How To Properly Steam Broccoli In The Microwave

bowl of steamed broccoli
bowl of steamed broccoli - Eyewave/Getty Images

Bright green, crisp broccoli is a delicious and versatile vegetable that can add a healthy helping of flavor and nutrition to any meal. You may prefer to roast, blanch, or even grill your broccoli, but for an easy cooking method that keeps its health benefits intact, you should try steaming this veggie. Better yet, you can steam it in your microwave for fast and flavorful results.

Excess charring from high-heat cooking can burn off some of broccoli's nutrients, like vitamins C and A, while boiling can cause them to leach into the water. Steaming broccoli reduces its vitamin content to a much lesser degree than other cooking methods, not to mention it's easy and produces tender-crisp, beautifully green florets when done properly. Some home cooks swear by tools such as a steamer basket or Instant Pot, but for broccoli that is perfectly tender, not at all mushy, and can be made without buying extra equipment, the microwave is king.

Steaming broccoli in the microwave is a game-changer for quick, easy weeknight dinners, being faster than other methods and producing results that are just as tasty. You won't have to keep checking on a pot or steamer over the course of several minutes to make sure your broccoli isn't turning to mush. The microwave will retain your broccoli's antioxidants, vitamins, and even its color,  with stress-free cleanup, to boot. You'll seriously wish you had tried this method sooner. 

Read more: The 6 Best And 6 Worst Grocery Stores To Buy Produce From

The Best Ways To Steam Broccoli In Your Microwave

person pressing microwave buttons
person pressing microwave buttons - HenadziPechan/Shutterstock

To steam broccoli, cut it into florets of roughly the same size, so that it cooks evenly. Steaming larger florets along with smaller ones can result in some turning out soggy, and others hard and undercooked. Once your florets are ready, place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Glass and ceramic bowls are ideal, but if you choose plastic, make doubly sure that your bowl is microwave-safe, so you don't risk bisphenol A (BPA) and other chemicals sneaking into your broccoli.

Next, pour a few tablespoons of water over your broccoli and cover with a lid or microwave-safe plate. Avoid using non-microwave-safe plastic wrap, which can also leach chemicals into your food. Microwave the broccoli on the "high" setting for about three minutes to start with, which will turn the water to steam, then continue microwaving in 15-second intervals until tender. Check on your broccoli after each interval before choosing to cook it for longer — this will help you avoid a bowl of green mush.

Don't have a microwave-safe lid or plate that fits your bowl? Just wet some paper towels and wring them out before placing them over the top of the bowl, and increase the initial three-minute cook time by 30 seconds. Skip adding water to your broccoli, as the paper towels will create the steam. Once the broccoli reaches your preferred texture, whether it's soft or retains some crispness, you're ready to dress it up and serve it.

Delicious Flavorings For Your Microwave-Steamed Broccoli

broccoli with red pepper flakes on a plate
broccoli with red pepper flakes on a plate - Nature's Charm/Shutterstock

Who ever said steamed broccoli has to be boring? It may not sound as exciting as roasted broccoli or a beef and broccoli stir-fry, but the simplicity of a steamed version makes it a perfectly versatile canvas for customizing. Topping your broccoli with homemade red pepper flakes, for example, adds a kick of spice that's anything but bland. You can use store-bought flakes for a quicker route, or instead, try fresh chili peppers for more heat and a deeper flavor, whether they be fruity, smoky, or earthy.

On the other hand, what's more classic and delicious than broccoli with cheese? Add your favorite cheese on top of the broccoli and microwave it for just a few more seconds before serving right away, so you can enjoy a delicious melty layer on top. You could also make a proper cheese sauce on the stovetop, since the broccoli takes mere minutes to steam and you'll have plenty of time to spare.

Alternatively, for a citrusy yet cheesy flavor profile, toss your broccoli in olive oil and lemon zest after steaming. This enhances the veggie's freshness with a subtly delicious tang. Go ahead and add some savory shaved parmesan cheese on top before serving, and you're in broccoli eater's heaven. Yes, such a place exists, and it's at your fingertips with the microwave steaming method.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.