There are five very good reasons to lightly steam vegetables, such as broccoli or asparagus.
- Unlike boiled vegetables, lightly steamed ones still contain the vast majority of their minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients. It is the ideal compromise between raw and fully cooked. In fact, at least one study has determined that certain anti-cancer molecules within broccoli are more bioavailable when it is lightly steam (vs. raw or cooked).
- Steam itself is just water, so this method of cooking does not result in additional hidden calories to the food, unlike frying or sautéing which can often result in vegetables have 3-5 times the original number of calories.
- It is a quick way to prepare food as it usually takes less than 5 minutes from pan to plate! This is an amazing ‘fast food’.
- Lightly steaming enhances the color, smell, and flavor of most vegetables.
- When lightly steamed, vegetables are ‘al dente’ so they are crisp inside and tender outside. Delicious! Of course, one must be careful to not steam for too long, as the micronutrients leach out and the enjoyment of the meal is diminished as the vegetables change to a duller color, lose their fresh flavor, and gain a mushy texture.