5 Veggies You Didn't Know You Could Cook in the Microwave


By: , – Sarah Kellner
  :  43 comments   :  71,218 Views

Microwaves are obviously the speediest (and therefore easiest) way to cook. But it turns out that shorter cook times can also help to preserve more of your veggies' natural nutrients. In fact, other cooking methods may deplete the nutritional value so much that your green beans basically lose all their green... metaphorically speaking, of course.

Some people believe microwaving vegetables zaps them of their vitamins and minerals. However, the main culprit of nutrient drain is actually water.

Conventional methods of boiling and steaming vegetables can cause them to lose more than half of their nutrients. Vitamins B, C and polyphenols--which have been linked to preventing cancer and cardiovascular disease--are especially vulnerable to solubility. Heat from cooking breaks down the thick cell walls of some plants, releasing nutrients as they are softened.

Because microwaves work by heating the moisture within food, the natural juiciness of vegetables works in your favor. After reading about these five microwavable veggies, you may never use your stove to cook them again!

Corn on the Cob
You're having a barbecue and your whole family is over. The neighbors' kids are playing in the yard. Everyone's having a great time, but the grill is too full of burgers to fit the sweet corn. Never fear--the microwave is here!

Here's the best part—you can even leave the husk on! It will insulate the natural juices and steam the ear on its own.

Microwave each ear for four minutes, carefully remove with a paper towel or mitt, take off the silk and husk, and voila! So moist, you won't even need butter!
If you're reading this during fresh corn season, don't forget to pick up some extra and freeze it. Microwaving is also a great method to enjoy ears of corn during the winter months.

When it comes to sophisticated vegetables, artichokes are totally in vogue. Whether you put them on a pizza, in a dip, with a remoulade or simply seasoned, artichokes are packed full of antioxidants and dietary fiber. They are also an excellent source of iron and copper, which are essential to red blood cell formation—which is especially important for women.

To cook artichokes in a microwave, rinse them and trim the pointy tips from the leaves. Remove the entire stalk.

Cut each artichoke in half. Rub the cut edges with lemon to prevent browning. Sprinkle a bit of salt on each cut side, and then place this side down in a microwave-safe bowl.

Pour a combination of ½ cup water and 1/3 cup olive oil into the bottom of the dish. This will add extra tenderness and flavor. Squeeze a bit more of the lemon on top.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap--this seal allows the artichoke to steam. Microwave for 7 minutes per large artichoke, or until tender.

Sweet Potato Chips
No deep frying, no guilt! Scrub one large sweet potato clean and remove any dark spots. Cut off the ends. Using a mandoline or slicer, create chips using the thinnest blade.

Toss these chips in a bowl with:
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground pepper

Coat each chip well. Don't be afraid to get your hands in there! Place chips in a single layer on a piece of parchment paper or flat tray. Microwave for 3½ to 4 minutes until crispy, keeping an eye out for however well done you like your chips. Repeat in batches. Serve with a healthy dip, or on their own!

Although kale is all the rage among foodies right now, raw kale just doesn't sit well with everyone's palate.

However, kale is called a "superfood" for a reason. This leafy green is high in vitamins A, C and K, dietary fiber, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium and health-promoting phytonutrients. It is a good source of iron, magnesium and other minerals, too. All these credentials make it hard to ignore! And a microwave can make kale even easier to incorporate into your family meals.

Be sure to begin with fresh kale. Cut off the thick stems, but keep the thin, tender ones and all the leaves. Place in a colander and rinse under cool running water, flipping and thoroughly removing any dirt. Shake a couple of times to remove excess water.

Chop leaves and remaining stems into bite-sized pieces. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and toss with a little salt and lemon juice.

Cover with a paper towel and microwave for about one minute per cup. The kale should be fully wilted when it's done.

Did you ever think you could make your own bread and butter pickles in less than ten minutes? Get ready to have your mind blown!

2 cups vinegar
1½ cup sugar
¼ cup pickling seasoning mix
½ of a white onion.
4 medium cucumbers

Slice the cucumber and onion into rounds. Toss everything together into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high until the onions are translucent-about 8 minutes. Store for up to three months in the refrigerator, and enjoy!
Every microwave is different, so cook times can vary. Play with the recipes, make them your own, and enjoy all the time you're saving by using that handy dandy microwave!

Sarah Kellner writes for Home Depot on cooking and home appliances. To view Home Depot's selection of microwaves that you might want to consider for your veggie cooking creations, click here.

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  • 43
    This was a fun read. I'd like to see more microwave food prep articles. - 8/18/2017   8:46:29 AM
  • 42
    The sweet potato chips sound great! - 8/7/2017   7:02:04 PM
  • 41
    I'm certainly going to try the sweet potato chips! Yum! - 8/3/2017   10:44:26 AM
  • 40
    And think not, you can direct the course of love;
    for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
    - Khalil Gibran - 7/31/2017   7:31:08 PM
  • 39
    great article - 7/30/2017   8:28:39 PM
    I probably would use the microwave with non organic foods for him but never on mine. It just seems to go against the whole thing of clean food. That should apply to how food is prepared also. - 7/30/2017   3:07:58 PM
  • 37
    Wow! I never knew you can cook corn in the microwave. - 7/30/2017   1:31:39 PM
  • 36
    I'm interested in trying the pickles. - 7/30/2017   11:11:37 AM
  • 35
    Thanks for the info! - 7/30/2017   7:52:48 AM
  • 34
    Good information, gotta try the pickles! - 7/29/2017   8:37:39 PM
  • 33
    Will be cooking my corn in the microwave from now on.... - 7/29/2017   7:43:16 PM
  • 32
    liked the blog can do WITHOUT the plug for Home Depot. Would rather have the hardware stores in my city that I had growing up.Would put homedepot to SHAME. As for punching the wall I would personalle be ashamed if I did NOT put my fist through the first go. I cannot allow the comment about cancer and micowave ovens to go unchallenged - microwave radiation is NOT IONIZING and I know what I am talking about!! One of the big real reasons more people are getting cancer and dementia is that they are living LONGER. PERIOD, - 7/29/2017   4:37:24 PM
  • DEBRA172
    Wow the pickles really surprised me! - 7/29/2017   2:52:43 PM
  • 30
    Never cooked corn any other way! - 7/29/2017   2:50:27 PM
  • 29
    Thanks for the Bread and butter pickles recipe I had no idea you could make them in the microwave. I love them I make them from scratch, but takes a while Thanks so much for sharing.. - 7/29/2017   1:55:55 PM
  • 28
    Thank you for such an interesting article ;)) I will be trying a few of these out very soon! - 7/29/2017   10:01:02 AM
  • 27
    Totally blown away by the pickles!!! - 7/29/2017   9:51:00 AM
  • 26
    I thinkni will try the corn. - 7/29/2017   8:18:09 AM
  • 25
    We have done corn in the microwave but never with the husk on. Something to try. - 7/29/2017   7:38:19 AM
  • 24
    WOW!! I can make B and B pickles in my microwave????????????? - 7/29/2017   7:33:48 AM
  • 23
    Don't forget whole regular potatoes. I play with timer to get a cooking time that yields a slightly crisp (not too soft) texture. Yum! - 7/29/2017   5:18:53 AM
    Please advise what wattage microwave you used. - 7/29/2017   1:22:42 AM
  • 21
    Learned lots from this article - 3/31/2017   1:56:06 PM
  • 20
    I knew about all except pickles. Very interesting. - 3/30/2017   12:14:09 AM
  • 19
    I didn't know you could make pickles in the microwave!
    - 3/21/2017   11:59:17 AM
  • 18
    Have to remember the sweet potato chip recipe. Will pick up a couple of sweet potatoes next week. I saw something like this with butternut squash however I can't figure out how to safely peel butternut squash. Any ideas? - 2/24/2017   12:49:48 AM
  • 17
    I haven't tried artichokes in the microwave, good suggestion - 2/22/2017   12:16:40 PM
  • 16
    Cooking corn in husk in the microwave is my favorite way in hot weather. Conserves water & makes for a much cooler kitchen! - 6/1/2016   3:18:39 AM
  • 15
    can't wait to try out some of these. - 5/26/2016   8:35:03 PM
  • 14
    I always use the microwave for corn on the cob (sometimes in their husk), but now I really want to try the sweet potato chips, kale and the bread and butter pickles (!!!) - 5/26/2016   1:25:22 PM
  • 13
    Can people just stop with the junk fad science? Microwaves cook food. Stoves cook food. Cooking food makes it nutritionally more available to our bodies. Microwaves do not irradiate food. - 12/14/2015   3:39:48 PM
    Why would anyone cook anything in a microwave? If you do your research you'll see that microwave cooking actually changes the molecular structure of foods, even water! Check out "water in a microwave" on UTube....
    I suppose most of you don't remember the warnings on microwaves in the past....regarding pacemakers and microwaves!
    - 2/24/2015   4:19:46 AM
  • 11
    If you get one idea out of an article that you will remember, it's well worth your time spent reading it. I love the idea of microwaving corn still in the husk! THANK YOU! - 2/21/2015   5:45:48 AM
  • 10
    Cancer in society as slowly crept up the list as a killer of Americans. What has changed that has made it do so?
    1) Industrialization - More pollution in the air because we want to make things faster; be more efficient.
    2) Additives to food - There are so many preservatives in food to keep them from going bad it isn't funny. Half the stuff you can't pronounce or have no clue what it is.
    3) Technology - They didn't have WiFi, Cell Phones or Microwaves back in the day.
    Look at this way: Go home and put an X on your wall. Punch that spot and walk away. No damage done. Do it again tomorrow. Probably still no damage. Eventually over time the wall will weaken and you will put a hole in it. Same thing with this stuff. Overtime, in a small unnoticeable way, it wrecks havoc. No study will prove it or disapprove because no one is willing to spend the time or money to study several individuals over the course of 40 years. I believe what I believe, you believe what you believe. - 2/20/2015   9:12:40 AM
  • 9
    Oh pulleeeeze I see the old furphy of radiated food is STILL around.

    Microwave ovens use radio waves at a specifically set frequency to agitate water molecules in food. As these water molecules get increasingly agitated they begin to vibrate at the atomic level and generate heat. This heat is what actually cooks food in the oven.

    Next to steaming, it's probably the healthiest way to cook food - 2/20/2015   3:52:29 AM
  • 8
    Pickles and sweet potato chips all in the microwave. I have sweet potatoes right now. This sounds great. I might even try the artichokes. - 2/19/2015   10:11:58 AM
  • 7
    A microwave oven, commonly referred to as a microwave, is a kitchen appliance that heats and cooks food by bombarding it with electromagnetic RADIATION in the microwave spectrum causing polarized molecules in the food to rotate and build up thermal energy in a process known as dielectric heating. It also takes a lot of nutrients out of your food. Old wives tale...afraid not. - 2/18/2015   5:42:27 PM
  • 6
    If your microwave is working correctly there is NO danger of "radiation"--old wives tale...! I've microwaved veggies for years! Never tried the sweet potato chips though...so will have to do that. Today I did beets... (whole, covered,15 min for five of them in 1" water; let sit until cool; peel...reheat or eat cold.) - 2/18/2015   5:29:41 PM
  • 5
    Yes, you need to microwave those pickles. If you do them the old fashioned way, you do have to bring them to a boil. - 2/18/2015   4:15:54 PM
  • 4
    I've never had artichoke before. I'm going to pick one up next time and use this recipe. Sounds pretty good. I love cooking corn, green beans, and kale in the "zapper" - 2/18/2015   2:15:44 PM
  • JNJ300
    Do you really need to microwave those pickles? I would just mix those ingredients and refrigerate - no microwaving. - 2/18/2015   10:56:24 AM
  • 2
    Any amount of radiation is bad for you so I don't use the microwave anymore. I stick to cooking the old fashioned way. - 2/18/2015   9:42:58 AM
    Yes! Corn cooked in their husks in the microwave is wonderful. I am looking forward to the sweet potato chips and kale. Haven't tried either one of these in the microwave.
    Thanks for the info! - 2/18/2015   12:24:21 AM

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