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Cooking in the dishwasher!

April 20, 2011

Have you got a dishwasher? Use it to cook your dinner/lunch!

What’s so special about these veggies? I cooked them in the dishwasher! It’s so easy and lots of fun. Basically, why not make the most of the hot steam and water that is released inside the dishwasher while it washes our dirty dishes?  I have to admit that, in all the years spent racking my brain on how to pollute less and have less environmental impact, I never once considered the humble dishwasher. The idea was given to me by my friend Alessandro. He told me how he had been invited to dinner by a friend in Spain who had prepared the entire meal using the dishwasher. While I waiting to be put in touch with Covadonga Toro and to find out all her dishwasher-secrets, I couldn’t resist the temptation to TRY IMMEDIATELY.  And the result is these delicious, crunchy vegetables: the first cooking experiment in the dishwasher. Obviously, in order to bring about a benefit in terms of environmental impact, you must use the dishwasher only when it’s fully loaded. 

A study carried out by the Italian association Altroconsumo confirms that washing dishes in the sink can use up to as much as 60 litres of water. With an energy-efficient dishwasher (check the energy consumption rating in your country) the ‘eco’ cycle only uses about 16 litres of water, but watch out – if you opt for a (cheaper) less energy-efficient model, this consumption can go up to as much as 26 litres. If we did seven washes per week, using a top energy-efficient dishwasher on the ‘eco’ cycle, we’d save € 100 and 400 m² of forest land.

The recipes are 3 side dishes that you can cook the night before for the day after. It’s important that the food doesn’t come into contact with the dishwashing detergent or the dirty water, so you must use a hermetically sealed glass container or vacuum packed cooking bags. So as not to cancel out the environmental benefit, re-use the cooking bags more than once: just wash them well and hang them out to dry.

If you really want to give yourselves a treat, try them with tomatoes and aromatic herbs, vegetables and rice, all cooked at low temperatures etc.

These are 3 recipes using the dishwasher:

– Baby marrows (zucchine/courgette), curry and radish leaves

– Crunchy radicchio treviso

– Steamed pea pods


Baby marrows (zucchine/courgette), curry and radish leaves


2 small baby marrows

Leaves from a small bunch of radishes

1 small onion

1 tbspn curry powder

Salt and pepper

Olive oil, extravirgin


Slice the baby marrows into sticks. Finely chop the onion and the radish leaves. Place the baby marrows and all other ingredients into a vacuum-pack bag or in a hermetically sealed glass container. Close well. Place in the dishwasher taking care that it cannot move during the cycle. Turn on the dishwasher on normal wash (about 60°). At the end of the cycle, take out the baby marrows, and serve them with a generous dash of olive oil and accompanied by some brown rice.


Crunchy radicchio treviso


1 radicchio treviso

Salt and pepper

1 clove of garlic

Olive oil, extravirgin

A dash of balsamic vinegar (try to find good-quality Italian balsamic vinegar – from Modena)


Cut up the radicchio into 4 pieces , after having washed and dried it well, and place it in a vacuum-pack cooking bag or in a hermetically sealed glass container.  Add the unpeeled clove of garlic, a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper. Seal the bag/container and place it carefully inside the dishwasher. Turn on the dishwasher on normal wash (about 60/65°) and at the end of the cycle, take the radicchio out. Serve seasoned with the balsamic vinegar.



Steamed pea pods

This cooking method is ideal if you want crunchy, tasty peas as well as pea pods. The peas and pods come out ‘steamed’: if you prefer, the peas can be finished off in a hot frying pan and the pods can be blended, or you can just eat them as they are (as long as they are nice and fresh).


1/2 an onion

1/2 Kg of whole pea pods (with peas)

Olive oil, extravirgin

Salt and pepper


Wash the pea pods well and don’t open them. Place them in a vacuum-pack cooking bag or in a hermetically sealed glass container with all the other ingredients and close well. Cook them in the dishwasher for the time it takes for a normal cycle to complete. Serve as they are, or, if you prefer, sprinkle a little grated cheese or breadcrumbs and lightly toast under the oven grill. The peas inside the pods will be perfectly cooked and can be eaten together with the pods or used in another dish.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2011 4:32 pm

    This is ingenious! Who would have ever thought to use the dishwasher…love it!

  2. April 25, 2011 5:03 pm

    I could never do this. I want to save water, but I just know I’d forget and leave them in there too long. I know, I know set a timer right? Cool post.

  3. April 25, 2011 5:33 pm

    Very interesting. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to try this; although it would be fun to have friends over for a meal cooked in my dishwasher!

  4. Dianna permalink
    April 26, 2011 1:59 am

    This made me laugh. I love it. Will I do it?? Maybe not, but I bet my kids will.

  5. sharmaynn permalink
    April 26, 2011 8:54 am

    This sounds like fun. I think I will give it a try next time I cook veggies. Cleaning the kitchen an cooking at the same time. Yeah.

  6. April 27, 2011 10:48 pm

    This is really… weird.

    But I like it – I just think it would give me pause eating something out of the dishwasher.

    If I had a dishwasher, that is :(

  7. Emma permalink
    May 16, 2011 3:52 pm

    The environmentally-conscious side of me nearly had a heart attack at the beginning of this post – I had visions of people using an empty dishwasher just to cook a handful of vegetables! Really pleased to read on and see you’d thought about the genuine eco side – I’ve seen lots of recipes for dishwasher-cooked food and noone else had given it a second thought!

  8. Suzete permalink
    February 2, 2012 12:09 am

    This is really very interesting!!! I was so surprised to know about this cooking that I tried it myself imediatly. I cooked apples and pears with brown sugar and cinamon. It´s really very good, eco friendly, save time and money !!! Above all, the food will never be overcooked, loosing all its vitamins, minerals and enzymes which are very good for our health.

  9. Captain Cook permalink
    August 17, 2012 10:04 am

    In september 2009 this idea was already on german tv

    item 1: cook salmon in the dishwasher
    item 2: take a cheap wine and scrumble for 3-4 minutes with a handmixer to put in on the level of a gourmet wine

  10. Daniel permalink
    September 29, 2012 4:50 pm

    I’ve bought the book Cucinare in Lavastoviglie a few weeks ago. Given the fact that I can’t speak Italian, I’ve decided to translate it via Google Translate. I’ve cooked the first recipe today Cuscus con Zucchine, Piselli e Menta (Couscous with Zucchini, Peas and Mint) and it has been just great. I’m sure that there is a big market for an English version of this book.

  11. July 31, 2014 3:11 am

    Hello there! This post couldn’t be written any better!

    Reading through this post reminds me of my
    old room mate! He always kept talking about this.
    I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.
    Thank you for sharing!


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