Get Your Veggie On

Steaming is one of the healthiest ways to prepare vegetables. It helps keep them fresh-tasting and crisp -- plus, steaming makes vegetables easier to digest than when served raw. Steaming also helps lock in nutrients rather than cooking them away during longer and more intense preparation methods such as boiling or roasting.

Steamed broccoli

Little (to no) equipment necessary

All you really need is a pot or a pan with enough space for your vegetable of choice; however, steamer pots and baskets are relatively inexpensive and handy tools to have in the kitchen.

How to steam your veggies

The process of steaming vegetables is simple. The trick is in the timing: The larger the vegetable, the longer the cook time. So, if you're steaming a vegetable for the first time, keep a close eye on its progress to avoid overcooking.

Steam vegetables in a few easy steps:

  1. Heat a large pot or pan on high or medium-high heat.
  2. Add the vegetables and one to two tablespoons of water to the heated pot.
  3. Cover the pot and let the vegetables cook for several minutes.
  4. If your vegetables do not reach the desired consistency before the water evaporates, add one more tablespoon of water, replace the cover, and cook just a little while longer.

standard cook times

  • Steam asparagus for five to eight minutes, depending on the size of the stalk.
  • Broccoli florets typically steam in five to six minutes.
  • Carrots can take anywhere from five to 15 minutes, depending on size.
  • Green beans steam in four to six minutes.
  • Potatoes sliced in 1/2-inch wedges steam in 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Spinach steams quickly-- usually in two to three minutes.

Serving ideas

Though steamed vegetables are flavorful and great on their own, here are a few serving suggestions to try throughout the week:

  • Prepare brown rice, quinoa or barley in vegetable stock; add margarine and a sprinkle of Parmesan to the cooked grains and top with steamed vegetables.
  • Drizzle a little bit of your favorite vinaigrette over steamed greens, asparagus, green beans or broccoli.
  • Dress with just a sprinkle of olive oil, garlic and cracked black pepper.
  • Finally... Who can resist steamed vegetables served with a little melted cheese?

Kids & veggies

How children like their veggies cooked

Kids and veggies: It's often a love/hate relationship. You love them; they hate them. Maybe the key is in the preparation. A new Dutch study finds that crunchiness counts.

More steamed veggie ideas

How to cook without fat
Steamed Ribbons of Vegetables
Steamed Spinach With Sesame Seeds

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Comments

Comments on "How to steam your favorite vegetables"

Katie February 08, 2013 | 5:57 PM

Great tips - thanks for this! I've heard that steaming veggies keeps the nutritional value as opposed to cooking them or frying them.

Meagan December 19, 2012 | 11:54 AM

I cook fresh vegies nightly for my family, but I am always winging it when it comes to cook-times and what equipment is essential. Thank you for boiling down the information - really helpful! We especially love our steamed vegies (mushrooms, peppers, broccoli) over quinoa or brown rice with a little Spanish cheese on top. Super yummy!

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