Steamed Vegetables: Benefits & Why To Try Them

If you’re a veg enthusiast like us you probably know that when it comes to cooking vegetables, some methods have more benefits than others. You have sautéing, grilling, roasting, boiling, frying, steaming, baking, microwaving or simply eating them raw, but how do these cooking methods fare in terms of preserving as many nutrients as possible?  
When exposed to cooking water, the nutrients in veg like vitamin C can be lost. This isn’t a problem with steaming! Thanks to the minimal added water, and gentle, indirect heat, your veggies keep more of the good stuff as steaming preserves nutrients, texture and flavour.

Is there a “best way” to cook vegetables?

There’s no “one size fits all” approach that works for everything because each vegetable and its nutritional components will react differently to specific ways of cooking. However, the one thing to know is that vegetables don’t mix well with a high temperature and a lengthy cooking time. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should only eat your veg raw – certain veg actually benefit from being cooked because the tougher outer layers are broken down during cooking, making for a nicer eating experience.

This is what gives steaming (including steaming in the microwave) the upper hand when it comes to nutrient retention. By not submerging vegetables in a lot of water, more nutrients are retained within the vegetables, for you to consume.

Water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin B6 or vitamin B12 are amongst the most susceptible to leeching during cooking or processing. Vitamin C is so “fragile”, it can be even lost during storage or transportation. This is why freezing produce is a beneficial process to preserve vitamin C.

Steaming also saves the vegetable’s crunchy texture and vibrant colour, and it doesn’t take a long time, especially if you choose to steam in the microwave. 

What vegetables should I steam? 

The short answer: most of them! If you’re pressed for time and looking to make a quick, nutritious side to your dinner or lunch, there’s nothing better than a plate of steamed veg. 
Steaming is so easy, you can’t really mess it up. All you need is a large saucepan, a steamer and water.  All you need to know next is how long it takes to steam certain vegetables, so here are few fan-favourites of ours:

  • Peas, including frozen peas: 2-3 mins
  • Broccoli and cauliflower: 8-10 mins 
  • Leafy greens like kale, collard greens, Swiss chard: 5-7 mins 
  • Spinach: 3 mins
  • Asparagus: 3-5 mins
  • Green beans: 3-5 mins 
  • Root vegetables like beets, carrots, turnips, potatoes: 10-15 mins

Check if they’re done by poking a few vegetables around the pan. You’ll know it’s done if the veg is soft enough but not mushy. 
Season the veg to taste or serve them with a tasty dip. Pair them with a nutritious piece of fish, chicken, or amp up your veg intake with a meat-free alternative.

For an even quicker, no mess, no stress meal, try our Steamfresh range of vegetable medleys, straight from the microwave to the plate.