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Reheating Steamed Vegetables – A Simple How-to Guide

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Vegetables should appear in almost every meal you cook at home. They are abundant, cheap, good for you, and delicious! Sometimes we can be a bit over-zealous when it comes to portioning for dinner, or you might have cooked a bit extra to have lunch for the next day. 

Whatever the reason might be for having leftover steamed vegetables, the question is how do you reheat them? Reheating leftover steamed vegetables can be done either in the microwave, on the stove or in the oven.

However, to ensure that the steamed vegetables retain their taste and do not turn into mush, there are some tricks to reheating them.

Read on for different ways of reheating steamed vegetables and some more tips and tricks for each of the methods!

Reheating Steamed Vegetables in the Microwave

Reheating steamed vegetables in the microwave is the quickest way to get the job done. You do not want to leave the vegetables in the microwave for too long, to overcook, but you need to leave them in long enough to warm up again.

reheating steamed vegetables

As all microwaves have different power levels, the rule of thumb is to heat the steamed vegetables in the microwave until they reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature throughout the heating. 

A good tip to heating steamed vegetables in the microwave is to cover them with plastic wrap, which acts as a steam mechanism itself and prevents any extra moisture from leaving the vegetables, which keeps them both tasty and with all the health benefits they boast.

Reheating Steamed Vegetables in the Oven

Generally, steamed foods do not do well when heated in the oven, but steamed vegetables are an exception. You will need to reheat them on low heat, keeping the oven at around 200-250 degrees Fahrenheit to not burn them or heat them too fast to a mush.

vegetables in oven

To protect the steamed vegetables from both drying out and from becoming soggy, you should cover the vegetables with foil until the last few minutes of reheating. Another handy trick to remember is to not overfill the baking tray and instead spread the vegetables out evenly on the tray, to stop them from becoming soggy.

It should take roughly 10 minutes for steamed vegetables to heat up in the oven. Vegetables tend to heat up quicker than meat, so be sure to check them every few minutes, and then remove the foil for a few minutes in the end.

Reheating Steamed Vegetables on the Stove

The stovetop is a great place to reheat steamed vegetables, it takes next to no time and really does keep the flavor and texture of the steamed vegetables. You will not be re-steaming the vegetables, as this would cause them to become too soft and soggy.

vegetables in pan

Instead, heat a little bit of olive oil in a frying pan on low to medium heat, which helps to prevent over-cooking, and throw in your steamed vegetables. Toss the vegetables around for a few minutes in the frying pan to heat them evenly, and add a squeeze of lemon juice for some extra flavor.

How to Store Steamed Vegetables to Reheat Later

The key to ensuring that your steamed vegetables taste great when reheated is to store them properly. Shoving them in the fridge on a dinner plate won’t do, it takes a little more care than that. Here are some tips to follow when storing steamed vegetables in the refrigerator:

  • Remove the steamed vegetables from the steamer as soon as possible. If you know that you will not be eating the steamed vegetables then, and are planning to reheat them the next day, take them off the steamer a minute or so before they are ready. This leaves them al dente and ensures they do not become too soft when warmed up.
  • If there is a large number of steamed vegetables, take them off the heat source and place them in a large shallow dish, which allows the heat to dissipate quicker, allowing the steamed vegetables to cool quicker and preventing any further cooking.
  • Avoid leaving the steamed vegetables out for too long, and do not leave them out overnight.
  • Make sure that the steamed vegetables are cooled completely before placing them in the fridge. If the vegetables are still hot when placed in the fridge, it could raise the temperature inside the refrigerator and create a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • You can choose to use either lidded containers or freezer bags to store your steamed vegetables in. Freezer bags work well as space savers in the fridge, as they can be stored flat or standing up.
  • Keep the steamed vegetables away from other food, especially raw meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and seafood. If the steamed vegetables come into contact with other food sources, it could lead to food poisoning. Cross-contamination should be avoided.
  • Only place steamed vegetables in the fridge if you know you are going to eat them in a day or two. If you are planning to eat them later than this, you should place the steamed vegetables in a freezer bag or freezer-friendly container and place them in the freezer.

Why Steamed Vegetables Are Better

There are so many different ways to cook vegetables, but some are definitely more beneficial than others. Steaming is a popular method used to prepare vegetables, and for good reason. Here is why you should steam your vegetables, even if it is for reheating later on.

steamed vegetables

Less Waste

When you boil vegetables in water, around 20 to 50 percent of the minerals and vitamins can go to waste, being thrown away with the water that the vegetables were boiled in. When steaming vegetables, you reduce this waste by half, as the minerals and vitamins are retained in the vegetables, and do not seep into the water.

Texture

Steaming vegetables is one of the best ways to ensure that the vegetables retain a crunchy texture and hold onto their vibrant color. If you time the steaming right, your vegetables will not be overcooked, bland and have a dull color.

Time-Saving

Steaming vegetables does not take long at all. There are methods to steam vegetables on the stove or in the microwave, and if you get started with already boiling water, vegetables can steam through in a few minutes.

It obviously depends on the vegetables you are steaming, with broccoli and cauliflower taking longer than vegetables such as spinach and peas, but all can be steamed properly in under 10 minutes.

Reheating Steamed Vegetables

Vegetables are just all-round good for you, and steaming your vegetables is one of the best ways to ensure you are getting the most nutrients and vitamins from your vegetables.

When it comes to reheating your steamed vegetables, you can choose to either use the microwave, the stove or the oven, being sure to not overheat your vegetables, which could lead to them being soggy and very soft.

Steaming some extra vegetables to keep for lunch the next day is a great way to motivate yourself to eat healthier, and reheating steamed vegetables is easy enough to do at lunchtime!

Related Questions

Can I Reheat Spinach?

Reheating spinach can be a little trickier than reheating other steamed vegetables. Spinach wilts and reduces very quickly, and reheating steamed spinach can turn it into a sloppy mess.

If you have some leftover spinach, there are two ways you can eat it.

  1. One would be to eat the spinach cold. This might not sound too appetizing, but cold spinach with a splash of lemon juice is actually pretty delicious!
  2. Another option is to add the cooked spinach into a pasta salad or casserole right near the end of cooking.

This way the spinach can be eaten cold in the pasta salad, or heated up with the rest of the ingredients in the casserole, avoiding it becoming any soggier than it already is.

Is It Safe to Eat Reheated Vegetables?

It is completely safe to eat reheated vegetables which have been steamed, as long as the vegetables have been kept safely in the fridge, have not spoiled and are reheated properly. 

How Long Can I Keep Steamed Vegetables in the Fridge?

It is generally okay to keep steamed vegetables in the fridge for up to 2 days. If you are keeping your vegetables for longer than this, you should store them in the freezer. It is important to ensure that the steamed vegetables in the fridge do not come into contact with other food in the fridge, especially raw meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy.

How Can I Thaw Frozen Steamed Vegetables?

There are three different ways to thaw frozen steamed vegetables.

  1. You can place the frozen vegetables in the fridge overnight and leave them to thaw, this is a safe and slow thawing process but ensures that your vegetables will be in the best condition.
  2. Another way is to immerse the freezer bag of frozen vegetables in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes until thawed.
  3. Otherwise, you can defrost the frozen vegetables in the microwave, set on defrost on low power. This is a quicker option but can lead to soggy vegetables.

Up Next: How To Freeze Broad Beans – The Best Way

One Comment

  1. Hi Jaron
    I love to blanch and shock my vegetables for great colour and a bit of crunch, but I’ve struggled to find the best and simplest way of re-heating them. A lot of people suggest the brief saute in a pan method, but I don’t always want sauteed vegetables.

    Lately I’ve been experimenting with simply putting them into hot water at around 65 to 75 degrees celsius for 10 minutes or so, and this results in no loss of colour or crunch (it’s just below the temperature that most veges need to cook, as far as I understand it). It works. So, I ask myself, why can’t I find any reference to others using the same or similar method? Is there some food poisoning risk in it or something? I haven’t got sick from it yet. So I really don’t understand.

    Any ideas?
    Cheers
    Simon (from NZ)

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