Quick Answer: How to Steam Spinach in the Microwave
Sort and rinse the spinach leaves, and remove any dead or decaying parts. Put them in a microwavable safe plate or a bowl, then place that bowl in the microwave. Set the timer for 2 minutes and steam the spinach at a high temperature setting or microwave it till the leaves start to wilt.
This post gives a comprehensive guide on how to best steam spinach in the microwave.
From my personal experience, this technique works like magic.
So let’s get the ball rolling and soon you’ll find how easy it is to steam this green, leafy and iron-rich vegetable.
How to Prep Spinach for Microwaving?
Before steaming, it is important to note a few important things.
Freshly picked spinach from your garden or the store-bought spinach should be gently rinsed with cold water to remove any mud or dirt that might have stuck on to the leaves and stalks.
It is best to soak the spinach in the water for a minute or two. The yellow or brown, leaves and stalks should be removed as they indicate decay.
The stalks, if they are tough, should be trimmed using a knife or a pair of scissors, so that only the softer portions are left.
After soaking the leaves, you can pat them dry using a paper towel, but it is best to leave them slightly wet before microwaving.
No prep time needed if you buy the pre-washed, pre-packaged spinach.
How to Steam Spinach in the Microwave?
After prepping the spinach, place it in a microwavable safe plate or bowl, and depending upon the quantity of the spinach microwave it for about 2 or 3 minutes or until the leaves start to wilt.
Drain the water and serve.
- Spinach (about 4 to 6 ounces)
- Microwavable safe plate/bowl with a lid
- Prep the leaves : Separate the spinach leaves, rinse them and prepare them as described in the prep section.
- Chopping : You can either use longer leaves or place them on a chopping board and use a stainless steel knife to chop them into smaller pieces. The cooking time or the flavor is not altered by chopping the leaves.
- Using the microwavable bowl/plate : Place the leaves, which should be wet, in a microwavable bowl or a microwavable safe plate. You can also use a microwave-safe plastic bag as long as it has an outlet.
- Adding water : If you are using the dried pre-washed spinach then add one tablespoon of water to the bowl.
- Putting the bowl/plate in the microwave : Cover the bowl/plate with the glass lid or a microwave safe plastic wrap but make sure it has an outlet. Put the bowl in the microwave.
- Adjusting the microwave settings : Switch on the microwave. Set the timer for 2 minutes at around 165 degrees Fahrenheit or on the highest heat setting and steam the spinach till the leaves start to wilt.
- Rest time : Before taking the spinach out, allow it to rest for a minute after the timer goes off.
- Draining and storing : After taking it out, drain any residual water and immediately serve. You can use airtight containers or resealable plastic bags if you wish to store it in the freezer for future use.
Check out some other great tips for steaming spinach at:
Tips to Remember while Steaming Spinach in the Microwave
- Don’t use containers unless you’re sure that they are microwave-safe.
- Before covering the microwavable safe plate or bowl, make sure the lids have a small outlet/vent for the excess moisture to escape. This will help the spinach to cook evenly. According to Joshua of ‘microwave meal prep’ when using a microwave-safe plastic bag, ensure that it has an outlet.
- Do not rush the process by overfilling the container with spinach as it will not get evenly steamed. Cook the excess spinach in batches.
- Do not overcook the spinach in the microwave as the leaves will turn dark and might lose their essential nutrients.
How Long does it take to Steam Spinach in the Microwave?
Steaming spinach in the microwave is a very fast method. The cooking time is short as compared to preparing spinach on a stove. In the microwave, it takes about 2 to 3 minutes.
Time taken, depends on the amount of spinach and the type of spinach that is in the bowl, generally spinach cooks quickly, the baby spinach, with its small-sized tender leaves cooks very quickly.
The cooking time also varies according to the type of microwave used.
Pro tip: Joshua of ‘microwave meal prep’1, recommends steaming 12 ounces of spinach for 2½ minutes in a 750-watt microwave and for 2 minutes in an 850-watt microwave
Is it Safe to Cook Spinach in the Microwave?
It is perfectly safe to cook spinach in a microwave. For best results, it is better to eat spinach right after steaming it.
Unlike boiling , steaming spinach in the microwave preserves the nutrients, and steaming is a low-fat cooking method if done only using water.
Alternate Ways to Steam Spinach
1) Using a microwave steamer: Place the spinach in the steaming tray and make sure it is evenly distributed.
Pour enough water in the base so that it covers the bottom, one can also add wine or vegetable stock or seasonings to give a distinct flavor to the spinach, when it steams.
Now place the tray onto its base, then lift the lid and open the vent and then simply place it in the microwave and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
The cooking time as mentioned above may vary according to the quantity and type of spinach or according to the make and wattage of the microwave.
2) Steaming on the stove: Place the leaves in a skillet or a saucepan and then add 2 tablespoon of water.
Set the stove on medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes or till the leaves start to wilt then remove the pan from the stove.
How to Store Steamed Spinach?
Steamed spinach can be stored for longer periods in the freezer. It has to be kept in airtight containers. Make sure to drain extra water so that leaves don’t turn mushy.
How to Use Steamed Spinach?
Steamed spinach has a bland taste, so to make it tasty, you can season it with soy sauce, tofu, sesame seeds, and even feta cheese.
Before steaming the spinach, you can also add lemon juice, garlic and butter as per your taste, so that the spinach gets infused with these flavors.
You can use the steamed spinach in pasta, you can serve it with buttered toast or with a poached egg.
No, steamed spinach should not be reheated at high temperatures in the microwave.
It can be warmed slightly in the microwave but it should be noted that reheating green vegetables brings down their nutritional content.
As the food, or in this case spinach is placed inside the microwave, the moisture in the spinach will turn to steam which will, in turn, cook the spinach and not damage the microwave, but be aware that if the lid of the container is not removed carefully, it can scorch your hands, arms or face because the steam build-up is quite intense.
I hope this guide helps you in steaming spinach in the microwave with relative ease.
If you have any queries or remarks, please let us know via comments or mail. We look forward to any tips or tricks that can be further added to this guide.
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