Steaming Broccoli In The Microwave Is A Time-Saver

Microwaves aren't just for reheating leftovers and bringing lukewarm coffee back to life. They are actually super useful gadgets for cooking ingredients from scratch. Plus, you save yourself the need to keep an eye on an additional burner while you cook up the rest of your meal, and you don't have to scrub another pot clean afterward. It only takes a few minutes and minimal prep work to get a big serving of veggies ready.

Cut a head of fresh broccoli and peeled stems into bite-sized pieces, or just grab a bag of frozen florets. Place them in a microwave-safe bowl and add about ¼ cup water per pound of broccoli. Cover with a plate or lid that is also microwave-safe, then zap the dish for three to four minutes or until the broccoli is done to your liking. Use caution when removing the covering, because the steam will be extremely hot. Use a strainer to separate the cooked broccoli from any remaining water or simply lift the pieces out of the bowl with a slotted spoon.

Dress it up or keep it simple!

Vibrant green, crisp-tender broccoli is a perfect simple side dish with just salt and pepper and a little bit of olive oil or butter. If you'd like, finish it with some grated parmesan or nutritional yeast for a little richness. Enjoy steamed broccoli alongside seared steak, pork chops, salmon, and rotisserie chicken, or vegetarian mains like this sesame-peanut tempeh bowl. Straightforward steamed broccoli is also a great way to stretch leftovers when you don't have quite enough left to make a satisfying meal. You can easily bulk up takeaway sesame chicken, fettuccine alfredo, butter paneer, macaroni and cheese, or pad Thai.

Microwave-steamed broccoli is delightful when tossed in a vinaigrette. Use a drizzle of your favorite store-bought salad dressing or make your own. Try combing Dijon mustard, lemon juice, honey, and olive oil for something bright and fresh, or rice vinegar, soy sauce, gochujang, and sesame oil for savory and umami flavors.

What other vegetables can you steam in the microwave?

You can steam pretty much any vegetable in the microwave using the same technique. For the most consistent cooking, make sure all of the pieces are fairly uniform. Green beans, snap peas, asparagus, carrots, radishes, turnips, winter squash, baby potatoes, bok choy, spinach, chard, and kale are all good candidates for steaming in a covered bowl in the microwave. Whole regular and sweet potatoes can be steamed skin-on without water and a dish — just give them a few pricks with a fork or the point of a knife first.

The firmer the vegetable and the larger the pieces, the longer it will take to cook. Spuds will take around seven minutes or so, while leafy greens will be done in about three minutes. For this reason, it is important to cook just one type of vegetable at a time, or at least create a mix of veggies that all have a similar texture. For example, shucked corn and peas could be steamed in one go, but a mix of cauliflower and zucchini would definitely require different cooking times.