Steamed Broccoli

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Dear Home Ec 101,

A while ago you posted a recipe for fettucini alfredo and suggested adding steamed broccoli.  So, maybe it makes me look an idiot and maybe it doesn’t, but is there a proper way to steam broccoli?


Stymied by Steam

Heather says:

While you don’t need any fancy tools to steam vegetables, I do recommend having a vegetable steamer. They are fairly small, versatile, and have a timer that can take some of the stress out of coordinating cook times. I use an oh-so-fancy Black and Decker Flavor Scenter Steamer Deluxe.  It’s a long name for a small appliance that boils water and costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $30.  I have used mine fairly often for four years, so I consider it a worthy investment.  To steam broccoli in a steamer simply follow the handy dandy directions in the booklet, or if you lost that: put water in the bottom, put the basket over the water, load your vegetables, put the lid on securely, and set the timer. Since you can see the vegetables cooking, it’s easy to turn it off as soon as the florets turn the bright green that says, “Hey, I’m done!”

Since we’re flexible here at Home Ec 101, here’s how you steam broccoli in the microwave.  Put the florets, those are the cut pieces that look like little trees, in a microwave safe dish.  Add about an inch of water, cover tightly, and microwave on high for five minutes or until bright green.  Of course cook times vary because not all microwaves are created equal, but for two cups of broccoli you should be in the right neighborhood.

What, you don’t have a microwave, either? You’re killing me.  Don’t worry, this is also a piece of cake on the stove. Add about an inch of water to a sauce pan, add your broccoli, place the pan over medium heat, and cover tightly. Bring the water to a boil and allow to cook until, wait for it, the broccoli turns bright green.  You are surprised, aren’t you?

OK, so your basic steamed broccoli isn’t always exciting.  If you want to add some punch that keeps people from reaching for the salt shaker, heat a saute pan or frying pan over medium heat.  Add a tablespoon of butter or olive oil and add any herbs or seasoning that are included or are complementary to your main dish.  For example, if you are having dilled salmon consider adding a splash of lemon juice and some dill weed.  If your main dish has Asian spices stir in soy or terriyaki sauce with garlic or onion.  Then, simply toss your broccoli in the heated butter or olive oil until well coated. All the little buds provide excellent nooks and crannies that soak up flavor. For those scared of a little fat, it is important to remember that Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble and the presence of fat actually improves their absorption rate. Broccoli is loaded with both vitamins A & K.

So enjoy!

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4 thoughts on “Steamed Broccoli”

  1. Sometimes when I make Pasta Roni with the broccoli, I add fresh broccoli the last few minutes when cooking the pasta before adding the cheese sauce.

    To cook fresh broccoli anytime, just bring a little water to a boil and add the broccoli for a couple of minutes. Just don’t leave it as there is not much water in the pot or corning ware. You don’t need special equipment.

  2. The question was simply how to steam broccoli in a steamer…..

    So it turns bright green…whoopdeedo…..

    Since the steamers have a timer…..

    Did you have a particular setting we should know about?…..

  3. Like microwaves the length of cook time will vary depending on the model and brand of your steamer. Most steamers are equipped with a chart with general guidelines. As the size of the florets and amount of broccoli in the basket may vary, it is good to know that you may rely on the color rather than the timer.

  4. Thank you for the easy to follow steps for steaming broccoli. I have been cooking for more than 40 years but just never got around to buying a steamer. The new cookware I recently purchased has one piece of cookware with holes in it that can be put on top of a pot with a little water for steaming, but no directions as to how to use it. Your suggestions helped me a lot. Now I’m off to steam my broccoli to put in my veggie quiche for dinner.


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