The Simple Way To Cook More Vegetables, According To Yotam Ottolenghi And Noor Murad - Exclusive

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We all know that plant-based products are one of the biggest stories in the food world in recent years. Eating less meat is good for the environment and might be viewed as an ethical choice by those who are concerned about animal welfare. However, if the plant-based revolution has been slow in coming to your own dinner table, you're not alone. The traditional way of eating in America, as in many other places, often puts animal protein at the center of the plate. If you're used to eating very few vegetables, it can be hard to break out of that paradigm and start adding variety to your meals.

If you're looking to make veggies a bigger part of your diet, it would be hard to find better guides for your plant-based explorations than the talented cooks at Ottolenghi Test Kitchen (OTK). The test kitchen makes recipes based on the philosophy of its founder, chef and cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi. Although animal protein makes its way into some OTK recipes, the emphasis is on creating exciting and nourishing dishes with vegetables. According to Ottolenghi, "Vegetables are these incredible things that you can manipulate and play with and transform through cooking, way more than anything else."

In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, Yotam Ottolenghi and the head chef of OTK, Noor Murad, shared their tips for transforming yourself from a carnivore to an omnivore.

Seek out the veggies that you enjoy

Eating vegetables shouldn't be a chore — so don't eat veggies that you despise just because you think you have to. As Noor Murad told us, "Find veggies that you actually enjoy eating, because there's no point forcing yourself to eat something you don't like." If you eat more of the veggies you love, you'll naturally want to eat less meat. "Once you do start switching and eating a bit more veg, you start craving it, because your body is also loving it too. Slowly, you can explore more things and find what you love," she explained.

It's fine to take baby steps. Per Yotam Ottolenghi, "[For] people who like meat, rather than saying, 'Don't eat meat,' it's fine not to give it up cold turkey or say, 'I'm going fully-fledged vegetarian.' Have a robust, flavorsome vegetable on the side that could take center stage." He recommends his recipe for black beans and rice with jammy peppers as a vegetarian dish that's hearty and savory enough that it could satisfy meat lovers. "With all that together, you don't crave anything else."

"Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Extra Good Things" is in bookstores now. You can buy it on Amazon.