Updated: Sep 11
Steam ovens were originally designed to facilitate the production of large quantities of food in commercial settings so that foods could be cooked with precise results and less guesswork. Fine dining chefs also embraced steam ovens for the same reason, but also because the oven functions made many of the tasks associated with the preparation of food easier.
While steam ovens are wonderful for cooking specific types of food, the steam function can be used in the same way it is used in a professional kitchen to make the preparation of food easier.
Vegetable salads, for example, can make a great meal or side dish and because you can cook multiple foods at one time they are easy to prepare in a steam oven
What Type of Pan is Suitable for Steaming My Vegetables?
The Steam Mode in a steam oven has a default temperature setting of 212°F, the temperature at which water boils. For most foods, leaving the temperature at this setting will give the best results; however, the temperature can be lowered slightly when steaming more delicate foods. But equally important is the pan you use to steam your vegetables.
Steam ovens have a solid oven pan and a perforated pan for steaming and general cooking. Most vegetables including asparagus, snap peas, broccoli, green beans, carrots, corn on the cob and cubed potatoes are best cooked in the perforated pan. Leafy greens such as Bok choy, cabbage, kale and spinach can be cooked in the solid pan with a little added water or in the perforated pan.
The timing will be approximately the same as when steaming the vegetables over boiling water.
The Benefits of Steaming Vegetables in a Steam Oven
One of the many benefits of cooking in a steam oven is that there is no transfer of flavor of foods cooked in steam. Rather than juggle multiple pans on the cooktop you can steam grains such as rice or quinoa and steam vegetables at the same time or even fish or shellfish to create a vegetable, seafood grain bowl.
The other benefit is that you don’t have to worry about pots boiling over, and you can set the oven timer to alert you when the cooking time has elapsed; however, you do have to think through the timing. For example the cooking time for quinoa, orzo pasta or cubed potatoes is between 15 - 25 minutes. If you were adding some green vegetables that only require 6 minutes cooking time they should be added towards the end of the cooking time.
Another benefit is that you can easily steam foods that you plan to use for another meal at the same time. For example I like to steam some bone-in chicken thighs for salads and sandwiches and also because I can capture 1 - 2 cups of chicken stock.
I hope this simple salad recipe with steamed asparagus and snap peas will inspire you to begin taking advantage of using your steam oven as your sous chef to cook multiple dishes at one time.
Simple fresh vegetable salads pair well with many meals including Convection Broiled Salmon; check out my next post to learn more about this easy convection recipe.
Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast