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How to Steam Spring Vegetables

Created March 13, 2017
How to Steam Spring Vegetables
Steaming veggies is easy, and especially good with fresh springtime vegetables!

Steam your vegetables for a colorful and yummy side to any meal.

I like grilled meat and melted cheese as much as the next guy, but as spring gets into full swing, you’ll be able to find some great vegetables at markets and stores. These veggies are at their absolute prime this time of year, so it’s important to treat them right!

My preferred method to prepare almost any spring vegetable is to steam it. Doing it right takes just a few minutes and doesn’t require much equipment. Here are a few tips to make sure you end up with delicious steamed vegetables (and not mush).

Feel free to use a variety of veggies—you can literally steam any vegetable. When you’re chopping your vegetables, keep them in big chunks (1-2 inches). This will ensure they don’t overcook as they steam.


Before you toss everything in your steamer basket, make sure your water is hot and doesn’t actually come in contact with your steamer. If the water touches the vegetables, they will boil instead of steam—which means mushy vegetables!

Spend some time thinking about how sturdy your vegetables are. Sturdy vegetables like carrots, beets or potatoes will need longer to cook through. They should go at the bottom of your steamer.


Also, you might notice that I don’t have a fancy steamer. I just use a wire mesh strainer that fits in my pot!


Steam the sturdiest vegetables you have for 2-3 minutes and then add the next layer. If you’re steaming a vegetable like asparagus, you’ll want to add them next. Return the steamer to your pot, cover it, and let them keep steaming for another 2 minutes.


Finally, add your delicate vegetables near the end. Most vegetables like squash, zucchini, and peas will need 90-120 seconds to steam. In other words, they cook fast!


When the delicates are done, all vegetables should be done because of the layering and varied cooking times.

You can serve these plain, but if you want to add a little flavor I recommend tossing them with a small bit of butter and seasoning them with salt and pepper.


This time of year vegetables are in plentiful supply, so buy and cook them perfectly!


Check out Nick's blog, Macheesmo, and follow him on his Tablespoon Profile.