How to Steam Vegetables

steamed asparagus

Learning how to steam vegetables, like asparagus, is a healthy way to cook your veggies.

There are many ways to prepare vegetables. But steaming them is a great way to prepare simple, clean-tasting vegetables in a very short time. One of the reasons I love steaming my vegetables is that it’s especially helpful if you want to get to know how a vegetable tastes in its most simple, pure form. Here are some simple instructions on how to steam vegetables.

How to Steam Vegetables

Steaming takes 5-10 minutes for green leafy vegetables, and 10-25 minutes for roots. All you need is a steaming basket and a pot with a lid filled with about two inches of water.

Steamers come in a variety of forms. The stainless steel fold-up variety fits inside a pot to keep the vegetables above water. You can find these baskets in most grocery stores, and they are very inexpensive. Or you can find a pot that is made for steaming. These pots are made with holes in the bottom for steaming over another pot of water.

To steam your vegetables:

  • Wash the vegetables and chop them into bite sized pieces (the smaller the size, the faster they will cook).
  • Bring water to a boil and drop the steaming basket in the water.
  • Add the vegetables to the pot.
  • Cover the pot and the steam vegetables over the water for until they become bright in color.
  • Taste them and decide if they’re cooked enough for you. You can cook them longer if you prefer. (I like my vegetables nearly raw, but my husband likes them over cooked. We compromise and eat them a little beyond raw.)
  • Take the vegetables out of the pot and splash cool water over them so they’ll stop cooking.
  • Serve.

How to Make Plain Steamed Vegetables More Exciting

While it’s nice to eat a plain vegetable to get a sense of what it really tastes like, most of the time you’ll want to season your dish. These ideas can be applied to any vegetable you steam:

  • Add 1 tablespoon olive oil or toasted sesame oil to every 2 cups of greens.
  • Add 2 bay leaves or 1 teaspoon cumin seeds to the water to infuse the vegetables with flavor.
  • Sprinkle greens with seeds (pumpkin, sesame, or sunflower seeds), almonds, or walnuts.
  • Sprinkle greens with fresh herbs like mint, dill, basil, parsley, or cilantro.
  • Use tamari soy sauce or umeboshi vinegar to add extra flavor.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice over them.
  • After steaming them, quickly stir-fry the vegetables in olive oil with a pinch of sea salt.

That is all there is to it. Serve them with a piece of grilled fish or chicken and you’ve got a nutritious and delicious dinner that didn’t take much time to prepare. So, now that you know how to steam vegetables, get cooking!

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