Bored with Steamed Vegetables? How to Give Them a Makeover

by sophie on June 17, 2013 · 22 comments

Steaming vegetables

Steamed vegetables are a great way to boost the plant content of your meal while preserving as many of the nutrients as possible, but steamed veggies can also be a little bit boring and bland at times.  There is no harm in adding some little extras to add crunch,texture, spice or freshness to your steamed vegetables to make them a more enjoyable part of your meal.

Happily Kathryn and Lucy from An Honest Kitchen share my philosophy on this and have written this great guest post about how to make steamed vegetables less boring.  The post is an extract from the latest issue of An Honest Kitchen (you’ve heard me talking about AHK before, the inspiration behind this canellini bean, leek, fennel and noodle soup) and the issue is full of excellent tips for making over regular meals to get them healthier and more veggie-packed.  The recipes are delicious, something I can attest to as one of their covert team of recipe testers. Anyway, over to Kathryn and Lucy

Bored with Steamed Vegetables? How to Give Them a Makeover

We all have meals we love, the ones we look forward to, crave even — comfort meals. But so often these favourite dinners are neither healthy nor easy to prepare.They might be packed full of cream, fat, cheese, carbs and stodge, or they take ages to cook and involve multiple processes.

One of the major problems is they usually contain nowhere near enough vegetables.

While you can fit more vegetables into the meal you’re cooking, it’s often easier to just serve dinner with a big pile of steamed vegetables. However, after a couple of days of plain steamed veg, you may find yourself looking around for ways to add some extra oomph to your plate, new flavours to keep things interesting.

We don’t hesitate to add a few goodies to steamed vegetables because anything you add will make the vegetables a more appetising prospect, and at An Honest Kitchen, we want you to really, really love eating your vegetables. Herbs, cheese, oils, condiments and nuts can all add flavour, texture and interest and as long as your vegetables aren’t swimming in fat and salt these toppings and flavours won’t detract from the goodness of your meal.

Firstly, you don’t need a steamer

There’s no need to go out and spend a lot of money on a steamer. Bamboo steamers work really well and are available from most Asian grocers for just a few dollars. Alternatively, if you have a colander or sieve, you can use that. Simply fill a pan with enough water so that the level sits beneath your steaming device and balance the colander or sieve on top. Bring the water to the boil. Add your vegetables to the colander, reduce the heat under the pan so the water is at a lively simmer and cover with a saucepan lid or plate. This will keep enough of the steam inside to cook your veg.

The amount of time you steam vegetables for will depend on the type and how big the pieces are. As a very rough guide, most vegies will steam in 3 – 7 minutes, however, keep an eye on your vegetables while they’re cooking and take them out when they’ve softened but are still brightly coloured. Grey, over-cooked vegetables are pretty unappetising.

10 ways to add flavour to steamed vegetables

1. Sometimes a simple squeeze of lemon or lime juice, together with a sprinkling of salt and black pepper is enough. Simple, yet fresh flavours.

2. Toss through a couple of teaspoons of pesto or harissa.

3. Salad dressings work really well on steamed vegetables. A small amount of olive oil, vinegar and mustard, whisked together and then tossed through your hot vegetables can make all the difference.

4. Chop together some sundried tomatoes, lemon zest and parsley. Add a small amount of olive oil and then toss your vegetables in this mixture.

5. Scatter over some toasted nuts or pepitas.

6. Mix together a small amount of butter, with some black pepper and fresh chives. Keep this in the fridge and dot a teaspoonful onto your steamed vegetables.

7. Steamed vegetables are lovely topped with a dollop of hummous and an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

8. Chop up fresh avocado, coriander and chilli and stir through some lime juice. The avocado melts slightly as it comes into contact with the vegetables and forms a kind of sauce.

9. Make a pangrittata: breadcrumbs mixed with crushed garlic, black pepper, dried oregano and whatever leftover fresh herbs you might have. Cook this in some olive oil in a frying pan, until golden brown. A spoonful of pangrittata over steamed vegetables adds flavour and texture.

10. A quick tahini and garlic sauce is delicious over steamed vegetables. Crush a clove of garlic, mix with a tablespoon of tahini and then whisk in enough water to make it a drizzling consistency.

You don’t have to use a lot of any of these ingredients and a small amount of anything is not going to break the nutritional budget. There’s no reason that good food can’t taste delicious and there’s no reason not to have small amounts of the flavours you love the most.

Kathryn & Lucy

For more ideas on making over the meals you love take a look at our publication An Honest Kitchen: Makeovers. An Honest Kitchen is a regular publication all about real food that’s good for you. Each issue is full of simple recipes, practical cooking information and healthy eating advice. Our latest edition, Makeovers, in which we revamp popular meals is available in e-format from 11 June.

An Honest Kitchen





kathryn elliott June 17, 2013 at 22:21

Sophie! Thank you so much. It’s quite lovely to be here, guest posting on Mostly Eating. And thank you for being such an excellent “covert” recipe tester too!

lucy June 17, 2013 at 23:28

thank you, lovely woman!

such a great intro from you – thank you for giving us the run of your blog for the day. x

Kirsty June 19, 2013 at 08:51

Loving the sound of these ideas – especially the pangrittata!!! Can’t wait to try that over some veggies with a lovely piece of oven roasted salmon! Beautiful ideas – thanks ladies!

Nik@ABrownTable July 12, 2013 at 03:46

This is a wonderful post, all these great innovative ways to make something so simple like steamed vegetables, elegant!

Healthy Life July 20, 2013 at 21:14

Hi Sophie!

Thanks for the post “Bored with Steamed Vegetables? How to Give Them a Makeover”. I found it very helpful and expect other will find it useful too.


Diesel Engine Reman July 20, 2013 at 22:04

Thanks a Lot, you are very lovely women.

Shari - Simply Shari's Gluten Free January 27, 2014 at 23:26

I love your ideas. For a quick fixer-upper, I have used garlic powder and chopped or thinly sliced onion, but I love your pesto idea. Going to try this one very soon. Thanks!

Poame February 9, 2014 at 21:28


Pauline Degaetano April 7, 2014 at 14:36

Thank you, very interesting. just discovered you :-)

Urszula Sundari June 2, 2014 at 16:21

Great blog and great ideas. I also love steamed veg with toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds. Yumm! :)

places to meet women June 18, 2014 at 01:06

Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group?

There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.

Please let me know. Cheers

avis robot multifonction kitchenaid artisan mixer June 20, 2014 at 05:05

astuces? Merci !

Debbie July 2, 2014 at 08:30

Thanks for the update on steamed veggies as they had got boring. Great new ideas

Lorna Murad August 17, 2014 at 16:51

This has really inspired to give my sad veggies a real make over. I am defiantly going to try the Harissa – thanks

Garage Floor Coating Nh September 15, 2014 at 20:26

It is in point of fact a great and helpful piece of info.

I am glad that you shared this helpful info with us.
Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

Chris December 23, 2014 at 14:48

I made a mushroom and chicken sauce with cream over the top of vegies ..was delicious with little chicken stock

cara menurunkan berat badan February 14, 2015 at 05:29

The basic idea of Indian song has been to dedicate the ultimate Man , The Bramhin or The God.

Every of these can have the Better business bureau standing as well.
Selain itu masih jumlah lagi yang bisa diperhatikan di
dalam memilih perusahaan yang nantinya akan anda percaya
buat menangani pembangunan konstruksi.

Robin June 3, 2015 at 06:56

Thank you, I think I love you. I have been going without meat for a month and decided to try and make vegetables more appealing. After trawling through recipe books and the internet where I found only rubbish I found your site which is simple, to the point and brilliant.

Thanks again.

Lisa August 20, 2015 at 07:47

Thank you, so many alternatives and they all sound delicious.

Anil December 11, 2015 at 22:21

1. What have been some of your healthy choeics so far this week?I have been riding to work every day, eating my oats and rice milk for breakfast, fruit only for snacks, and no bingeing.2. Is there anything healthy you haven’t been doing or have been inconsistent?? Are you working on it?I am inconsistent at dinner time and after dinner. This is where I fall into a big blubbering heap. I am working on getting through one extra hour each day before giving in. Soon there will be no hours left and I’ll be perfect! LOL3. What are you planning for dinner tonight?Hadn’t really thought about it – maybe a vegie fritatta. 4. How many meals do you make sure your having vegetables with?At the moment I am being slack. But have a big trip to the Farmers market planned for this Sunday so will make sure I have at least one massive serve of veg each day.5. Do you love to cook? Or would you rather eat someone else’s cooking or eat out??I really enjoy cooking, but not in the kitchen where I live now. I can’t wait to be back in my own kitchen. I also enjoy eating out but tend to make bad choeics when I do. :)

Izzy September 6, 2017 at 12:36

Thanks for sharing this – I think sun dried tomatoes one is my favourite !

Sakshi Kapoor December 18, 2017 at 11:42

Hi Sophie! Love your idea of how at once we can pamper our taste buds and take care of our health too. Nice recipe.

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