How to steam broccoli the right way for perfect results every time
There are many ways to cook broccoli, but steaming it is one of the best, and most delicious. Properly prepared broccoli can be sweet and tender, and yet still have a nice bite and crispness to it, which means that it pairs well with pretty much any side dish or main course option you could choose.
In this article, we’ll show you how to steam broccoli the right way so that you get perfect results every time.
The better you understand how to steam broccoli, the more likely you are to achieve delicious results every time you cook it.
This is one of the few vegetables that are actually healthier to eat raw rather than cooked, so it’s important to learn how to steam broccoli properly if you want to maximize its nutritional value while still enjoying the great taste it has when cooked properly. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to steam broccoli.
Why you should steam your broccoli
Steaming your broccoli ensures that all of its nutritional value is preserved. When you boil or microwave your greens, you lose vitamins and minerals.
Steaming keeps vitamins intact because it cooks food through contact with boiling water, not in it. In fact, steamed vegetables are healthier than their raw counterparts because they don’t contain enzyme inhibitors (like raw veggies do) that can interfere with digestion and other body processes.
Steaming is a healthy and convenient way to cook fresh vegetables because it preserves important nutrients, prevents overcooking, and also allows for steaming frozen vegetables without cooking them, too.
Step 1: Prep your vegetables
Wash your broccoli and break it into bite-sized florets. If you cook vegetables on a regular basis, it might be worth investing in a food processor, as it will mean you can slice or dice your veggies directly in the processor’s base container, saving you lots of time.
Alternatively, simply break down your veggies with a knife or use pre-cut florets. When chopping your vegetables, make sure all of them are roughly the same size, so they’ll cook evenly.
The better they look on the plate, the better your food will look. it’s an important and oft-overlooked step that if you are planning to serve your vegetables with any kind of sauce or dressing, include here. Otherwise, it’s important to season your vegetables well.
You want to get some salt onto them while they’re still raw as it will help draw out moisture as they cook and ensure you end up with crispy greens rather than soggy ones.
Step 2: Steam: Now it’s time to actually cook your veg. I’m going to assume you have access to a steamer, but if not don’t worry I’ve included instructions for how to do things without one below too.
To steam using a steamer, place your prepared vegetables into an appropriately sized steamer basket and set over boiling water.
Cover with a lid and let cook until just tender but still firm to touch. To steam without a steamer, cook your vegetables by placing them in a pan with water, covering them tightly, and cooking until they are soft. Let cook, covered, for 5 minutes once you’re finished cooking.
If you do this extra step, you’ll get consistent, expected results every time.
Serve: When ready to serve, remove from heat and drain off any excess liquid from your cooked vegetables. If the vegetables are still tough, season with a little more salt and you’ll enjoy it.
It is personal preference whether you like the vegetables to be soft throughout or firm in the middle. No matter what you do, don’t boil your vegetables more than once because each time you boil them, you lose the flavor, texture, and nutrients.
So next time you are looking for a quick and easy side dish, try steamed vegetables. And remember, there is no need to limit yourself to just these recipes; feel free to experiment with different combinations of natural spices and herbs.
Step 2: Steam your veggies properly
Regardless of whether you’re cooking carrots, peas, or broccoli (or even a mix), always make sure your veggies are steaming in water that is just below boiling.
Boiling will cause your veggies to get soft and mushy, resulting in an overcooked mess. When done correctly, steamed vegetables will be tender but still have some bite to them. Make sure to cover your pot while steaming so there’s no chance of moisture escaping.
This will help keep your veggies from getting soggy and give you consistently delicious results every time. Steaming helps retain more nutrients than any other cooking method. If you don’t want to use a stovetop steamer, try using your microwave instead.
Place 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl with your veggies and cook on high for 3 minutes; add 30 seconds if needed. For even faster results, try frozen veggies they can be cooked in as little as 2 minutes on high power.
Most veggies should be washed before they’re prepared, especially if they’ve been purchased pre-washed. However, it is important not to wash too soon before serving because washing removes flavor and can leave veggies tasting bland.
Always rinse off dirt and grime under cold running water, then pat dry before serving. Did you know? The best part of broccoli is actually its stem.
It’s packed with vitamin C and fiber, making it a great addition to salads or stir-fries. Try adding chopped stems to your next veggie dish for added crunch.
One serving of broccoli carries only 31 calories, yet packs nearly 4 grams of protein. In fact, it has almost as much protein as steak. That means you can eat extra portions without worrying about packing on pounds.
Broccoli is also fortified in B vitamins such as folate and riboflavin, which play a role in energy metabolism.
It also carries potassium and magnesium which help regulate blood pressure levels as well as iron and calcium for strong bones.
Broccoli recipe ideas
There are a few different ways to prepare your steamed broccoli. The most common recipes call for lemon juice and sometimes salt and pepper, but you can also mix it up by steaming it with garlic or adding a dash of cayenne pepper when sautéing it in olive oil.
Another fun recipe is to toss steamed broccoli into a stir-fry with chicken breast, onions, and carrots. If you’re looking for something a little sweet, try mixing some maple syrup into your next batch of steamed broccoli. You’ll be surprised at how good it tastes.
No matter what you decide to do with your steamed broccoli, one thing is certain: It will never taste better than it does right out of your very own kitchen. Steaming fresh broccoli is an easy way to bring healthy food home without breaking your budget.
Plus, steamed broccoli doesn’t have any added preservatives or chemicals which means it will retain its flavor for longer periods of time after cooking.
So, if you want to enjoy delicious steamed broccoli that won’t leave your wallet empty, take five minutes today and learn how to make it yourself. You won’t regret it.
Tips on how not to overcook your vegetables
Vegetables are a vital component of a healthy diet, but not if they’re overcooked and inedible. Cooked vegetables can often be limp and mushy, but there are ways to cook them without destroying their nutritional value.
Here are a few tips on how not to overcook your vegetables while also ensuring they don’t end up as one big tasteless pile.
Steaming is always a good choice when cooking vegetables; it helps retain flavor and nutrients. Boiling tends to leach out vitamins, so it’s best used only for cooking starchy root vegetables like potatoes or carrots.
When roasting or baking veggies, choose high-heat methods such as grilling or broiling over lower-heat methods such as steaming or boiling; it will help keep more vitamins intact during cooking.
And avoid putting frozen vegetables directly into hot water, which can cause nutrients to leach out before they even reach a pot.
Instead, let frozen vegetables thaw slightly before cooking them this could take up to an hour depending on what you’re making, or place them in cold water and bring it slowly to a boil.
You should also try to eat vegetables within two days of buying them since freshness is key to retaining nutrient levels.
Lastly, never ever boil your green vegetables (i.e., lettuce) or any vegetable that grows above ground level; these types of products need very little cooking time at all and will turn bitter if cooked too long.
For example, lightly sautéing spinach is a much better option than boiling it. The same goes for herbs: If you want to use them in cooking, make sure to add them toward the end of preparation rather than at the beginning. Overcooking will destroy their delicate flavors and aromas.
All vegetables benefit from proper prep work. Before you start cooking, wash off dirt and dry off excess moisture using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
This ensures that less moisture ends up in your final dish, resulting in a crisper texture. Trim stems from leafy greens like kale and chard, then chop them into bite-size pieces before adding them to your dish. Dried stems are tough and chewy, especially after being cooked for longer periods of time.
To slice mushrooms, first, remove their stems. Then hold each mushroom cap with one hand and slice vertically through its top with a sharp knife. Slicing mushrooms horizontally will result in uneven slices. To peel ginger, scrape away the skin with a spoon.
Don’t worry about getting every last bit of skin off; just get rid of most of it. After peeling ginger, grate it using either a Microplane zester or a regular cheese grater.
Grating ginger releases its oils, making it easier to incorporate into recipes. Finally, learn to tell when vegetables are done. It’s not as easy as you might think.
Different types of vegetables require different cooking times and will look and feel different as they cook. Some are firm and crisp, others soft and tender; some are bright green in color, and others have a duller hue.