How to Sauté Vegetables 🌱 Everything you need to know to prepare this healthy & delicious recipe for easy vegan sautéed vegetables. GF. Oil-free option.
Veggies have always been my favorite part of a meal. I was one of those kids who preferred vegetables over meat any day. I loved Brussels sprouts and adored spinach, unlike my brother who refused to eat anything green except lettuce & peas. Fortunately, his tastes matured and he grew to love veggies almost as much as I do.
Easy Sautéed Vegan Vegetables sprinkled with homemade vegan parmesan
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When I became vegan I started focusing a lot more on home-cooking. I explored many methods of preparing fresh vegetables: Raw, roasted, fried, stir-fried, steamed, slow-cooked, boiled, blanched, microwaved, grilled and baked. You name it, I’ve tried it. When I learned how to sauté vegetables, it soon became my absolute favorite way to cook veggies and here’s why.
By sautéing fresh vegetables for a few minutes in a hot skillet, you can maintain the bright colors, flavors and textures of those gorgeous veggies, allowing them to shine through! You’ll also preserve more of the healthy, nutritional qualities by not over-cooking the vegetables. Plus it’s such a quick, easy & simple way to cook. Just my style!
AKS cast iron cookware available at Bed Bath & Beyond
What is Sauté Cooking?
Sautéing is a cooking method that involves using a very small quantity of oil or fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat. This process allows foods to lightly brown and cook quickly. The term sauté is from the French word meaning “jump” – in reference to the flipping or tossing motion some cooks use when turning the vegetables in a pan. I’ve always been impressed watching chefs use that technique. It’s a skill I’ve yet to attain, primarily because I use cast iron and would likely injure my wrist if I tried!
How to Sauté Vegetables
I love this simple, easy & healthy way to cook veggies quickly. Here are the basics for sautéing a variety of fresh vegetables.
- 10” or 12” skillet or frying pan – stainless steel, cast iron, non-stick
- Kitchen knife
- Cutting board
- Heat-proof turner or tongs
Select an assortment of fresh veggies to sauté. Here are a few of my favorites: Zucchini, summer and yellow squash, carrots, onions, mushrooms, celery, green beans, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, sweet peppers, snap peas, asparagus.
- Wash and slice your vegetables into small or thin pieces. Root veggies, like carrots, should be cut in thin strips or rounds. Slice or dice tender veggies, like onions and bell peppers into thin strips. Mushrooms and cherry tomatoes can be halved or quartered. Zucchini and other squash should be cut into small pieces. Once your veggies are prepped, blot them dry with a clean towel.
- Select a skillet to use. I prefer cast iron, but you can also use a stainless steel or non-stick shallow stovetop pan.
- Place skillet over medium-high heat. You can test the temperature of your heated skillet by sprinkling a few drops of water into the pan. If the water sizzles, the pan is ready.
- Pour a very small amount of extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of the pan. Use only enough to lightly coat the pan – about a tablespoon. Don’t overheat the oil, as you don’t want it to smoke or burn.
- Next you’ll be adding your vegetables. Carefully place your sliced veggies into the pan. Avoid getting splattered by making sure your veggies are dry before you add them.
I like to add veggies in this order:
- Onions, shallots, leeks, and garlic
- Root or dense vegetables
- Tender skinned vegetables
- Leafy vegetables – sauté just long enough to wilt – don’t over-cook
As vegetables cook, they tend to sweat, creating added liquid. Try not to overcrowd them. Be sure to leave room for the juices to evaporate. If you have a lot of veggies to prepare, it’s better to sauté them in batches than cook them all at once.
Turn the veggies every minute or so with a flat spatula or tongs. They should get lightly browned but not burned. Keep a close eye on onions and garlic, because they can burn quickly. Veggies should cook for under 10 minutes or until tender but not mushy.
How to Season Sautéed Vegetables
While the veggies are cooking, add your dry seasonings. By incorporating the dried seasonings during sautéing, the heat and oil help awaken the flavor. Keep in mind that dry seasonings are more concentrated and intense in taste than fresh herbs, so use them sparingly. It’s easier to add more as needed than vice-versa. I suggest selecting your seasonings based on the type of veggies you use and the other dishes you might serve them with. For instance:
- Root veggies – I love rosemary, sage, thyme, dill
- Zucchini (any squash), bell peppers, tomatoes – Italian seasoning, basil, oregano, bay leaves (remove before serving).
- Mushrooms – basil, chives, sage
- All veggies – salt & pepper and my favorite all-purpose seasoning.
🥕I love using fresh herbs also and add those after the veggies have cooked, to preserve the color and freshness. A sprinkle of chopped fresh basil, parsley, oregano, thyme or dill adds color and flavor.
🥕Boost flavors by adding a splash of wine, vegetable broth or soy sauce while the veggies are cooking. I love to squeeze a bit of fresh lemon on top after the veggies have been removed from the heat.
How to Sauté Vegetables Without Oil
Yes, you can sauté without oil or fat – simply by replacing it with water or vegetable broth. The trick is to use only a very small amount, one to two tablespoons at a time, as needed. Be sure not to overcrowd your pan, as the veggies will steam from excess moisture. You want that to evaporate while cooking. Keep flipping or turning over the veggies so that they don’t stick to the pan. Pull them from the heat as soon as they are tender.
Enjoy sautéed veggies as a simple side dish all on their own or paired with any of these delish dishes:
- Serve as a side dish with slices of Savory Herbed Tofu , Easy Vegan Mashed Potatoes and Homemade Mushroom Gravy
- On top of pasta for a delicious & colorful pasta primavera sprinkled with this Easy Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- As a side with our delish Vegan Lemon Roasted Potatoes or our yummy Easy Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
- Sautéed peppers and carrots are perfect partners with Vegan Spanish Rice
very vegan 🌱 very good
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, please consider rating it using stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ in the comments below. It helps other readers and allows more people to find it online. I love hearing from you! Let’s keep in touch!
Easy Vegan Sautéed Vegetables
- 10" or 12" Skillet or frying pan – stainless steel, cast iron, non-stick
- Heat-proof turner or tongs
- 1 tbsp olive oil 🥕see notes below for preparing without oil
- 1/2 red onion chopped
- 1 cup zucchini cut in small pieces
- 1 cup summer squash cut in small pieces
- 1 cup yellow squash cut in small pieces
- 1 cup green beans ends removed, cut in thirds
- 1/2 bell pepper red, yellow or orange – cut in thin strips
- 1 cup tomatoes cherry tomatoes – halved
- 1/2 tsp dried herbs or Italian seasoning I used Spike all-purpose seasoning in this recipe
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- Wash and slice your vegetables. Once your veggies are prepped, blot them dry with a clean towel.
- Place skillet on stove over medium-high heat. Test the temperature of your heated skillet by sprinkling a few drops of water into the pan. If the water sizzles the pan is ready.
- Pour a very small amount of extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of the pan. Use only enough to lightly coat the pan – about a tablespoon or less. Don't overheat the oil as you don't want it to smoke or burn. 🥕See notes below for sautéing without oil.
- Carefully place sliced veggies into the pan. I suggest adding them in this order: 1. Onions 2. Green Beans 3. Bell Peppers 4. Zucchini and Squash 5. Tomatoes.Try not to overcrowd them. Be sure to leave room for the juices to evaporate. If your pan isn't large enough, it's better to sauté them in batches than to try to do them all at once.
- While the veggies are cooking add your dry seasonings. salt & pepper. Stir to combine.
- Turn or flip veggies with a heat proof spatula or tongs about once a minute. Sauté until the veggies are slightly browned and tender – about 8-10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook them. Remove from heat.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
🥕How to Sauté Vegetables Without OilYou can prepare this recipe oil-free simply by replacing the olive oil with water or vegetable broth. The trick is to use only a very small amount, one to two tablespoons at a time, as needed. Be sure not to overcrowd your pan, as the veggies will steam from excess moisture. You want that to evaporate while cooking. Keep flipping or turning over the veggies so that they don’t stick to the pan. Pull them from the heat as soon as they are tender. 🥕Add a splash of bright flavor by drizzling the veggies with a light squeeze of fresh lemon juice after cooking and/or a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs like basil or oregano. Add salt & pepper to taste. 🥕Enjoy these sautéed rainbow veggies as a simple side dish all on their own or paired with any of these easy & delicious vegan recipes:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, please consider rating it using stars in the comments below. It helps other readers and allows more people to find it online. I love hearing from you! Let’s keep in touch!