Cook Smarts’ List of Quick-Prep Vegetables

Save time in the kitchen and enjoy veggie-filled meals with our printable Veggie Prep Chart! Perfect for when you need healthy food on the table, quick.

  • By Taylor Isaac
  • January 15, 2018

For many of us, prepping vegetables is more like wrestling than chopping, which makes it feel daunting and time-consuming. Even if you do have excellent knife skills and know how to properly prep a variety of veggies, standing over a pile of produce is probably the last thing you want to do at the end of the day.

But vegetables are essential to a healthy lifestyle. They’re packed full of the nutrients we need to feel, look and perform our best, which means they’re pretty much non-negotiable. Luckily, what is negotiable is how much time we need to spend prepping them.

Cook faster at home without losing essential nutrients by incorporating quick-prep vegetables into your meals. Tweet this tip

To help you save time and eat healthier, we’ve put together a brand new infographic of quick-prep vegetables that you can download and print out for free to keep on hand in your kitchen:

We’ve broken down our list of quick-prep vegetables into two main categories: zero prep and easy prep, which we talk more about below.

Zero Prep Vegetables

When you have little to no time available for prep, the zero-prep vegetables on our list are a great place to start. These vegetables are fresh, commonly pre-chopped or frozen ingredients that are ready to cook or eat straight from the grocery store or farmer’s market.

Fresh Vegetables

The fresh vegetables in the list below require zero prep because they’re either pre-washed or can be eaten or cooked as-is without any additional chopping:

  • Salad mixes (arugula, lettuce, kale, spinach)
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Baby carrots
  • Portobello mushrooms

Pre-Chopped Vegetables

Although most vegetables require some form of prep, many of them are commonly available pre-chopped. The pre-chopped veggies below can save you time in the kitchen without compromising any nutritional integrity:

  • Broccoli, chopped into florets
  • Brussel sprouts, shaved
  • Butternut squash, cubed
  • Cabbage, sliced into coleslaw mix
  • Carrots, diced or grated
  • Cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • Cauliflower, riced
  • Celery, diced
  • Corn with husk removed
  • Onions, diced

Pre-chopped vegetables can cost a bit more, but this shortcut can pay for itself with the time saved and increased likelihood that you might actually get that dinner on the table!

Frozen Vegetables

On those evenings when you’re super busy, having frozen vegetables on hand may be the difference between getting healthy food on the table or not. And since frozen vegetables stay viable longer, they’re a great way to reduce accidental food waste when your schedule is packed. The common frozen ingredients on our list include:

  • Broccoli florets
  • Butternut squash
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Corn
  • Green beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Peas
  • Vegetable medleys

And of course, you can pre-prep and freeze your own, though frozen vegetables are often very affordable and frozen in their freshest state already.

Easy Prep Vegetables

When you have a little more time available for prep, our list of easy-prep vegetables gives you a variety of ingredients that are ready to cook in a few minutes or less, and only require simple cooking techniques.

These “easy” vegetables don’t require peeling or have soft skins that make chopping simple. And since these veggies are so easy to prep, they’re great for kids to help with! The list below are all vegetables that require minimal prep to get them ready for the table:

  • Asparagus
  • Bell peppers
  • Bok choy
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplants
  • Green beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Snow peas
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchinis

To learn how to easily prep many of the vegetables above, check out our Produce Prep Guide.

With our list of quick-prep vegetables, you’ll have a new baseline of ingredients to call on when you’re crunched for time. Print out the list to hang on your kitchen wall or refrigerator so you’ll have the tools you need to help you cook smarter and live healthier — with time to spare!

It would also really help us spread the cooking knowledge if you could pin the infographic below to Pinterest! We’re here to make dinnertime easy and less stressful, so if you would like more cooking resources, follow our Tips & Resources board or our Kitchen Genius board.


Quick-Prep Vegetables

Save time in the kitchen, cook smarter and eat healthy with these quick and easy vegetables that require zero to minimal prep.

While this infographic is intended to help you save time in the kitchen, it’s not meant to be restrictive. So if you never want to wrestle another butternut squash again, developing your knife skills will help you feel even more creative and confident in the kitchen!

What are some ways you like to incorporate quick-prep vegetables into your meals? Any quick-prep vegetables you want to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!

As always, we’re here to help you live your best life in the kitchen and provide delicious memories for you and your family. Join our cooking community by signing up for our newsletter below, and we’ll send you great cooking tips and resources that will help you raise your kitchen IQ and cook with confidence.

Cook Smarts' List of Quick-Prep Vegetables #infographic


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