Spicy steamed veggies (on the microwave)

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No one should have to endure steamed veggies, but if you dare to try  out new spices you might be surprised.

I still have no intention to advocate pro or against the use of the microwave but I do try to encourage a more balanced diet and it’s even better if we can do it in an easy way. Those who, like me, love cooking and can spend hours having fun in the kitchen, sometimes forget that this is no common ground and, there are people who go for frozen lasagna for lack of better option. And there’s where the hacks come in hand.

I have a vivid memory of the day my endocrinologist said to me “you’re not having grilled skinless chicken breast and steamed veggies. You’re not sick! You’re just gonna be on a diet.” Those are the moments in life where you take a step back and thing: NOW WE’RE TALKING!

I spent years of my life refusing to do any kind of diet and one of the main reasons for me to not even want to try it out was the fact that I was really annoying when it came to food and I couldn’t even think about spending my life having a side salad and those mean steamed veggies with the grilled skinless chicken breasts.

I think the image that would come to my mind was, in fact, of someone ill. Add that to the famous diet jello for dessert and we’re most definitely talking about hospital food. Or, at least, that’s what my mindset would trigger as hospital food based on the many seasons I spent with my grandpas on hospitals about 20 years ago. Maybe, for the sake os the sick, hospital diet may have evolved a little bit. But let’s get back to the center of this post. Veggies! Steamed! Dull food!


First of all let me try to demystify those poor steamed vegetables. They never cease to amaze me, but, in fact, are not the veggies per se that amaze me, but the magic that can be made when we combine the steamed babies with some yummy herbs and spices.

Hove you ever tried seasoning your broccoli with curry? What about adding sweet paprika to your carrots. Cauliflower goes so well with nutmeg. Pumpkin with massada. Spinach with a pinch of powder garlic it’s so simple and effective. Beats with salt, pepper and a pinch of rosemary show a brand new side of them.

Yes, what I’m suggesting is quite simple. Steam your vegetables, sprinkle some spices and herbs and be happy! Depending on what do you have as a side dish, you steamed veggies can even be the star of the meal.

 “You’re not having grilled skinless chicken breast and steamed veggies. You’re not sick! You’re just gonna be on a diet.”

Well, now I consider it a fact that you’re convinced to give it a go at those steamed vegetables, right? So, let’s hit the next bump in the road:

Steaming those veggies. It’s a nice idea but, you need those big specific pans or that bambou Chinese gadget (that’s gorgeous, by the way). Anyhow, let’s agree: it is hard work!

And you’re right. It is!

Or, maybe not…

And here I came, once again, asking you to give another chance to your long life partner in heating and defrosting food, the microwave. Steamed vegetables on the microwave get ready in less than 5 minutes. All you need is a propor microwave safe dish and that special microwave lid. Oh, and the vegetables, of course.

Note 1: I never get tired of repeating that plastic, in general, can’t go on the microwave.

Note 2: I started saying that you didn’t need no gadgets and have I go asking you to have that microwave lid. Well, if you don’t have it, that’s ok. All you need is a plate big enough to cover the entire surface of the bowl you’ll be using.

Note 3: Cooking time will vary from one vegetable to another, but it’ll also depend on how do you like to have them. If you prefer your veggies to be more stiff, you’ll need less time. If you like them al dente, you’ll need more time. Don’t be afraid to try out. Start with 2 minutes and go up (1 minute at a time) until you find perfection.










Well, let’s go to the step by step, which is almost useless but I made a cute video and I want to share it, so, bare with me. I love broccoli. Besides, it’s a cheap option (at least around here). I find it pretty handy. I make them with garlic and olive oil, curry, I blend it into an alternative pesto, with pasta, omelettes, as a side or main dish. I always have a bouquet on the fridge, so, you’re making this post on steamed broccoli, but you can steam whatever you like.

It doesn’t matter what vegetable you use, the step by step is pretty much the same: clean and cut (however you please). For the broccoli, I do eat the stalk. I love them! But if you don’t like it, you can same them to make vegetable stalk. Let’s try not to throw away good food, right?

Washed them. Sliced them. Now, all you have to do is place the broccoli (or other) in a bowl, add a pinch of water – really a pinch, about 3 table spoons tops – and take them into the microwave on high power, covered by the lid (ou a plate) for about 2 minutes.










Voilà! It’s ready! – and let’s not forget note number 3 and if you wish to have a more tender broccoli, just do another 1 or 2 minutes round but, as far as the broccoli goes, I find that 2 minutes are just perfect.

Use a napkin (or gloves) to take the bowl out of the microwave and open de lid (or plate) to the opposite side of your face/body. There will be a lot of steam coming out of it and that’s when you’ll realize you actually did some steam cooking. For real!


Now, all you have to do is let your creativity roll. You can drizzle some mustard sauce on your broccoli, sprinkle curry, like I suggested, make il aglio & olio (with olive oil and garlic), or you can just go for the simple salt/pepper combo. Simplicity can be so delish.

Go for it!


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