Steamed Vegetables Recipe

Adapted from the website “101 Cookbooks”

A sampling of seasonal vegetables flaky sea salt to finish: good olive oil, a few drops of toasted sesame oil, shallot oil, butter or cheese

Wash your vegetables well, and cut them into bite-sized pieces. You can leave peels on or not, according to your personal preference. 

Organize them according to needed cooking time. 

For example:

  • Slower-cooking vegetables are sweet potato, potato, winter squash, beets and carrots.  These usually cook through in about 10 minutes.
  • Broccoli, cauliflower cook through in 6-7 minutes.
  • Faster-cooking vegetables include asparagus, fava beans (inner pods), snap peas, and zucchini.  These cook through in just 3-4 minutes.

Bring an inch of water to a simmer in a skillet large enough to accommodate the diameter of your steamer. The water should not be so high that it makes contact with the vegetables when the steamer is placed in the skillet - do a quick test if needed, and remove some water if needed.

The goal here is to have your vegetables perfectly cooked and ready to serve just before you sit down. And, ideally, all of the vegetables finish cooking at the same time. Here's how you do it. Roughly ten minutes before you're ready to serve, place the slow-cooking vegetables over the simmering water, covered. Let them steam there until they're about 2/3 cooked, about 6-7 minutes. Test, and cut into any root vegetables toward the end to make sure they're going to be cooked through. Broccoli and cauliflower only need 3-4 minutes, so add those next . And the faster cooking vegetables, like snap peas and asparagus, just need a kiss of steam to brighten, barely a minute. Add those last. 

You'll have to make slight adjustments based on the sizes of your vegetables, but this is the general idea. Cook them until they're bright, just tender, and taste good to you.

Arrange the steamed vegetables and serve along with a drizzle of good oil - toasted sesame, shallot, olive oil, herb, etc. With a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.

A few tips:

While steaming with water is most common,  try using miso broth, vegetable broth, vegetable dashi, or tea in place of water. Each imparts a different scent and flavor to the vegetables.

Arrange your slowest cooking vegetables in the bottom of the steamer, working up to the quickest. Another time saver is to get your densest, slowest cooking vegetables started in in the bottom tray, while you prep the quicker cooking vegetables for the mid and top baskets. Keep the lid on.