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Quick, Easy and Basic Steamed Veggies

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Quick, Easy and Basic Steamed Veggies

Basic Vegetarian Cooking: Simple Recipe for Steamed Veggies

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Steamed vegetables seem like something that should be obvious, but they aren't. I've found that many people start out as vegetarians unfamiliar with veggies and what to do with them. And knowing how to make something as simple as steamed veggies can make the difference between being a well-nourished vegetarian and not doing so well.

You can eat steamed veggies right out of the pot, no oil, no salt, absolutely plain, and if they're fresh, flavorful, and cooked just right, they'll taste great. Don't just stick with broccoli - mix them up. Broccoli, carrots and red pepper, for example. Add a little olive oil, some basil or thyme, and a squirt of lemon juice, and you have a gourmet treat. Notice I didn't mention salt - not necessary, veggies come with plenty of sodium included.

To make steamed veggies you need:

  • 2 qt or larger pot with a tight fitting lid
  • Stainless steel is the number one choice, but non stick or enamelled cast iron will work
  • Stainless steel steamer baskers are great, and don't cost much, but you can also go with a few tblsp water in the bottom of the pot
  • A burner to cook on - this can be something as basic as a hot plate
  • A combination of veggies that taste good together, and take about the same amount of time to cook
  • A good, sharp chef's knife to chop with - pretty essential if you're going to be eating a lot of veggies, right?
  • A cutting board - those white plastic ones, while they are - well - unecologically plastic, are inexpensive, easy on your knife, don't warp, and are easy to clean
  • A knife sharpener to sharpen your knife before chopping. With a sharpening steel, draw the knife back across the steel diagonally, like crossed swords, over and under, a few strokes, before chopping.
  • Hold the knife in one hand, and the veggie in the other, fingers curled under away from the edge of the knife
  • Handle the knife in a rocking motion from point to base, keeping the point on the cutting board
  • For more detailed info, I've downloaded a nice tutorial on using a chef's knife, complete with pictures: How To Use A Chef's Knife

Here are a few sample veggie combos

  1. Cauliflower and peas or snow peas
  2. Snow peas, zucchini, peppers
  3. Broccoli and carrots
  4. Broccoli, green beans and red pepper
  5. Peas and carrots
  6. Carrots and green beans
  7. Variety of summer squash and peppers
  8. Zucchini or summer squash and greens
  9. Mixed greens - chard, kale, collard greens
  10. Bak choy, cauliflower and peas

Directions

  1. Wash and chop veggies
  2. Try different shapes and sizes, diagonal and straight cuts, sticks and chunks
  3. If using a veggie steamer, add about 1/2" of water to the bottom of the pot, put in the steamer, and add the veggies.
  4. If you're steaming them on the bottom of a pot, add the veggies, then 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook on medium. Be careful not to let them burn.
  5. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 5 - 10 minutes, depending on the degree of doneness you prefer
  6. The rule of doneness is, the more crunchy - the more color & vitamins, the more cooked - the more digestible. So try to strike a balance between the two.
  7. There are lots of ways to dress up steamed veggies:
  8. Add them to pasta or rice.
  9. Add butter or oil, fresh or dried herbs, salt & pepper, lemon juice
  10. Add tomato sauce or tahini & soy sauce and serve with noodles

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