Eating plenty of vegetables to stay healthy can get tough at times. With limited time to cook on busy weekdays, consuming takeout meals seems it is not enough for a balanced diet.
With the convenience of a microwave oven, you can microwave vegetableseasily and quickly when in hurry. Add veggie side dishes to your favorite with just a few minutes of microwave cooking.
How to microwave vegetables? Wash the veggies and spread them evenly in a microwave-safe bowl or dish. Wrap the bowl with microwave-safe plastic wrap or a damp paper towel and microwave for 1 to 3 minutes or until tender.
Halfway through the cooking time, stir and rotate the vegetables to cook evenly. Once done cooking, carefully remove the cover so that hot steam can escape safely.
Believe it or not, microwave cooking fresh and frozen vegetables can help to retain more nutrients than other methods. Microwave is known for saving time and gets the most from your veggies with steaming instead of boiling or frying in hot oil.
In this article, you will learn all about benefits of microwaving vegetables to maximize the flavor, taste and nutrients all around. Read on for answers to frequently asked questions the crack the code to get crisp and easily digestible vegetables in the microwave every time.
Can I microwave raw vegetables?
Yes, you can microwave raw veggies. However, steaming veggies in the microwave is the best way to sustain their nutrients and achieve perfect doneness.
Adding a little amount of water is essential to microwave raw veggies. The lesser the water, the better to keep nutrients at their highest level since the liquid will be discarded away and water soluble nutrients will go along with it.
Some of the nutrition can be lost when microwaving raw veggies directly. As per certain research, a microwave is considered to eliminate 97 percent of the anti-inflammatory flavonoids, which is more than what is done by boiling veggies.
Steaming vegetables is recommended instead within a microwave to retain a majority of the nutrients. In addition, this cooking method works for almost any kind of vegetable.
Simply tossing veggies in a microwave-safe container moistened with water or placing them in a bowl with few spoons of water covered with a lid will make veggies ready for safe microwaving.
Steer clear of using Ziploc bags and plastic wrap from microwave vegetables. Microwaving plastic is questionable at best, at it seems that contact with steam may cause harmful chemicals to leach into your food.
Is microwaving veg better than boiling?
Ironically, microwaving veggies is actually better than boiling. In addition, microwaving veggies can minimize the creation of dangerous compounds within particular foods that occur when pay-frying at high heat temperatures.
One primary benefit of microwaving veggies is that it does not heat for long as other methods of cooking like boiling. The temperature crosses 212 degrees Fahrenheit, 100 degrees Celsius, when water is boiled, and all the nutrients may leach out into the boiling water.
As we know, boiling vegetables rob their nutrients as the vitamins and minerals leach into the water when draining. Therefore, you are eating veggies without nutritional health benefits.
Boiling method increases chance to become soggy or mushy by impacting the texture, taste, and flavor as veggies are cooked to high temperatures.
In general, veggies have fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. The water-soluble ones, vitamin C, B1, and B9 are lost when veggies are boiled.
A microwave excites water molecules to rub against each other and produce heat through friction. So, microwaving is good for water-rich veggies with a steam cooking method.
Do vegetables lose nutrients when cooked in the microwave?
Microwaving time is shorter, unlike other heating/cooking methods. Hence, it preserves nutrients and vitamins that break down during heat.
When cooking in water, the nutrition is leached out into the water. But, microwave saves you of loss of nutrients, particularly when steaming them.
Microwaving doesn’t harm food in any more ways than some other cooking techniques. Vegetables do not lose nutrients when cooked in the microwave, instead it preserves nutrients due to brief cooking time.
In the oven or stovetop, the cooking takes longer and at higher temperatures, resulting in nutrient loss or burning pretty quickly.
The 3 factors that can impact veggies while cooking are water, temperature, and time. Microwave cooks veggies without any impact of the 3 factors, so there is minimal nutrient loss.
Use less water to prevent loss of nutrients and keep cook time and temperature reduced to minimize nutrient break down from extreme heating.
Best Vegetables to Microwave
Microwave vegetables to defrost, cook, or steam is great option to prepare meal, however not all vegetables microwave the same way. Depending on the density and water consumption, you need specific method to cook them in the microwave.
Here are tips to microwave veggies to perfection so you avoid mushy or soggy results:
- Carrots: Cut the carrots into ¼” width thickness, sprinkle the carrots with little water in a bowl or dish that is microwave safe. Cover it with a lid and microwave high for 3 mins. Check-in every 30 seconds until the carrot pieces are tender and crisp.
- Corn: Take frozen corn in a bowl that is safe to use in a microwave. Break the kernel clumps for even cooking and remove any ice chunk to eliminate excess water. Add in a little water, about 2 tablespoons for 16 oz of corn. Microwave on high for 2-3 mins. Check-in intervals and ensure even heating. Whether you microwave corn or corn on the cob, serve immediately once it’s done heating.
- Broccoli: Cut the florets of broccoli and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Add in little water and cover tightly. If you are using plastic wrap to cover, poke a hole so the steam can be released. Microwave on high for about 3 mins to 4 mins, then carefully remove the lid and check for doneness.
- Spinach: Inspect the leaves, soak and rinse. Eliminate tough stalks. Leave a little wetness on the leaves, but not sopping wet, then place them in a bowl and cover. Microwave spinach on high to 2 mins for smaller leaves and about 4 mins for larger leaves.
- Peas: For fresh peas, toss them in a water filled bowl that is microwave safe. Cover them with a cling wrap or a lid, and microwave on high for around 2 mins. If they are frozen peas then it may take up to 4 mins. If the quantity is more, a longer time may be needed.
- Asparagus: Place the asparagus bundle direct in the microwave. Microwave high for around 3 mins. If the asparagus is crisp and tender then it is done. Check-in at one minute time intervals, and use tongs to flip and remove the stalks at each duration.
- Green beans: Take green beans and trim the ends, place them on a microwave-safe bowl or dish and add water to slightly cover the bottom of the dish. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap that is microwave safe, and nuke on high for around 5 mins. The green beans will turn crisp and tender with a bright green color.
- Cauliflower: Cut the cauliflower to bite-size florets after washing it well. Transfer the pieces to a microwave-safe bowl with sufficient water that is about 2 or 3 tablespoons. This is about the amount that covers the bowl bottom portion, then microwave for 3 to 4 mins.
- Snow peas: Keep the peas in a microwave-safe dish and cover with a piece of cling wrap or microwave cover. Microwave for around 3 to 4 mins while checking periodically to see if they are done any earlier.
- Zucchini: Cut zucchini in rounds and place them in a microwave-safe dish. Pour 2 tablespoons of water and microwave high for 4 mins. Zucchini should be microwaved until tender and served immediately.
To incorporate fiber and Vitamins to any meal, adding vegetables are great choice. Simply use these suggested cooking times to selectively microwave vegetables whether they are fresh or frozen to increase health benefit to your everyday meals.
Tips to microwave vegetables
Microwaving vegetables are quite easy and nutritious. Mixing assorted veggies saves cooking time instead of cooking individually.
However, be aware some veggie have more water content than others. So it is necessary to adjust the amount of water you input when microwaving them.
Here are additional tips to microwave vegetables to get best result:
- Clean and wash veggies properly.
- Chop the veggies into uniform pieces for even cooking.
- Do not remove the rotating tray for eliminating cold or hot spots.
- Arrange them closely, but with a little space between each piece.
- Combine the veggies identical in texture.
- Wrap the dish with plastic wrap tightly and poke one or 2 holes in the film.
- Microwave on high for 30 to 45 second increments.
- Stir the vegetable after each interval.
- Halt the cooking process before the vegetables turn mushy and become overcooked.
In case of microwaving whole vegetables like potatoes or squash, prick the skin with a fork to prevent from bursting. Also, place them on a damp towel while cooking in the microwave to absorb any moisture that may extrude.
Best way to microwave vegetables
The best way to microwave veggies is by placing them separately in a microwavable dish with a tablespoon or two of water. Microwave on high for 1 to 5 minutes depending on the weight, quantity and type of vegetable.
To cook vegetables evenly, place them in a flat layer without overlapping such that the cooking is even and texture is retained. Microwave on high with little water to around 3 tablespoons for a pound of veggies.
Firmer veggies like turnip or beets will take a longer time while softer veggies and leaf green will take lesser time. For instance, one pound of steamed broccoli takes about 4 mins, potato chunks take 8 mins and 2 mins for spinach.
It is recommended to use microwave-safe container instead of plastic bag that vegetables are already come with. Check the microwave safe symbol prior cooking.
To expedite cooking process and to avoid soggy vegetables, use a microwave steamer to get the work done without any trouble at all.
Microwaving Vegetables: Final Thoughts
Microwaving vegetables saves time and maintains nutrients well compared to any other conventional cooking appliances. To be able to freshen and crisp up the vegetables quickly, all you need is correct temperature, time, and water amount to put into the microwave safe dish.
Trim and wash the veggies thoroughly in running water. Place them evenly on a microwave-safe bowl or dish and cover with lid, damp paper towel or plastic wrap with couple of holes to release steam while cooking.
Microwave for 1 to 3 minutes on high power setting. Constantly check the condition, flip the veggies and continue cooking until crisp and tender.
Carefully, remove the dish from the microwave using gloves and slowly open the lid or peel away the plastic wrap. Avoid being close to the opening since a sudden burst of steam can burn your face or hands.
Drain any extra water out and transfer to a clean plate, and season with salt, pepper and squeeze fresh lemon juice. This is how tomicrowave vegetableswithout losing nutrients.
Compared to boiling or stir-frying, microwaving vegetable is quick and easy. Each vegetable cooks differently, use the suggested time to microwave them evenly without a soggy and overcooked result.