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How to shop for, prepare and cook healthy vegetables.

Guide to Cooking 20 VegetablesIf you want more fiber, nutrients and antioxidants in your diet—eat more vegetables! We know it’s tough to expand your vegetable vocabulary when you don’t know how to cook unfamiliar varieties, so we’ve compiled this cooking guide for 20 of our favorite vegetables. Here are some grocery shopping tips, quick and easy preparation techniques and cooking methods to bring out the flavor of each vegetable.

Start with 1 pound untrimmed raw vegetables.

1. Artichokes, Baby

Look for: Tight, small heads without browning or bruising.

Prep: Snip off tough outer leaves; cut off top quarter and trim off woody stem.

Braise: Heat 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet; add baby artichokes and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup each white wine (or dry vermouth) and water and 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or rosemary or tarragon). Bring to a simmer; cover, reduce heat and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.

Grill: Halve artichokes, scoop out the choke if necessary, then toss with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt. Preheat grill. Place the artichokes over direct, medium-high heat and cook, turning once or twice, until tender, about 8 minutes.

Microwave: Place artichokes in a large glass pie pan or baking dish, add 1⁄2 cup white wine (or dry vermouth), 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon dried thyme. Cover tightly and microwave on High until tender, about 8 minutes.

Steam: Place artichokes in a steamer basket over 2 inches of water in a large pot set over high heat. Cover and steam until tender, about 15 minutes.

2. Asparagus

Look for: Sturdy spears with tight heads; the cut ends should not look desiccated or woody. Fresh asparagus should snap when bent.

Prep: Trim off stem ends; shave down any woody bits with a vegetable peeler.

Braise: Place a large skillet over high heat. Add asparagus, 1⁄2 cup water and a slice of lemon. Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

Grill: Preheat grill; lightly oil rack. Place asparagus over direct, medium heat; cook until browned, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes.

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