It is a question that has plagued mankind (especially the chefs) for generations. Something that has caused countless hours of lost sleep and more than a little hair loss. A question that should be so simple, and yet is so complex: what vegetables are worth cooking sous vide? It’s not what you necessarily consider to be a primary target when you fire up a sous vide machine. Yet, it is a secret weapon that any sous vide veteran can wield. A way to cook delicious and crisp vegetables that will have your dinner table partners enthralled and wondering how you accomplished it.
Sure, most people get an immersion circulator or a sous vide cooker to prepare restaurant-quality steaks, tender chicken breast, or a perfectly cooked salmon, but there are a lot of foods that are the tastiest when prepared sous vide. This method of cooking is a way to transform an entire menu, not merely a technique for a single style of entree. A sous vide cooker is something that can be used to spruce up everything that’s on your plate. One of those foods that have a whole new range of flavors when prepared sous vide are vegetables. Pop your veggies into a sous vide bag and won’t turn out overcooked or mushy when ever again. This is a surprisingly simple way to make a show-stopping side dish that will have your dinner guests chewing in a state of absolute ecstasy.
Preparing Vegetables Sous Vide
Sous vide cookers (both ovens and immersion circulators) utilize precise temperature control to ensure the dish is perfectly cooked. Naturally, vegetables and meat need to be sous vide at different temperatures, so they should be prepared separately. This is a multistage cooking process, not a way to prepare an entire meal at once.
While it might come as a total surprise to you, veggies should actually be cooked at a higher temperature than meat! For most veggies, you’ll want to set your cooker to the temperature of 183 degrees Fahrenheit. The reason for this is that vegetables contain pectin, a substance you might recognize as a common thickening agent often used in the preparation of jams and jellies. This substance only breaks down at high cooking temperatures. So you’ll really have to crank up your sous vide cooker in order to prepare the ideal vegetables.
When cooked sous vide, vegetables turn out soft and tender, but without being overcooked. This is why tough, crunchy veggies are often the choice of chefs for their sous vide cookers. In a surprisingly short cooking time, you’ll get a side dish that is full of flavor, has the perfect texture and basically melts in one’s mouth. These will be unlike any veggies that have ever passed through your lips and onto your tongue.
Adding a few simple ingredients such as butter and spices will enhance the natural aroma of the vegetables and transform them from a bland mishmash to an aromatic side dish that will have everybody demanding massive piles of seconds. These veggies will taste so good, they might even overshadow the main dish!
Which Veggies Should Be Cooked Sous Vide?
It’s not only that you can sous vide vegetables, you definitely should. Once you taste the soft and flavorful veggies that can only be prepared in sous vide oven (or with an immersion circulator), you won’t go back to plain steamed or cooked vegetables ever again. They will seem plain and boring. There is no substitute to the satisfying flavor and texture that you will achieve in your vegetables once your cross the sous vide threshold.
Vegetables that are best when cooked sous vide include root vegetables (beets, carrots, potatoes, etc.), crunchy artichokes, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplants brussels sprouts, fennel, onions, and leeks (quite the list, huh?!). In fact, there is very little you can’t prepare in a sous vide cooker, and the same goes for veggies. You can even cook corn on the cob sous vide! It will be unlike any corn on the cob that you have ever experienced!
When prepared sous vide, vegetables can ideally complement the tender meat on your plate. Or even better, these veggies can be served alone as an unbelievably tasty vegan meal indistinguishable from those served in a high-end restaurant. From a green bean casserole to a creamy broccoli soup, vegetable risotto, cauliflower puree… There’s no shortage of ideas for sous vide recipes when you’re willing to get creative. It’s absolutely amazing what can be done in the kitchen with a sous vide cooker. All too often, home chefs assume that they will only ever prepare their meets sous vide. While meat is undeniably improved by sous vide cooking methods, that is just the tip of the iceberg of what can be accomplished once you embrace the magic of sous vide cooking. Don’t leave veggies out of your sous vide adventures! Once you taste your first round of sous vide vegetables, you’ll never want to go back. They truly taste that good.
Before you embark on your next culinary adventure, make sure to check out our guides to preparing vegetables sous vide! Every singe one of these recipes will transform what you thought was possible with their respective vegetables. So, try them out. You will be pleasantly surprised by the results and before you know it, you might get even more adventurous with which ingredients you decide to prepare sous vide. A sous vide cooker can transform your entire menu, if you let it. So don’t get trapped in a sous vide box. Get out there and experiment. The results will be worth all of your extra efforts!
Can You Sous Vide Beets?
Sous Vide Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Sous Vide multiple different types of vegetables at once?
Absolutely! The trick with Sous Vide vegetables is to make sure that all of your veg can be cooked at the same temperature. If you seal your vegetable types individually then you can.
How many bags can I Sous Vide at once?
This depends on both your pot size and number of clips, or if you’re using a submerged rack. The bottom line is that for Sous Vide to be effective the water has to be able to move freely around your vacuum-sealed bags. If the bags are bumping into each other then your water bath is likely too crowded.
Should I marinate/season my vegetables before Sous Vide?
Marinating prior to cooking is a must with Sous Vide. The process of gentle heat application means that marinades and rubs are massaged into your meat and veg. In short? Marinades are a must - even if as simple as salt and pepper.
Should I cut my vegetables first before Sous Vide? (Mushrooms, asparagus, etc)
Personally, I always treat my vegetables as prep. This means that I will always cut up my carrots, slice my asparagus, or dice my turnip before adding them to my water bath.