steamed veggie toppings
May 7, 2007 3:07 PM   Subscribe

I've been steaming a lot of veggies lately, much quicker than cooking them. I usually top them with tomato sauce/mozzarella and some spices. I'm getting kinda sick of tomato sauce, what are some alternative toppings?
posted by parallax7d to Food & Drink (44 answers total) 96 users marked this as a favorite
Peanut sauce! All hail the steamed veggies with peanut sauce. You can usually get it in glass jars or bottles in the Thai condiments aisle. I could live on the stuff.
posted by rdc at 3:17 PM on May 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

vinaigrette salad dressing

any other salad dressing you like

olive oil and vinegar

tamarind sauce

cream of whatever soup, made extra thick

lemon juice

any of this with toasted pine nuts (pignolas)
posted by amtho at 3:19 PM on May 7, 2007

Hot bacon dressing
Dijon vinaigrette
posted by Lyn Never at 3:25 PM on May 7, 2007

lemon juice is sometimes enough, actually. And I like them with a little bit of parmesan or romano too.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:28 PM on May 7, 2007

I put soy sauce on a lot of my steamed veggies and I love it. It makes it seem like I'm eating a stir-fry and has made a lot of previously unpalatable veggies my new favorite foods.
posted by triggerfinger at 3:28 PM on May 7, 2007

Don't forget -- veggies au naturale! Seriously, try them with nothing on them. Especially if you get really fresh, wonderful vegetables.
posted by amtho at 3:32 PM on May 7, 2007

Bragg's Liquid Aminos will give you a shot of protein and it tastes basically like soy sauce (salty). Love the stuff, but people will look at you like you belong on a commune.
posted by scratch at 3:33 PM on May 7, 2007

For authentic stir fry taste be sure to add a dash of sesame seed oil.

Most of the above has it covered, but I'd like to add Thai red pepper sauce or curry paste as options.
posted by zek at 3:34 PM on May 7, 2007

I like a lot of vegetables steamed with a little lemon juice and some kosher salt sprinkled on. Asparagus is great this way.
posted by Justinian at 3:34 PM on May 7, 2007

Curry, oil/butter with a dash of water, salt and garlic*, bechamel (cheese sauce), the above-mentioned peanut sauce.

*if you try sweating your veggies they make their own sauce...

The distinction between sweating and sautéing is an important one, because sautéing, with its emphasis on high heat and rapid cooking, is designed to seal the flavor of the vegetables within the vegetables, while sweating, which is cooking over low heat, is designed to get the vegetables to release their flavor so that it ultimately ends up in the surrounding liquid. Traditional directions for sweating vegetables call for covering the pan so the moisture and aroma from the vegetables is entrapped and the vegetables don't have a chance to brown. But for some dishes, it's useful to first cook the vegetables gently, covered, and then remove the lid and allow the vegetables to slowly caramelize before adding liquid. This caramelization gives soups and sauces a richer and more complex flavor and a deeper color.
posted by lekvar at 3:34 PM on May 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Steamed veggies in cheese sauce is total comfort food for me.
posted by pompomtom at 3:35 PM on May 7, 2007

Old Bay - nummy.
posted by iconomy at 3:42 PM on May 7, 2007

- sweet chili sauce
- garam masala
- lime juice
- cayenne pepper flakes
(You can also mix any of the above. Or, for a more subtle flavor, add your preferred ingredients to the steam liquid rather than directly onto the veggies.)
posted by rob511 at 3:43 PM on May 7, 2007

Most of the above has it covered, but I'd like to add Thai red pepper sauce or curry paste as options.

I really don't think you want to add Thai curry paste (as in the stuff used to make a Thai green or red curry) on top of veggies. About a teaspoon or 2 is enough to spice enough Thai curry for 4-5 people and have it come out pretty spicy.
posted by !Jim at 3:44 PM on May 7, 2007

unfiltered olive oil, minced garlic, and a bit of cracked pepper.
posted by kaseijin at 3:47 PM on May 7, 2007

lemon juice + lemon pepper is my new favorite on steamed veggies (esp. broccoli and asparagus)
posted by slowfasthazel at 3:47 PM on May 7, 2007

With broccoli I like to add soy sauce and ginger or garlic powder. I like to add a little cumin or just some black pepper on peas (but I love peas and I love eating them in aaaall forms!). For green beans I like to add a little worcestershire sauce and horseradish (sometimes I'll make a sauce out of worcestershire, horseradish and a little mayonnaise). Those are my favorite steamed veggies and my favorite toppings for them, but I also like experimenting!
posted by srah at 3:48 PM on May 7, 2007

Great suggestions. I've been marking the ones that have protein, not to say they are the "best" answers as almost everything sounds delicious.
posted by parallax7d at 3:54 PM on May 7, 2007

Tahini and lemon juice makes great basic sauce for veggies, as does a good, thick teriyaki sauce. Also, if your priority is quick, easy cooking, try this with just about any fresh vegetable, but especially asparagus, carrots and zucchini:

-put a piece of foil on a cookie sheet
-lay veggies in a single layer on top and brush with olive oil (or toss them with the oil beforehand)
-sprinkle on salt and (lots of) fresh-ground pepper
-cook in the oven for ~10 minutes at 400, turning halfway through and optionally putting it on Broil for last 2min or so.

Put the veggies on your plate, the foil in the recycle bin, and the cookie sheet back in the cabinet. Doesn't really get any easier, and the roasted vegetables are a very nice change if you're used to steamed. No sauce required, but a little parmesan can be good.

There's also an all-purpose seasoning mix called Spike that I use a lot when I don't feel like getting fancy.
posted by contraption at 3:54 PM on May 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Try a miso-based sauce, such as this one. Miso will also provide protein.

A bit of lemon juice and sumac is also good over steamed veggies.

Instead of mozzarella, try crumbling feta over the veggies. For added yumminess, put steamed veggies in an ovenproof dish, top with crumbled feta and brown under broiler.
posted by needled at 4:24 PM on May 7, 2007

I like to do a drizzle of olive oil, and then garlic salt and lemon pepper. It's pretty much the quickest thing possible :)
posted by crinklebat at 4:25 PM on May 7, 2007

-Cheese (or a sauce made from it)

-A dash of balsamic vinegar

-A tablespoon of dark sesame oil, with a teaspoon of soy sauce, and bit of ginger and sesame seed.

-A dusting of gound cardamom, coriander (leaf or seed), cumin, cayenne and a dash of salt with some fresh chopped green onion.
posted by deinemutti at 4:28 PM on May 7, 2007

I'll nth au-natural. Particularly delicious this way is steamed eggplant (aubergine) sliced thickly with just a little bit of salt sprinkled on top.

Just curious, since you're marking the ones that offer protein as "best answers" -- are you a vegetarian looking to increase protein intake? Because tofu steamed with ginger and scallions, then drizzled liberally with tamari sauce, is an excellent source of protein too. Also, my mom once steamed lentils (an okay source of protein when matched with brown rice), rather than cooking them normally. To do this, she sprouted them first. They were absolutely delicious, but I've never been able to get them to come out right. But so good, it's well worth trying it anyway.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:29 PM on May 7, 2007

Tahini mixed with soy sauce and a bit of lemon, and if you like, season it further with ginger/scallions/whatever you want.
posted by bassjump at 4:33 PM on May 7, 2007

Salsa, maybe with a bit of cheddar.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 4:42 PM on May 7, 2007

Karam's Garlic Sauce could make wood chips seem like a taste treat.

Available at stores in the Puget Sound region and easily shipped anywhere.
posted by donovan at 4:48 PM on May 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

A mixture of minced garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Especially good on mushrooms, but it's so tasty it's good on any vegetable.

Melted butter with some freshly minced green herbs, e.g. chives, parsley, chervil, basil etc.

A marsala reduction, especially good with broccoli and mushrooms.

A reduction of white wine and cream, with a sprinkling of herbes provençales.

A mixture of spinach, red bell pepper and ricotta or mascarpone.
posted by lioness at 5:32 PM on May 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Mmm, pesto on veggies is great.

Also, try some brown butter (throw in a little fresh sage, if you like). Great on pasta, too.

lioness's suggestion of white wine + cream is also good. Great with a little dijon mustard, too (I like that over asparagus, especially!).
posted by scody at 5:41 PM on May 7, 2007

Goddess dressing, a tahini based dressing.

Furikake is a Japanese topping with toasted sesame seeds and nori. I buy it at the international grocery store -- be careful, there are several flavors, some of which have msg added.
posted by yohko at 5:46 PM on May 7, 2007

Butter, parmesean cheese and a little cracked black pepper. Num.
posted by bonheur at 6:01 PM on May 7, 2007

Sesame salt -- 3 parts toasted sesame seeds, 1 part salt. Whir in food processor or blender until the sesame seeds are finely ground. It's delicious on just about everything, and I've found that I can use about the same amount of sesame salt that I would normally use of regular salt, thus dramatically reducing sodium intake while upping the flavour.

I also make a dressing of rice vinegar, orange juice, soy sauce, ginger, and a little sesame oil. It's fantastic on all kinds of green vegetables -- most commonly asparagus and broccoli, in my house, but we've liked it on spinach, green beans, and raw cabbage, as well.
posted by meghanmiller at 6:39 PM on May 7, 2007

Soy sauce, feta cheese, and something I found in the supermarket called "Mongolian Fire Oil". Mmmmm.
posted by ontic at 6:56 PM on May 7, 2007

Sriracha+a bit of mayo.
posted by oflinkey at 6:59 PM on May 7, 2007

salt + pepper + parmesean = really nice on asparagus
posted by beandip at 7:34 PM on May 7, 2007

Lots of great suggestions here. I'll just add that while lemon juice is nice, lemon butter is much, much better. I like it on veggies, fish, whatever; it's simple to make and can work with lots of additions like garlic, rosemary, white wine, etc. Here's a recipe I recommended in this thread about sauces for fish, which has lots of ideas you can use for steamed veggies, too:

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Mix in the juice from one lemon or the grated zest (the outer rind, which has tons of flavor), a teaspoon each of salt and fresh pepper, parsley flakes, and 3 cloves minced garlic. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir about 10 minutes, until thickened. Then pour over your steamed veggies. Yum.

If you haven't, check the 'sauce' tag for more.
posted by mediareport at 7:40 PM on May 7, 2007

Soy Vay - the Veri Veri Teriyaki in particular.
posted by omnidrew at 8:10 PM on May 7, 2007

Add some hummus to the tomato sauce with some rosemary and thyme -- makes for a great tomato cream sauce that's healthy, delicious, and vegan too!
posted by greatgefilte at 9:53 PM on May 7, 2007

Get some Korean red-pepper paste (gochu jahng, roughly). A Korean grocery'll have it -- usually in various sizes of resealable plastic tubs.

Mix a couple of tablespoons of it with: crushed sesame seeds, a splash of sesame oil, unbleached sugar to taste, enough of a splash of apple vinegar to make it thickish but runny, very finely chopped or crushed garlic to taste.

This sauce is also very very nice on cold thin wheat noodles, mixed with finely chopped cucumber and chopped kimchi. Mix it all up, throw a hard-boiled egg in the bowl, go to town.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:28 AM on May 8, 2007

posted by kc0dxh at 8:06 AM on May 8, 2007

Crumbled hard-boiled egg (pushed through a sieve for perfection or just crumbled with a fork) is delicious on any kind of green beans.

Toasted nuts, e.g. pine nuts, peanuts, cashews etc. will give a nice contrast of texture. You can also combine your steamed vegetables with some fresh vegetables for the same effect.

After trying all the suggestions in this thread, you could make some variations on tomato sauce:

- A mix of cubes of deseeded and skinned tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, toasted pine nuts and a copious amount of fresh pepper. You can add small cubes of red onion if you like. Heat some olive oil and just before serving, pour the oil on the mixture as to keep the fresh tomato taste, but still have it warmed through. (I also add bacon bits, but I assume you're vegetarian.)

- A simple tomato sauce with the addition of white wine, simple and delicious. I also add some button mushrooms (and chicken).

- A simple tomato sauce with the addition of cream, not that healthy but tasty nonetheless.

- A sauce provençale, a tomato sauce with loads of bell pepper and basil, thyme and oregano.

- Roasted tomatoes instead of a tomato sauce.
posted by lioness at 8:29 AM on May 8, 2007

Mixing tomato sauce about half and half with creamy caesar salad dressing yields a delicious sauce for pasta, veggies, etc. I'm addicted.

Actually, I really like almost any salad dressing over hot vegetables, now that I think about it. Caesar is good on its own, and I've also enjoyed italian, balsamic vinaigrette, and raspberry vinaigrette. Considering how much people seem to like ranch on everything, that might be good too.
posted by vytae at 8:45 AM on May 8, 2007

What beandip said about asparagus. But I'd add a little butter first.

For broccoli, I like hollandaise sauce. A quick mock version; melted butter, mayo, lemon juice whisked together (sometimes I'll add a little wasabi powder).

For cauliflower, I add a little butter and some dill.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 9:20 AM on May 8, 2007

Here's my brain dump:
Chopped boiled egg or scrambled egg
Chopped pan roasted nuts
Squeeze or splash of fruit juice (try wacky stuff like blueberry and pomegranate juice)
Fish sauce
Oyster sauce
Sesame oil
Sweet chili sauce
dab of miso paste
Thinned nut butters
Bacon bits
Liquid smoke
Baba ganoush (These two seem weird, but work well)
Thinned apricot jelly
posted by nita at 9:44 AM on May 8, 2007

Dill + lemon juice or lemon butter. Especially on carrots.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:23 AM on May 8, 2007

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