The Best Vegetables for Braising
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.