Steaming is one of the best cooking methods for maximizing taste and color, while retaining the most nutrients in vegetables and fish. Especially when the vegetables themselves have so much flavor, simply steaming them and finishing with fresh herbs, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil can produce a very satisfying and delicious dish. You can also Healthy Steam several vegetables or vegetables and fish in one pot for easier clean up.
My healthy way of steaming allows you to preserve your vegetables' nutrients, bring out their color and enhance their flavor. Steaming for a minimal amount of time, so your vegetables emerge "al dente"—crisp inside and tender outside—is an ideal way to maximize their nutritional value.
Be sure to stick to the brief times we have for steaming in our recipes and stay on guard; a distracting phone call or brief moment out of the kitchen can mean several minutes of unwanted cooking time-enough to ruin your vegetables!
Fill the bottom of the steamer with 2 inches of water. Make sure the water is at a rapid boil before adding your vegetables to the steamer basket. This ensures that the heat is consistent throughout cooking time. Steaming cooks the vegetables with the even, moist heat of the vapors.
Place food in vegetables in steamer basket. You want to make sure the steamer has a tight fitting lid. You can steam more than one vegetable (both requiring the same amount of cooking time) by placing the vegetables in the steamer basket in layers.
Or, if you want to cook vegetables with different cooking times, begin cooking the vegetables that require more cooking time and adding the other vegetables afterwards. For example, cook sweet potatoes (which require 7 minutes of steaming) for 2 minutes before adding broccoli (which requires 5 minutes of steaming).
Our Steamed Vegetable Medley is a good example of steaming more than one vegetable, timing it so all are done at the same time. This will give you an idea of how to do it. For a quick and easy side dish, try this with a variety of vegetables—whatever you have on hand.
You can easily steam a variety of vegetables with a nice piece of salmon or other fish on top. This is a perfect way to make a simple, clean, healthy meal in one pot in a very short amount of time.
You can make a simple dressing or sauce and drizzle it over everything when done. Try our Steamed Salmon and Asparagus with Mustard Dill Sauce—a delicious example of steaming your whole meal in layers in the same pot.
Remember that steam can be deceiving. It is still very hot and can burn you easily, so it is important to remember to open the lid on your steamer facing away from your body. This will prevent the steam from burning your face or arms as you lift the lid.