There are two things steamed vegetables need to contend with. First, there’s the misconception that they’re banal and tasteless. Second, not everyone knows how to properly steam vegetables thus perpetuating the humdrum reputation. I learned with the So You Think You Can Hard Boil Egg
post’s popularity that it’s dangerous to assume aptitude when it comes to cooking. Since we’re often alone, when cooking, it’s easy to do things in an inefficient or incorrect way for years. Every time I take a cooking class I realize this. So if you’re ending up with tasteless mush, you may be over steaming or under seasoning. Don’t jump ship, the benefits of steaming vegetables are higher nutrient retention than many other cooking methods and a very versatile product.
I steam my vegetables in an All Clad steamer basket with a perforated bottom and lid.
|realize that the lid isn’t shown, my lid is steel clear would be better
You can also use a bamboo steamer, here the vegetables are stacked. It’s sort of the cooking equivalent of apartment living. I would suggest lining these baskets with parchment to avoid sticking.
Another option is the collapsible basket, they key here is to make sure the vegetables are above the water level and that the basket can be easily removed from the pot.
And you can steam in a pan with very little water, I do this with asparagus.
Despite my appliance addiction (Vitamix, juicer, Nespresso) I don’t see the need for a stand-alone steamed and while it’s also possible to microwave steam but I haven’t experimented with that method
Fill the pot with one to two inches of water. You don’t want the water to evaporate while steaming and burn your pot (good to check if steaming longer-cooking veggies). I start with filtered tap water. It’s fun to experiment adding herbs such as thyme, rosemary to the water or throw in a chunk of peeled ginger, pickle juice, wine, citrus and citrus zest though not necessarily all at once. Let the water come to a boil at medium high heat before starting to steam the vegetables.
Fill the steamer with vegetables, you can stack even in a single basket but don’t over pack it. Spring vegetables are so good right now you don’t need to sauté or roast them, steaming is perfect
Artichokes take 30 minutes or a few more. Wash, slice off the top half-inch and use a kitchen scissors to snip any sharp points on the outer leaves.
Broccoli 5 to 7 minutes, for some reason cauliflower a drop longer
Sweet potatoes 7 minutes
String beans and sugar snap peas are pretty quick and take less than 5 minutes
Steam greens kale takes 5 to 7 minutes, softer greens like spinach are done in a few minutes.
If steaming more than 1 vegetable add carrots or artichokes or the ones that take longer first and quicker cookers later.
Vegetables are cooked when they are fork tender. Sprinkle vegetables with Himalayan salt and if you’re eating right away toss with coconut oil, a sliver of pastured butter or chili oil. Otherwise, store extra vegetables and use in omelets, grain dishes, salads, purees or soups. Firmer vegetables like broccoli and snap peas are great for a snack. With so many foods out there that are processed or “too exciting”, sometimes basic, unadulterated ingredients are best. It’s sort of the food equivalent of the white button down shirt. Even if you haven’t worn a white button down in a while, it’s always good to own one.
Do you steam vegetables at home? What method do you use? What are your favorite vegetables to steam? Ever tried an artichoke? Delicious.