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Blanching Green Vegetables

Blanching green vegetables brings out a vibrant bright green color and lets it stay that way much longer than without blanching.

Pot of simmering water with green beans showing how blanching green vegetables keeps the color vibrant green.

The blanching technique is demonstrated with green beans, but the process is the same for other vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables will eventually lose the vibrant green after you have cooked them (grilled, sauteed, roasted), but will usually last through the meal. Blanching is also helpful when planning a dinner ahead or preparing food for the week and can be done 1–3 days ahead. Green beans, broccoli, leafy greens all do well with the blanching technique.

Par-cooking is done the same way, but the vegetables are boiled a little longer. Par-cooking is useful when you just want to heat through when the rest of the dinner is ready. The only thing that changes between blanching and par-cooking is the amount of time to submerge vegetables in the boiling water. When you are ready, you can eat them as is or heat through up with the desired flavors for your dish.

Vegetables with their natural vibrant colors are much more appealing and more likely to be enjoyed. Blanching even works when you want to roast or grill. In this scenario you get the best of both worlds. The blanching will get the pretty vibrant green and the roasting or grilling will caramelize a little bringing out the sweetness and nuttiness of vegetables. Blanched and par-cooked vegetables topped with pesto or drizzled with a citrus dressing make for a great side dish. Blanched vegetables without additional cooking are also wonderful for appetizer trays with dips.

Pot of simmering water with green beans showing how blanching green vegetables keeps the color vibrant green.

Blanching & Par-cooking Green Vegetables Technique

Blanching green vegetables brings out a vibrant bright green color and lets it stay that way much longer than without blanching.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 11 minutes
Course: Side
Cuisine: American, French, Mediterranean
Diet: SOS Free, Vegan, WFPB

Tools Used in this Recipe

  • stock pot or large (5-8qt) Dutch Oven
  • salad spinner
  • lint-free towel
  • Chef Knife
  • Cutting Board

Instructions

  • Fill stock pot about half way to a third full with water. Put on your hottest burner on high heat and bring to boil.
  • Meanwhile, wash the vegetables. For green beans, cut the tips after blanching so as not to get too much water in the bean. For Brussels sprouts, cut in half or quarters after blanching so they don't get to much water.
  • Place in the boiling water for about 1 minute (until the vegetables turn to a bright green hue).
  • Meanwhile, fill the salad spinner bowl with filtered water ice; put the strainer bowl back in the spinner bowl.
  • When the vegetables are bright green and the texture you want, pull them out and place in the ice bath bowl.
  • After about 1 minute or less, drain the water and spin dry the vegetables.
  • Pull out and place on a lint-free towel to further remove excess water.
  • Roll up in towel and allow the towel to absorb the excess water.
  • At this point, you can cut the vegetables as desired or store in refrigerator until needed.
  • At this point, you can cut the vegetables as desired or store in refrigerator until needed.

Notes

Green Beans, Brussells Sprouts Broccoli, Sugar Snap Peas: 1-2 minutes for blanching and 2-6 minutes for par cooking. Generally the fresher and smaller they are the shorter the time Cut the tips off after blanching process is complete to avoid over watering inside the beans.
Leafy Greens like Spinach Kale, Mustard Greens, Swiss Chard, Collard Greens: 30 seconds to 1 minute for blanching and 1–8 minutes for par-cooking.