We’ve all been there! It’s late, and you’re hungry, but you’re also not in the mood to cook.
Thank God for the microwave, one of the most convenient kitchen gadgets ever created.
In this article, we’re going to start with the basics and teach you how to cook vegetables in your microwave. Don’t give me that look! You heard me. We’re going to break down step by step how to make the best tasting veggies, super quick.
Microwave cooking is one of the simplest and fastest ways to cook food, and vegetables -of any kind- are some of the easiest foods to microwave.
I know most people think that microwaves are bad and will eventually be the death of us all… but once you take all the proper cautions, microwaving your veggies is completely fine.
So, let’s get started!
Can you microwave vegetables?
The short answer is yes; you can microwave vegetables.
I know; I was a skeptic at first too. But, you see, microwaves have a notoriously bad reputation.
I had all the same misconceptions about microwave cooking. First of all, it’s not really cooking and my food is going to end up dry on the outside and raw in the middle. Plus, what about all those electromagnetic waves? They’re poisoning us from the inside out, and not to mention they destroy the nutritional content of food.
Luckily, after hours of research and a fair amount of testing for myself, these are all misconceptions that I’ve shaken off. So now, I’m here to help put your mind at ease.
Firstly, microwave cooking vegetables is one of the best ways to retain nutrients. This is because the shorter cooking time helps preserve the vitamins and nutrients that break down when heated. Also, because a lot of water is not needed during microwave cooking, the nutrients are not leached out into the water, which in cooking methods such as boiling, would be thrown away.
So, whether they are frozen or fresh, all you need is a bowl and some microwave-safe cling wrap, and you’re good to go. And your veggies and a microwave, of course.
How to cook vegetables in microwaves?
As I said, it’s really easy. First, ensure that you give your veggies a good scrub; clean vegetables are a must over here. Next is to cut them into small, uniform pieces and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. A glass or ceramic bowl is preferable. Afterward, just cover the bowl with its lid or with microwave-safe plastic wrap.
Once your veggies are all ready, pop them into the microwave, set them on high, and let them go for one minute. Halfway through the process, stop and stir the veggies to ensure that they get an even amount of heat. Check after the first minute, if they aren’t ready then keep going at 30-second intervals until they’re nice and tender.
It’s best to cook one type of vegetable at a time to ensure that everything is evenly cooked. For some larger, more dense vegetables such as potatoes and broccoli a small amount of water may be needed to help the cooking process along. In that case, you’d add the water- about a tablespoon or two- just before you cover the bowl with the lid or plastic wrap.
How long does it take to microwave vegetables?
How long it takes to fully cook vegetables in the microwave will depend on a few things. Namely, the type of vegetable, the size of the pieces it was cut into, and the strength of your microwave.
That’s right, not all microwaves are created equally; some are more powerful than others.
Using my 1000- watt microwave at home, it took me about three minutes to cook a diced potato. Note- I added two tablespoons of water to help it along. Ensuring that the sizes of diced potatoes were as uniform as possible was also important.
Having sizes that are all over the place could lead to some pieces being cooked before others- and nobody likes raw potatoes.
Additionally, different veggies have different cooking times. For instance, string beans may need less time than broccoli but more than green peas. It’s important to play everything by ear. Start with a minute first then gradually go up in 30-second increments until your veggies are just the way you like them.
Is it safe to microwave vegetables?
So, I’ve given you all this info but you’re still not sure it’s safe to microwave your vegetables. Try not to worry, it is safe, however, there are some steps you can take that will make you feel better.
Avoid using plastic bowls or containers; it’s never a good idea to heat the plastic. I know I’ve mentioned plastic/cling wrap a few times but that is made from a different material than plastic containers.
Also, you should always try to not stand directly in front of the microwave. This is because according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) microwaves can theoretically heat the body’s tissues in the same way they heat food.
Like I said before, the waves from your microwave will not damage the nutritional content of the veggies. If anything, your veggies will be even better than before since the shorter cooking time for microwaving actually helps preserve the vitamins and nutrients found in vegetables.
There is one thing you’ll need to watch out for though. Whenever you are checking your veggies, be very cautious when lifting the lid or removing the plastic wrap. Vegetables will release their natural liquids during the cooking process, which when heated turns to steam. And steam burns are no fun, believe me.
Despite all its bad press, the microwave is still one of man’s best friends. Its ability to take your food from 0 to 100 in just a few minutes is amazing. So, the next time you want to add some veggies to your dish but you don’t feel like going back to the stove, just toss them in a bowl and put them in the microwave. It’s the same great taste but with half the work and in half the time.
How can I ensure my vegetables cook evenly in the microwave?
To ensure your microwave veggies cook evenly, make sure they are roughly the same size and placed in a microwave safe dish or bowl. Leafy greens like green beans should be steamed with a small amount of water to prevent drying out.
Can I cook potatoes in the microwave?
Yes, you can cook potatoes in the microwave oven. Pierce them with a fork and place them on a microwave safe dish or bowl. Cook for 5-7 minutes per potato until tender.
What is a good way to steam vegetables in the microwave?
To steam vegetables like leafy greens, use a covered microwavable container with just enough water to create steam. Place your veggies inside and heat for 2-4 minutes depending on quantity.
Is it safe to use any type of dish or bowl when cooking food in the microwave?
No, not all dishes are created equal! Always use a designated “microwave safe” dish or bowl when heating up food as other materials may crack under high temperatures.
Can I reheat leftovers using my microwave oven?
Yes, you can reheat leftovers using your trusty old friend -the Microwave Oven! Just make sure that you’re using an appropriate container such as one labeled “microwave-safe”.
What are some benefits of cooking vegetables in the microwave?
Cooking vegetables in the microwave helps retain their water soluble vitamins that may be lost during other cooking methods. Additionally, using hot steam created by adding water to your dish can help maintain texture and firmness for certain types of veggies.
Can all types of vegetables be cooked in the microwave?
Most types of vegetables can be cooked in the microwave, but it’s important to note that firmer veggies like potatoes may require longer cook times than softer ones like cauliflower florets.
Is it necessary to add water when cooking vegetables in the microwave?
Yes, adding a small amount of water is necessary when cooking most types of veggies in the microwave because it creates hot steam which helps distribute heat evenly and ensures proper cook time.
How long should I cook my vegetable chunks or florets for optimal results?
The optimal cook time for vegetable chunks or florets varies depending on factors such as quantity and type of veggie being used. It’s best to start with shorter intervals (around 2-4 minutes) until you find what works best for your specific recipe.