Zap it! Healthy Microwave Cooking

Your microwave is good for more than popcorn and leftovers! This January, Chef Reva created two delicious soups with residents of the Home Suites Inn transitional housing as part of her “Cooking without a Kitchen” cooking series. These workshops teach techniques for cooking healthy meals in the microwave. Her fresh Mushroom and Barley Soup and Pho (Beef Noodle Soup) are proof that you don’t need a fancy kitchen (or even a stove!) to create delicious and nutritious meals from scratch.

Try the workshop recipes below! For more quick meals and snacks, check out the microwave section of our recipe page.


Beef Noodle Soup (Pho)

serves 6


1 small onion or shallot, chopped
1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced thin
1 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
3 cups of low-sodium beef broth
3 cups of water
½ teaspoon cinnamon
8 ounces rice noodles
12 ounces lean beef sirloin, sliced thin
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, optional
4 scallions, thinly sliced
½ cup cilantro leaves
½ cup basil leaves or Thai basil leaves
1 cup bean sprouts
2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced, optional
2 limes, cut into wedges


  1. Combine onion or shallot, fennel, ginger, beef broth, water and cinnamon in a large microwave-safe bowl or container. Cook on high power for 10 minutes. Remove ginger slices and discard.
  1. Meanwhile, heat 4 cups of water in a microwave safe bowl until boiling, about 5 minutes. Add rice noodles to hot water and cook in high 2 minutes, or until tender. Drain noodles and transfer to a large bowl.
  1. Add sliced beef to hot broth and cook on high 2-5 minutes, until beef is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle.

4. Add Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil to soup. Add cooked noodles, scallions, herbs, bean sprouts and jalapenos, if using. Serve with lime wedges.


Mushroom Barley Soup

Mushroom and Barley Soup

adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook

serves 6


½ cup uncooked pearl barley
1¼ cups water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons soy sauce, low sodium
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5½ cups water, chicken stock or vegetable stock


  1. Place the barley and 1¼ cups of water in a large microwave-safe container with lid. Cover and microwave on medium power for 20 minutes. Stir and repeat for another 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. If the barley is not yet tender, add another half a cup of water and cook another 5 minutes on medium power.
  1. Meanwhile, combine olive oil and chopped onion in another microwave safe container. Cook, covered 2-5 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Add garlic, mushrooms and salt and cook another 5 minutes, covered on high power.
  1. Add soy sauce and apple cider vinegar and cook another 5 – 10 minutes until mushrooms and onion are very tender.
  1. Combine cooked barley, mushroom mixture, and 5 cups of water in a large microwave safe container or bowl. Add fresh black pepper and mix well.
  1. Cook another 10 minutes on high power until soup is hot.



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