When microwaves first came into our homes in the 1980s, we marveled at how it only took a minute or two to warm up soup versus the 5 or more minutes it took on the stove. Then we discovered that you can actually cook in a microwave!
There are two great things about cooking in a microwave:
- Energy-efficient – Microwaves save energy by only warming the food that’s inside of it rather than heating the rest of your home.
- Healthy – Some cooking techniques, like boiling, are unhealthy. Yet microwaves let vegetables and fruits—as well as other foods—keep much of the healthy minerals and vitamins that we need.
But what are some healthy foods that can be cooked in this fabulous little appliance? We’re glad you asked! Keep reading for we’ve listed the ten best foods to cook in a microwave.
Fresh Spinach – This veggie’s loaded with nutrients and can be cooked in your microwave in less than one minute. You can’t get any faster than that! How about topping some spinach leaves with a bit of peanut vinaigrette and peanuts sprinkled on top of that? Sounds good, right? Cook on high for 30 seconds and it’s ready to eat. Or how about this recipe?
- Toss one or two large handfuls of spinach on a microwave-safe plate.
- Lightly spray with olive oil cooking spray.
- Scatter a few drops of balsamic vinegar and a dash of pepper on top and microwave on high for just 20 seconds.
Corn on the Cob – Who doesn’t love corn on the cob during the summer? To cook them in the microwave you must peel and rinse each corn cob first. Put the corn cobs on a microwave-safe dish and cook on high 4-5 minutes for each corn cob you cook. For example, if you’re cooking 4 corn cobs, microwave on high for 16-20 minutes. Instead of drizzling butter on the corn, you could try squeezing some fresh lime juice on your corn cob like the Mexicans do.
Brown Rice – This is the healthier of the rice and surprisingly easy to cook in the microwave. First, you must rinse the rice 3 times or until the water isn’t dirty-looking anymore. Why? If you don’t wash off the starch, the brown rice will boil over. In a large microwaveable bowl, pour 1 part rice to 4 parts water. For instance, if you pour in ½ cup of brown rice you’ll need 2 cups of water; 1 cup of brown rice, pour in 4 cups of water and so on. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or a tight-fitting lid and cook on high for 8-10 minutes or until the water boils. Remove the cover carefully—the steam is very hot and could burn you! Cook for another 20 minutes, uncovered, or until much of the water is gone. Transfer the bowl to a countertop and let it rest, covered, until any excess water is soaked up. Depending on your microwave wattage, you may have to play around with the cook times a bit, but you should have fluffy rice every time!
Soybeans – Also called edamame, this little delectable veggie’s fiber-packed and protein-rich and can be enjoyed with a meal or as a snack. If you’re going to use fresh soybeans, wash them in cold water thoroughly; frozen edamame needs to thaw for about one hour. Using a microwave-safe bowl, pour in ½ cup of water for every 5 oz. of edamame you cook. Microwave for 6 minutes on high; the beans should easily come out of their pods and be tender but have a bite to them. Transfer to a dish and sprinkle with some salt—voilà!
Eggs – Yes, eggs are healthy for you and there are a variety of ways to prepare them in the microwave. But the healthiest is to poach them because you don’t need to add any fat. In a microwavable bowl, pour ½ cup of water and slide the egg in; it should be underwater. With a knife, gently prick the yolk’s center. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and nuke on high for 1 minute. A perfect poached egg!
Oatmeal – For many this is the breakfast of champions! But we aren’t referring to the instant packet stuff. We’re talking about quick-cooking oats mixed with low-fat milk and chopped fruit of your choice. Cook on high for just 4 minutes in your microwave for a tasty breakfast. Here’s a quick recipe you can try:
- ½ c. of oatmeal, dried
- 1 tbsp. of walnuts, chopped
- 1 banana, chopped
- 1 tbsp. of pumpkin butter
- ½ tsp. of cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. of flaxseed, ground (optional)
- ¾ c. of low-fat milk
In a microwave-safe bowl, blend oatmeal, milk and banana. Cook in the microwave on high for roughly 3 minutes (if you’re using Old-Fashioned Oats you’ll need to cook this longer). Your oatmeal should be soft and warm; the fruit should smell deliciously sweet.
When it’s cooked, mix in the walnuts, optional flaxseed, pumpkin butter and cinnamon. Enjoy!
Fruit “Cobbler” – Yes, fruit cobbler can be healthy! Put bite-sized pieces of fruit in a microwave-safe bowl. You can use frozen or fresh apple chunks, strawberry pieces, banana slices, peach slices, blueberries, etc. if you use frozen fruit, be sure to thaw them first. You could even use more than one fruit in your cobbler. Next, put the bowl into your microwave on high; you want the fruit to be soft and warm so, depending on your choice of fruit, this could be anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 or more minutes. Again, you’ll have to experiment with the microwaving time. When the fruit is soft and hot, sprinkle it with granola and spoon a dab of fat-free whip cream on top. Yummy!
Fresh Green Beans – If these are cooked right, they’ll look and taste like you steamed them! Wash the beans thoroughly and place on a microwavable dish. Nuke on high for about 1 minute for each handful of beans or until the beans are bright green. You’ll discover that these are tastier than the canned variety!
Popcorn – No, we’re not talking about the microwave popcorn like Pop Secret that you buy in your grocery store—that stuff is unhealthy. But real popcorn is a whole grain so it’s a nutritious snack. Select a popcorn that’s low-sodium, low-fat, microwavable and cook it according to the package directions.
Whole Wheat Couscous – For those of you who’ve never heard of couscous, it’s a Mediterranean grain that’s essentially very tiny pasta. Boil 1¼ cups of water in a medium-sized microwavable bowl for 2-3 minutes on high. Once it’s boiling, pout in 1 cup of couscous, stir then cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and plate. If you’d like to jazz up your couscous, there are a bunch of terrific recipes you can try!
There are more great foods that can be cooked in your microwave but we just couldn’t list them all here. Don’t forget that your microwave will need upkeep; so please contact us for preventative maintenance or repairs.