Steamed cauliflower is a wonderfully easy and nutritious dish. Top with a bit of salt and/or pepper, a pat of butter to meld with its earthy flavor, a sprinkle of soy sauce or tamari for something simple yet delicious, a drizzle of toasted sesame oil to bring out its nuttiness. Steaming cauliflower is super easy – whether you do it in a pan, with a steamer, or in a microwave.
How to Steam Cauliflower in a Pan
This is by far my favorite way to steam cauliflower.
It involves one dish, real steam, great tasting cauliflower:
- Bring about 1/4 inch of water to a boil in a large frying pan.
- Add about 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt and trimmed and cleaned cauliflower florets.
- Cover and steam until as tender as you like (about 3 minutes for crisp-tender and up to 8 minutes for completely cooked, soft florets).
How to Steam Cauliflower in a Steamer Basket
The classic method of steaming uses a steamer basket or insert:
- Bring about an inch of water to a boil in the bottom of a pot into which your steamer basket or insert fits.
- Put trimmed and cleaned cauliflower florets in the steamer basket.
- Set over the boiling water, cover, and steam until tender to the bite, again about 3 for crisp-tender and up to to 8 minutes for fully tender florets.
How to Steam Cauliflower in a Microwave
Steaming cauliflower in a microwave is certainly quick and convenient. It is definitely more difficult to get vegetables steamed to a precise and even level of doneness, though, and cauliflower steamed in a microwave may require a bit of draining or drying depending on how much liquid you used and how powerful your microwave is:
- Put freshly washed cauliflower florets with water still clinging to them in a large bowl, a small pool of water should form in the bottom of the bowl quite quickly. If you don't see water in the bottom of the bowl, add a tablespoon of water.
- Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid or plate (avoid plastic wrap in microwaves), and cook on high power for 1 minute.
- Test for tenderness and repeat at 15-second intervals until the cauliflower is steamed to your liking.