More Than Just Cauliflower: How to Cook Whole Vegetables

Cauliflower is, arguably, one of the most versatile vegetables. It can be everything from wings to sauce to a delicious roast centerpiece, but it’s not the only vegetable that can take pride of place in the middle of the plate. Just like cauliflower, several vegetables can be cooked whole. There’s the cruciferous vegetable’s green cousin, for example, broccoli, as well as cabbage, eggplant, and another vegan roast favorite, squash. Below, we’ve picked out some of our favorite whole vegetable recipes for you to try next. Sorry cauli, but you’ve got some seriously delicious competition.

Why cook vegetables whole?

Cooking vegetables whole comes with many benefits. Firstly, it may help to retain more of their nutrients. When vegetables are cut into smaller pieces, more surface area is exposed to heat and air, which may lead to nutrient loss through oxidation and leaching. But it’s also a good choice flavor-wise—By cooking the vegetable in its entirety, its natural flavors are preserved and intensified.

It’s also relatively simple, as there’s no need to spend time chopping and slicing, and arguably, it looks better. During the holidays or on special occasions, whole vegetables look impressive and visually appealing in the middle of the table.

How to cook vegetables whole: 8 vegan recipes to try

Check out some of our delicious vegan recipes below.

Sara Kiyo Popowa 

1 Roasted Sweet Basil Squash With Wild Rice and Mustard Greens Salad

From the Mind Food: Plant-Based Recipes for Positive Mental Health cookbook, this recipe perfectly demonstrates how delicious, and show-stopping, a simple onion squash can be. It’s slow-roasted with tamari, maple syrup, ginger, garlic, and lime, and then served with a tasty wild rice salad.
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VegNews.BroccoliSteaksMicah Siva

2 Vegan Za’atar-Seared Broccoli Steaks

Cauliflower steaks are a popular choice for many, but broccoli deserves the spotlight in this area, too. Once you’ve tried these za’atar-seared vegan steaks by Nosh with Micah, we can confidently say you’ll firmly be on the side of broccoli. For a truly succulent dish, serve with yogurt, hazelnuts, and olive oil.
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VegNews.StuffedSquashRoastSimon Smith

3 Vegan Stuffed Squash Roast With Cranberry-Orange Sauce

If the first squash recipe didn’t convince you, then this one Gaz Oakley’s Vegan Christmas cookbook certainly will. It looks great, is easy to cook, and tastes delicious, largely thanks to the added cranberry-orange sauce. It might be a festive recipe, but there’s no reason why you can’t wheel this dish out on any special occasion that takes your fancy.
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Vegan.SizzlingZucchiniTzatzikiLauren Lovatt

4 Vegan Sizzling Zucchini With Creamy Tzatziki and Vinegary Chimichurri

If you weren’t sure if zucchini could be an elegant centerpiece, this recipe, again from the Mind Food: Plant-Based Recipes for Positive Mental Health cookbook, is all the proof you need. It’s perfect for date night, especially when drizzled with plenty of chimichurri and served with tzatziki on the side.
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VegNews.EggplantHotDog3Nadine Horn and Jörg Mayer

5 Smoky Grilled Eggplant Vegan Ballpark Hot Dogs

Yep, whole vegetables can be great comfort food, too. These smoky grilled eggplant hot dogs from VBQ: The Ultimate Vegan Barbecue Cookbook are the perfect snack for game day. Load them up with plenty of sauerkraut, ketchup, and mustard, just like you would a regular hot dog.
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VegNews.roastedcabbage.epicuriousEpicurious

6 Whole Roasted Cabbage With Grapefruit and Campari Salsa

We promise this charred, whole-roasted cabbage looks as good as it tastes. But while it may look impressive, it’s pretty easy to pull together. The cabbage is boiled and blanched before it is roasted for over an hour. The resulting flavor is delicious and perfect with the accompanying grapefruit and Campari salsa.
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VegNews.BlackBeanStuffedSweetPotatoesHannah Sunderani

7 Black Bean-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With Coconut Sour Cream and Guacamole

As well as cauliflower, sweet potatoes are another popular vegetable that often gets cooked whole. And it’s not surprising. When baked, sweet potatoes have a tender creamy texture, as well as a pleasant caramelized flavor. While delicious on their own with a slab of vegan butter, they’re arguably even better when stuffed with black beans and loaded with coconut sour cream and guacamole.
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VegNews.MisoMustardTempeh2Alexandra Shytsman

8 Miso-Mustard Tempeh With Roasted Baby Bok Choy

In this flavor-packed recipe, the baby bok choy is cut in half, but it remains intact during the cooking process, so we think it counts as being cooked whole. Preparing the vegetable this way allows it to retain its structure and develop a tender yet crispy texture. Once you’ve tried it, you won’t want to cook it any other way.
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For more plant-based recipes, read:

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