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    2. Asparagus continued...

    Microwave: Place asparagus on a glass platter or pie pan; add 1⁄4 cup water, drizzle with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, and cover tightly. Microwave on High until tender, about 3 minutes.

    Roast: Preheat oven to 500°F. Spread asparagus on a baking sheet or in a pan large enough to hold it in a single layer. Coat with 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil. Roast, turning once halfway through cooking, until wilted and browned, about 10 minutes.

    3. Beets

    Look for: Small beets with firm, dark ruby or bright orange skins.

    Prep: Peel.

    Microwave: Cut beets into 1⁄4-inch-thick rings; place in a large glass baking dish or pie pan. Add 1⁄4 cup water, cover tightly and microwave on High for 10 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes before serving.

    Roast: Preheat oven to 500°F. Cut beets into 1 1⁄2-inch chunks. Spread on a baking sheet or in a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Coat with 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil. Roast, turning once halfway through cooking, until tender, about 30 minutes.

    Sauté: Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Grate beets into the pan using the large-hole side of a box grater. Add
    1 minced garlic clove. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add 1⁄3 cup water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.

    Steam: Cut beets into quarters. Place 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.

    4. Broccoli

    Look for: Sturdy, dark-green spears with tight buds, no yellowing and a high floret-to-stem ratio.

    Prep: Cut off florets; cut stalks in half lengthwise and then into 1-inch-thick half-moons.

    Microwave: Place stems and florets in a large glass baking dish. Cover tightly and microwave on High until tender, about 4 minutes.

    Roast: Preheat oven to 500°F. Spread on a baking sheet or in a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Coat with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Roast, turning once halfway through cooking, until tender and browned in places, about 10 minutes.

    Steam: Place stems in a steamer basket over 2 inches of water (with 1 tablespoon lemon juice added to it) in a large pot set over high heat. Cover and steam for 2 minutes. Add florets; cover and continue steaming until tender, about 5 minutes more.

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