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Looking for the best vegan steamer recipes? You’ve come to the right place! Embrace the magic of steaming, a gentle cooking method that preserves the natural goodness of ingredients, while exploring a diverse array of delicious, nutritious dishes. From vibrant vegetables to protein-packed creations, these dishes offer a flavorful and nutritious meal with minimal effort thanks to this simple cooking process.

A collage of four vegan steamer recipes including bok choy, pot pie, vegan wings, and vegan dumplings.

You’re probably familiar with the concept of steamed vegetables but did you know you can steam just about anything? From your favorite vegetables to proteins, and even dough, you can achieve incredible flavors and health benefits with the versatile art of steaming. The possibilities are endless. Embrace this gentle cooking process and unlock a world of culinary wonders right in your kitchen!

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How to steam food

Steaming food is a simple and healthy cooking technique that preserves ingredients’ natural flavors, nutrients, and textures. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or new to the world of steaming, follow these easy steps to achieve delicious and nutritious results: 

  1. Equipment: To get started, you’ll need a steamer basket or a bamboo steamer. Alternatively, an electric steamer or an Instant Pot with a steaming function can also be used. Make sure your steamer fits snugly over a pot or a water-filled base without touching the water. 
  2. Prepare Ingredients: Rinse and chop your ingredients into evenly sized pieces to ensure even cooking. This method works well for a wide variety of foods, including vegetables, proteins like tofu or seitan, and even dough for dumplings or buns
  3. Add Water: Fill the pot or the base of your steamer with water, leaving enough space to prevent it from boiling over when the water begins to boil. Bring the water to a gentle boil over medium heat. 
  4. Steam Time: Once the water is boiling, place the steamer basket or the bamboo steamer with the prepared ingredients on top. Cover with a lid to trap the steam. The cooking time will vary depending on the ingredients and their size, so keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking. 
  5. Check for Doneness: Use a fork or a knife to test if the ingredients are tender and fully cooked. Different vegetables and proteins will have varying steam times, so adjust accordingly. 
  6. Flavors and Seasonings: While steaming enhances the natural taste of ingredients, you can still add seasonings, herbs, or spices to elevate the flavors. A pinch of salt, a dash of soy sauce, or a drizzle of sesame oil and lemon juice can work wonders. 
  7. Serving: Once your food is perfectly steamed, remove it from the steamer and serve immediately. Steamed dishes are delightful on their own, or you can pair them with your favorite sauces or dressings for an extra burst of taste. Whether you opt for a Korean BBQ sauce, a zesty stir fry sauce, a sweet honey mustard dressing, or a cozy gravy, the options are endless!

Steaming is not only an easy and versatile cooking technique, but it also makes cleaning up a breeze as there’s no need for excess oil or fat that would stick to a pan. Incorporate steamed dishes into your daily meals to enjoy the full benefits of wholesome, nutrient-packed and flavorful food.

Is steamed food healthier?

Yes, steaming is considered one of the healthier cooking methods. It preserves the natural vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants present in the food. Unlike other cooking methods that involve high heat or prolonged cooking times, steaming minimizes nutrient loss, ensuring that the food retains its nutritional value.

Steaming also doesn’t require the use of added fats or oil, making it a lower-calorie option compared to frying or sautéeing. This can be beneficial for those looking to reduce their calorie intake or maintain a healthier diet.

Steamed broccoli in a metal steamer basket.

Is steaming vegetables faster?

Steaming vegetables is generally faster than some other cooking methods, such as boiling. The cooking time for steaming vegetables will vary depending on the type of vegetable and its size, but in general, steaming takes less time than boiling. This is because steaming uses direct contact with steam to cook the vegetables, while boiling requires bringing a larger volume of water to a boil and then submerging the vegetables in it. 

On the other hand, roasting may be faster than steaming for certain vegetables, as it involves higher heat and can result in quicker caramelization and browning. Ultimately, the best cooking method will depend on the specific vegetable and your desired outcome.

Which foods are not suitable for steaming?

Steaming is a great way to cook gently to maintain nutrients, but it’s not great for everything. Here are a few foods that don’t work out so well when it comes to the steaming process:

  • Foods with high water content: Foods that have a very high water content, such as watermelon, leafy greens, or cucumbers, are not ideal for steaming because they can become too mushy and lose their texture.
  • Foods with crispy or crunchy coatings: Foods with breading like nuggets, or these zucchini chips, should not be steamed. Additionally, fried foods like french fries are also not suitable for steaming as they’ll lose their crispiness when steamed.
  • Foods that require browning or caramelization: Steaming does not provide the same browning or caramelization that other cooking methods like roasting or grilling offer.
Sweet potato fries on serving plate with small bowl of honey mustard.

Do you need to use a steamer basket?

No, you don’t necessarily need to use a metal steamer basket to steam food. While collapsible steamer baskets are a common and convenient tool for steaming, there are other methods you can use to achieve the same results:

  • DIY Steamer – You can create a makeshift steamer using a large pot with a tight-fitting lid and a heat-safe plate or rack that fits inside the pot. Place water in the bottom of the pot and then set the plate or rack inside.
  • Microwave – You can also steam food in the microwave. Using a microwave-safe dish, add a little water to the bottom and place the food on top. Heat until the food is cooked through and tender.
  • Bamboo steamer rack – Another great option is a bamboo steam basket. They are traditional Asian cooking vessels made of woven bamboo placed over a pot or wok of boiling water with the food arranged inside the bamboo steamer’s compartments.
  • Electric steamer – If you have the counter space, you can get an electric steamer. These are countertop appliances designed specifically for steaming. They typically consist of multiple tiers or compartments, allowing you to steam different foods simultaneously.

There is no best way to steam food. Whichever method you use will be just as effective!

Can I use an Instant Pot to steam food?

Some Instant Pots, or electric pressure cookers, come with a steam setting and a steamer rack or basket accessory. If you already have a pressure cooker, there’s no need to invest in more than one steaming tool.

Many of the recipes below have guides on how to use the Instant Pot to steam!

Best Vegan Steamer Recipes

Welcome to our collection of the best vegan steamer recipes, where you’ll find an array of flavorful and nutritious dishes perfect for any weeknight meal. Steaming is a fantastic way to bring out the natural goodness of healthy foods, creating tender vegetables and satisfying vegan dinner recipes that make eating healthy enjoyable.

1. Vegan Buffalo Wings

Enjoy saucy, meaty, and tender homemade vegan “chicken” wings anytime—easy, no fuss with batter or deep frying—just incredible seitan wings with classic vegan buffalo sauce!

Vegan chicken wings on a platter.

2. Kale and Mushroom Filled Sweet Potato Tamales

Check out these tamales with delightful twist—Sweet Potato Tamales! Infused with the natural sweetness and flavor of sweet potatoes in the masa, they remain wonderfully textured and healthier. Filled with savory mushroom and kale, these tamales can be easily steamed in the instant pot and freeze well for a week-long treat. Perfect to share and savor!

A tamale slice in half with a fork lifting one of the halves off the plate.

3. Spicy Lentil Balls

Discover the goodness of easy, delicious, and gluten-free Dal-based protein balls. Packed with healthy ingredients and flavor, these steamed lentil balls make a perfect breakfast or evening snack.

A platter of steamed lentil balls next to cutlery.

4. Vegan Pepperoni

Crafting your own vegan pepperoni is not only effortless to prepare but also boasts an authentic taste! Whip up a batch for your upcoming pizza night and savor the flavor sensation.

A vegan pizza topped with vegan pepperonis.

5. Golden Sweet Steamed Buns with Raisins and Pecans

These delightful sweet steamed buns feature golden dough infused with sweet potato and a fluffy, light interior. Each bun is filled with a delicious blend of raisins, pecans, chia seeds, maple, and cinnamon, making them irresistible and leaving you eager for more. Though they may take a bit of time, they’re an adventurous recipe worth trying!

Sweet buns on steamer basket with one sliced in half showing the cut side.

6. Vegan Italian Sausages

Savor the juicy, meaty flavors of these vegan Italian sausages, a delight that even meat eaters will enjoy! Simple to make with basic ingredients, these versatile seitan sausages can be baked, grilled, or pan-fried for a filling meal.

Four vegan Italian sausages on a plate.

7. Vegan Broccoli Cheese Pot Pie

Vegan Broccoli Cheese Pot Pie is a cozy comfort food, featuring broccoli, potatoes, and carrots baked with a rich and creamy vegan cheddar cheese sauce in a buttery flaky crust.

A steamed broccoli cheese pot pie with a quarter of it sliced out.

8. Homemade Instant Khaman Dhokla

This homemade Khaman Dhokla recipe is a savory, spiced gram flour snack cake, ready in just 20 minutes, perfect for breakfast, tea time, or party appetizers. It’s also vegan and gluten-free, and can be steamed, baked, or microwaved.

Khaman Dhokla cut in squares on a plate.

9. Air Fryer Hash Browns

Love hash browns but not all the oil? Try this guilt-free and healthier alternative to greasy restaurant versions. These hash browns are flavorful and made from scratch without any unwanted additives.

Two round hash browns on a plate, served with a side of ketchup.

10. Instant Pot Potatoes and Carrots

Need an easy side dish? These steamed Potatoes and Carrots are a simple, yet delicious vegan side dish that brightens up any main meal, prepared with minimal ingredients, gluten-free and healthy.

Steamed potatoes and carrots in a bowl.

11. Steamed Pak Choi

In a mere 10 minutes, you can whip up this effortless and flavorful steamed pak choi, enhanced with a zingy ginger garlic dressing that adds a burst of delicious flavor.

Steamed pak choi on a plate.

12. Vegan Stir Fry Veggies

For something low-calorie and low-carb, this vegan stir-fry is the perfect choice! It features a combination of corn, pineapple, and steamed veggies coated in a mouthwatering sauce that makes it equally appealing as a main or healthy side dish. The perfect go-to recipe for a lazy or busy day!

Steamed stir fry veggies on a plate.

13. Vegan Vegetable Pot Stickers

Filled with vibrant veggies and flavorful spices, these potstickers boast a delightful contrast of crispiness at the bottom and a soft, sticky texture on top—making them a crowd-pleasing appetizer for your next gathering!

Steamed vegan potstickers on a plate, served with dipping sauce.

14. Sesame Broccoli with Garlic

For a quick an easy side dish, this Sesame Broccoli is my go-to easy recipe. Bursting with the flavors of garlic, sesame, and coconut aminos, it offers a delicious blend of sweet, salty, nutty, and garlicky goodness. Quick to prepare in under 20 minutes, you might find yourself finishing the entire bowl!

Steamed garlic broccoli.

15. Chee Cheong Fun (Steamed Rice Noodle Rolls)

Discover a simple, foolproof way to create perfect Chee Cheong Fun! Steamed and filled with crispy fried dough, these delectable rice noodle rolls are served with sweetened soy sauce and fried shallots, elevating your homemade dim sum to a whole new level!

Chee Cheong Fun on a serving platter.

16. Easy Seitan Recipe

This effortless basic seitan recipe made vital wheat gluten and a light seasoning is perfect for a myriad of dishes. From budget-friendly to easy-to-prepare, you can use it to create sandwiches, wraps, tacos, pizza, and even Seitan Bourguignon with incredible results!

Steamed seitan on a serving platter, cut and sliced.

17. Veg Momos

Explore the savory goodness of Veg Momos, delightful Tibetan dumplings that have become a favorite in Asian countries like India and Nepal. Simple to make and entirely vegan, these dumplings are sure to please your palate.

Momos on a plate with chopsticks holding one up.

18. Garlic Bok Coy

Discover the irresistible charm of this Garlic Bok Choy recipe – simple, quick, and oh-so-tasty. Delight in the bold garlic flavor and satisfying crunch of bok choy with your loved ones. Perfect for your diet plan meal!

Steamed garlic bok choy on a plate topped with garlic.

19. Instant Pot Bao Buns

Achieve perfection with steamed Bao Buns in the Instant Pot or Electric Pressure Cooker, yielding delightfully light and fluffy results every time.

Steamed bao buns in a bambo steamer basket.

20. Steamed Idli

Discover the quintessential South Indian breakfast – Idli, a comforting and healthy savory rice cake made by steaming a lentil and rice batter. Master the art of creating perfect, soft, and fluffy Idli in the Instant Pot with this easy-to-follow guide!

Steamed idli on a platter with a bowl of sauce and curry.

21. Steamed Frozen Vegetables

Embrace a healthier approach to enjoying vegetables with steamed frozen vegetables at mealtime. Simple to cook and tenderly delicious when steamed, this method retains nutrients far better than boiling, making it the ultimate choice for preparing any variety of frozen vegetables.

Steamed veggies in a bamboo steamer basket.

22. Instant Pot Steamed Dumplings

Craft delightful, flavorful dumplings with ease in the comfort of your home. Achieve piping hot perfection in no time by steaming them in a bamboo steamer over the Instant Pot.

A bamboo steamer basket filled with steamed dumplings.

23. Steamed Vegetable Salad Lunch Box

Ideal for lunch at work or a picnic in the park, this Steamed Vegetable Salad Lunch Box is brimming with various veggies, olives, and crunchy nuts. Customize this recipe to suit your dietary preferences and create delightful variations to enjoy throughout the week!

A clear glass container full of steamed veggies, pecans, and grapes.

24. Seitan Gyros

These vegan seitan gyros are hearty and flavorful, guaranteed to satisfy with their meaty texture and filling goodness. Topped with a creamy homemade tzatziki sauce, these gyros are a hit among both vegans and meat lovers alike.

A hand reaching for a vegan seitan gyro on a plate.

25. Vegan Hash with Sprouted Lentils

Whip up a nutritious vegan hash in just 25 minutes, brimming with an array of vegetables, sprouted lentils, and activated walnuts. This versatile dish can serve as a satisfying meal or a delightful side, perfect for gatherings, Thanksgiving, and Christmas celebrations. Best of all, it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, and oil-free!

A bowl of vegan hash with sprouted lentils.

We hope you’ve found a new favorite vegan steamer recipe! With these easy and delicious options, maintaining a healthy lifestyle has never been more enjoyable!

Which recipe do you want to try first? Let us know in the comments below!

Can’t decide where to start first? Dip your toes in with our easy steamed vegetable recipe below!

Steamed carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower on a plate.

Easy Steamed Vegetables

5 from 3 votes
Author: Rachel
Quick and easy steamed vegetables with carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, seasoned to perfection for a nutritious and delicious side dish.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup carrots sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder optional
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder optional
  • ½ teaspoon paprika optional

Instructions 

  • Rinse and chop the broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots into even, bite-sized pieces.
    1 cup broccoli florets, 1 cup cauliflower florets, 1 cup carrots
  • Add about an inch of water to a pot or a steamer basket and bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat.
  • Place the vegetables in the steamer basket, ensuring they are in a single layer to allow even cooking.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and steam the vegetables for about 5-7 minutes or until they are tender-crisp. Be careful not to overcook them, as you want to retain their vibrant colors and nutrients.
  • Transfer steamed vegetables to a serving bowl and drizzle with lemon juice. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste. You can also sprinkle them with garlic powder, onion powder, or paprika for extra seasoning.
    salt and pepper, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Toss the steamed vegetables gently to evenly distribute the seasoning and serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 30kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 261mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5507IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    So many good steamer recipes! I love the seitan gyros but I made the boy choy tonight and it was delicious too! Can’t wait to try them all!