7. Thistle Family

Good for braising: Artichokes and cardoons are part of the thistle family and their pungent flavors mellow out in a braise.

  • Braised Cardoons
(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

8. Summer Vegetables

Good for braising: Of course you can braise in the summer, not all vegetables should be only eaten raw! Try braising bell peppers, eggplant and tomatoes.

(Image credit: Vanessa Barrington)

9. Winter Squash

Good for braising: All winter squashes work well in a hearty braise. They stand up to slow cooking similarly to root vegetables and add a nice sweetness and starch that can help thicken up the sauce. Experiment with butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkin, or kabocha squash.

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