4 Ways to Cook Vegetables

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4 Ways to Cook Vegetables
4 Ways to Cook Vegetables

Steamed vegetables are a quick, nutritious choice for any dinner. There are several methods to use, but you don't need to have any special equipment to accomplish the task. To begin preparing a delicious, nutritious, and colorful meal, use a steaming basket, a pot with a lid, or a glass bowl.


Method 1 of 4: Picking and Preparing Vegetables

Steam Vegetables Step 1

Step 1. Choose the vegetables

Technically, any vegetable can be steamed, but some are better than others, and they have different cooking times. Some options that are good and are even traditional include: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, artichokes and green beans. However, if you want to make a difference, try cooking potatoes and radishes too! Below is a brief guide to the average cooking time:

  • Asparagus: seven to thirteen minutes if whole or four to seven minutes if chopped.
  • Broccoli: Branches take eight to twelve minutes and florets take five to seven.
  • Carrot: from seven to twelve minutes, depending on the size of the slices or slices.
  • Cauliflower: Rapiers take five to ten minutes.
  • Corn on the cob: seven to ten minutes.
  • Pod: from five to seven minutes.
  • Sliced ​​potatoes: eight to twelve minutes.
  • Spinach: three to five minutes.

Step 2. wash the vegetables before preparation.

Before cooking them, it is important to wash each vegetable thoroughly to remove soil, bacteria and pesticide residues. Wash them with clean, cold water and then pat them dry with a paper towel.

  • Use a clean brush to scrub thick-skinned vegetables such as potatoes and carrots.
  • Some options, like cauliflower and cabbage, have lots of nooks and crannies for dirt and bacteria. It is best to soak them in cold water for a minute or two before washing them.
  • If you like, you can use sodium hypochlorite to disinfect the food, but there is no need as it will be cooked.

Step 3. Cut or chop the vegetables if necessary

In some cases, just open the fridge, give the vegetable a quick wash and place it in the pan, but others require more preparation. Larger vegetables are ready faster if they are chopped. Also, some have stalks, seeds, leaves or hard husks that need to be removed before cooking.

  • Carrots are ready in the blink of an eye if cut into smaller pieces. The same goes for cauliflower and potatoes.
  • Some vegetables, like asparagus, need a little more preparation. In this case, it is good to cut the bottom ends (which are fibrous) and also lightly remove the husks from the thicker ones, as that way they are soft.


you don't need to peel most of them. In fact, the bark contains fiber and nutrients as well as being very tasty. Only peel vegetables that have a very hard or dirty rind.

Steam Vegetables Step 4

Step 4. Separate vegetables by cooking time

As some take longer to get ready, it's a good idea to separate them. That way, the ones that cook the fastest don't go soft while the others are still hard and raw in the middle. It's not a problem to put everything in the basket at the same time, but leave each type separate so that you can take out the ones that are ready earlier more easily.

  • For example, potatoes take much longer to cook than green beans, so it's best not to mix the two options.
  • You can speed up cooking time for denser vegetables by cutting them into smaller pieces.

Method 2 of 4: Using a Steam Cooking Basket

Step 1. Heat the water in the pan

Bring 2 cups of water to the pot over high heat. When the water starts to boil, cover the basket to increase the temperature inside.

  • You can use a steam cooker, which comes with two tiers, or you can fit a basket into an ordinary pot and cover it.
  • The amount of water depends on the size of the pot. In general, the water in the bottom pan should reach 2, 5 to 5 cm and cannot touch the vegetables in the basket.

Step 2. Place the vegetables in the basket

After the water starts to boil and steam, add the chosen and prepared vegetables. Cover the basket again and lower the heat to medium.

  • If you prepare different options, don't forget to divide them into groups. This makes it easier to take out the assorted vegetables as they get ready.
  • To protect your hands from steam, place the vegetables in a bowl instead of arranging them in the basket with your hands. It is also possible to wear gloves or a dish towel so as not to burn your skin.

Did you know?

There are several types of steam cooking pans and baskets on the market. Some have multiple compartments to facilitate the preparation of different foods.

Steam Vegetables Step 7

Step 3. Let them cook for a few minutes

After putting them in the basket, wait a few minutes without touching anything. Make sure they are on point only when the recommended minimum time is approaching.

Are you afraid of forgetting and running out of time? Schedule an alarm. For faster vegetables, start looking after three minutes

Step 4. Pierce the vegetables with a knife or fork to see if they are just right

When you think you're almost there, uncover the basket and skewer the thickest part of the vegetables with a knife or fork. If it's easy to pierce, it's almost done. If not, wait another minute or two to check again.

Smaller pieces are done more quickly and some vegetables cook soon. For example, green beans, florets cauliflower and asparagus cook faster than sliced ​​potatoes or baby carrots

Steam Vegetables Step 9

Step 5. Only take out the soft vegetables

Are there different types of vegetables or pieces of different sizes in the basket? Remove only those that are ready and let the rest finish cooking. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to get the items out without getting burned. When removing a finished batch, transfer it to a covered platter so it doesn't cool down.

  • Are all the vegetables ready at once? Make your life easier and quickly remove the entire basket from the pan, passing the items directly onto the serving platter. Wear oven mitts or a thick dish towel to protect your hands.
  • Many vegetables are more vibrant or colorful after cooking.
  • In the end, just trying to find out. Vegetables should be firm and tender, but not limp.

Step 6. Season to taste and serve

Transfer the steamed vegetables to a serving platter. Use the spices you like, such as olive oil, salt and pepper, and finish by squeezing a little lemon to give it a sour touch. Your vegetables are now ready to serve.

Steamed vegetables are great with any type of meat or with a little cheese and a herb sauce. There are those who prefer to taste them alone too. As the way of preparation is very healthy, it is better not to overdo the dishes. They are delicious and nutritious all by themselves

Method 3 of 4: Using a pot with a lid

Steam Vegetables Step 11

Step 1. Choose a deep pot that holds all the vegetables you want to prepare

It needs to be big for the amount you want and it also needs to have a lid to keep the steam inside. Preferably, the size should allow you to fill ¾ of the volume with vegetables, leaving space above for steam and condensation.

Are the vegetables bigger? It is better to use a deeper pot. However, if they are small, as in the case of asparagus and broccoli florets, you can even use a deep skillet with a lid

Step 2. Add a 1.5 cm layer of water to the bottom of the pan

This amount produces steam and, at the same time, it is not enough to cook the vegetables and lead to nutritional loss. The shallow layer of water also prevents vegetables from sticking to the bottom and burning.

If the lid doesn't fit snugly to contain all the steam, you may need to add a little more water. Test different amounts until you find the ideal one for your pan

Step 3. Layer vegetables based on cooking time

If you want to prepare several types of vegetables together, put the ones that take the longest at the bottom and, in the top layer, put the quickest ones. In this way, it is possible to remove the ones that are in the first point.

For example, you can put a layer of potato on the bottom, intersperse a layer of cauliflower and finish with an asparagus layer on top

Step 4. Cover the pan and leave the heat on at medium

When everything is in place, cover the pan tightly and light the fire. Use medium heat in place of high heat and place your finger against the lid every now and then to test the heat. When it gets too hot, the water should be producing steam.

  • Control the impulse to keep removing the lid to see if there is steam, as that way the heat is released, interfering with cooking.
  • If you don't want to risk a finger burn from the hot lid, choose a glass one so you can see what's going on inside. If there's no way, you can also lift the lid a little for half a second and see if any steam comes out.
Steam Vegetables Step 15

Step 5. Leave the heat low and set an alarm for the recommended time

When the water starts to produce steam, leave the heat to low and wait for the vegetables to cook for the time indicated for each type and size. Finally, make sure they are on point by sticking a knife into the thickest part of the piece.

  • Vegetables should be tender but still a little crispy. They should also be colorful and vibrant.
  • Do they need more time? Put the lid back in place and wait another minute or two before testing again.

Step 6. Remove the vegetables from the heat and serve them

When all are ready, take them out of the pan and serve them however you prefer. For example, you can pour a creamy sauce over the top or smear the vegetables with olive oil and some spices. Enjoy them on their own or serve them as an accompaniment to the main dish.

  • To protect your hands, use tongs or a slotted spoon when removing vegetables from the pan. If everyone is ready at the same time, you can also take the entire pan using oven mitts or tea towels and pour the contents into a sieve.
  • Is each vegetable ready at a different time? It's best to put the first ones out of the pan in a closed container so they don't get cold while the others finish cooking.


you probably shouldn't have a lot of water left in the pan with this method. However, if there is any leftover, you can use it in a vegetable broth or even use it to water the little plants in the house - they will love the extra dose of nutrients!

Method 4 of 4: Steaming in the Microwave

Step 1. Place food in a microwave-safe bowl with a little water

You don't need to put a lot of water to steam vegetables on the equipment. Sometimes, you can even wash the items and put them straight into the bowl without drying to enjoy.

  • In most cases, just use 2-3 tablespoons of water for every 500g of vegetables. If they are denser, add a little more water.
  • Some people recommend layering vegetables on a plate and covering them with three damp sheets of paper towels to provide the necessary water.

Step 2. Cover the bowl with plastic-film, leaving a crack in one of the edges

Stretch a piece of plastic-film over the opening of the bowl and leave a small ventilation gap in one corner. The plastic retains heat and moisture, while the slit lets some steam out.

  • The other sides of the bowl rim should be tightly closed to seal off the heat. Only one tip is enough for the steam to escape.
  • Another option is to cover the bowl with a ceramic plate or a lid with holes for your size.

Step 3. Heat the vegetables on high power for two and a half minutes

If that is not enough, continue heating at one-minute intervals. Just as vegetables vary, each microwave is one. A good starting point to start checking is after two and a half minutes.

  • The cooking time depends on both the vegetables you choose and the power of your microwave. Some are ready in two minutes, while others take a little longer.
  • When it's easy to stick a knife in the vegetables, but they still retain some firmness, it's just right.

Did you know?

Contrary to popular belief, cooking in the microwave does not reduce the nutritional value of food or harm your health. In fact, this steam technique is one of the best for preserving nutrients, unlike other methods such as steaming, pressure cooker, or frying!

Steam Vegetables Step 20

Step 4. Eat or serve them still hot

Take out the plastic wrap, discard it, and place the vegetables on a plate. Add some spices or sauces to taste and enjoy!

  • If you like, add a little butter or soy sauce before you start cooking. Then add salt, pepper or other seasonings to taste.
  • Take care when removing the lid or plastic film as they give off a lot of hot steam.


  • Lemon goes very well with steamed vegetables.
  • All vegetables can be reheated several times after they are ready. They can even be braised or microwaved. Store leftovers for three to four days in the refrigerator.
  • It is possible to improvise a basket with your stainless steel or aluminum pasta drainer! Be creative and look for solutions on the internet.

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