Whether served raw or cooked, vegetables are excellent sources of vital nutrients for our bodies to function properly. Each vegetable provides something different so, as with any food, its a good idea to have variety to gain the maximum nutritional benefits as well as experience the many flavors and textures out there. One of the best ways to cook vegetables easily and still retain the color, texture, flavor and nutrients is to steam them. If you don’t have a steamer, you can simply use a saucepan on your stovetop or your microwave and achieve the same results.
To steam on the stovetop, you will need a large cooking pot and a steamer basket or collander that fits inside. Fill the pot with enough water to touch the bottom of the colander or steamer basket. Once the water comes to a boil, add vegetables and loosely cover to let the steam escape. You can even add some herbs to the cooking water for added flavor and aroma. When steaming in the microwave, place your vegetables in a microwave-safe bowl, add a few tablespoons of water, cover with microwave safe plastic wrap, leaving one corner open to vent.
All vegetables have different cooking times depending on their size and thickness, but most take no more than a few minutes. For the more commonly steamed vegetables, refer to the following chart:
|Vegetable||Stovetop Steam Time||Microwave Steam Time|
|Asparagus||4-6 minutes depending on thickness (will be darker color when done)||4-6 minutes depending on thickness (will be darker color when done)|
|Broccoli||5 minutes (will be darker color when done)||3-5 minutes (will be darker color when done)|
|Brussel sprouts||10 minutes||7 minutes|
|Carrots||Sliced ¼” thick 6-8 minutes||Sliced ¼” thick 5 minutes|
|Cauliflower||6 minutes||3-4 minutes|
|Green Beans||5 minutes||3-4 minutes|
|Peas||3 minutes||1-2 minutes|
|Zucchini||6-7 minutes||6-8 minutes|