I was recently approached by Sharp to try out their new convection microwave as part of a challenge to rethink the way we cook with microwaves. Initially, I kept thinking about those disastrous microwave cookbooks from the 1980s and 1990s (this one might be the best example of all time), but after a bit of reading I decided to take them up on the offer. After all, if the telephone can radically change over the course of 10 years, and the Instant Pot can change how we look at pressure cookers, shouldn’t a microwave make some leaps and bounds as well?
I must have been living under a rock, because apparently microwaves can do all sorts of cool things today, and this model is no exception. At its core, this device serves three functions: 1) a standard microwave, 2) a convection oven, and 3) a roaster (with heating elements both on the bottom and top of the microwave). And because the microwave is much smaller than a traditional oven, it preheats much more quickly (it took me five and half minutes to pre-heat it to 400F). I envision this microwave to be an ideal solution for those without the space for a typical oven or as a secondary oven when you have lots of items to bake at once (Thanksgiving comes to mind).
To test the microwave, I decided to try it out on a very standard, traditional recipe: roasted brussels sprouts (with bacon, of course). I first baked the bacon at a convection setting, then roasted the brussels sprouts in the rendered bacon fat using the roaster setting. It worked like a charm – the food cooked evenly and easily, with a texture which is about the opposite of what you’d expect from a microwave (crispy and browned). I also provided conventional (oven) instructions for this recipe below.
The microwave also combines Sharp’s cooking functions to allow you to try different ways of heating food. For example, I reheated the leftover brussels sprouts with a combination of 50% microwave power and 50% roaster (top heating element) and they came out both hot and crispy – not your typical microwave re-heating experience.
I’ll be posting a couple more recipes using this microwave over the course of the next month, so let me know in the comments if you have any questions or anything you’d like me to address in a future recipe.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts - Paleo, Primal, Gluten-free, Whole30
8oz bacon, sliced into strips
1 lb brussels sprouts, thinly sliced length-wise
1 tbsp ghee
salt and pepper to taste
Sharp Convection Microwave instructions:
1. Press the “Preheat” button and set it for 375F. As the microwave preheats, slice the bacon and brussels sprouts. One preheated, add the bacon to a small baking sheet and add to the microwave. Press the “Convec” button and set the temperature to 375F; bake until the bacon pieces are crispy and the fat has rendered out, about 20 minutes, turning the bacon after 10 minutes.
2. Remove the baking sheet from the microwave, then remove the cooked bacon with tongs and set it on some paper towels to drain (keep the rendered fat in the baking sheet). Add the ghee to the rendered fat and stir together, then add the brussels sprouts and toss until evenly coated. Return the baking sheet to the microwave, then press the “Roast” button twice (for the bottom heating element) and roast for 10 minutes, then toss the sprouts; press the “Roast” button three times (for both the bottom and top heating elements) and roast until the brussels sprouts are browned and crispy, about 5 more minutes.
3. Remove the baking sheet from the microwave, add the bacon to the sheet, and toss until incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
** For best results, set the timer to an estimated cook time, and then press the “Start (+30 Sec)” button to add time if the food looks like it needs more.
1. Heat a stainless steel skillet over medium heat, then add the bacon. Cook until crispy and the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes, moving the bacon pieces occasionally so that they cook evenly. As the bacon cooks, pre-heat the oven to 400F and slice the brussels sprouts.
2. With tongs, remove the cooked bacon and set it on some paper towels to drain (keep the rendered bacon fat in the skillet). Add the ghee to the rendered fat and stir together, then add the brussels sprouts and toss until evenly coated. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until browned and crispy, about 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes and again after another 5 minutes.
3. Remove the skillet from the oven, add the bacon back into the skillet, and toss until incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Slicing the brussels sprouts is probably the most labor-intensive step in this recipe, but it definitely helps to cut the cooking time and give you more surface area (which = more tasty browned bits).
Note: I was paid by Sharp to try their product and develop recipes for it. All opinions expressed are my own.