How to Sauté Vegetables for Always Crisp-Tender Results

Sautéed vegetables deserve a shout-out: They add color, sparkle, and nutrition to any meal. Learn how to sauté vegetables for a delicious and healthy side dish to add to any dinner.

When it comes to serving quick and easy healthy side dishes, you can't go wrong with sautéing vegetables. It's a great way to empty the fridge to avoid wasting produce. Plus, they can be seasoned with whatever spices you want to match your meal.

Sautéing is simply skillet-cooking and stirring ingredients in a small amount of oil. In this case, the goal is sautéed vegetables cooked to crisp-tender perfection with a slightly caramelized surface. Adding healthy ingredients and color to your dinner plate is easy once you've learned how to sauté vegetables. Read on for our simple and easy tutorial for the best way to sauté vegetables, so they can be added as a guest item on your menu more often.

oil pan Saute Vegetables
Karla Conrad

Step 1: Prep the Vegetables and Skillet

Cut vegetables into bite-size pieces. If you're sautéing more than one type of vegetable, cut them into smaller pieces so they cook at similar rates. Heat oil or butter (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) in a wok ($50, Target) or large skillet ($35, Target) over medium to medium-high heat.

Step 2: Sauté Vegetables in Skillet

When hot, add vegetables in small batches and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and slightly darker in color.

How Long to Sauté Vegetables

To avoid overcooking and undercooking, the order of cooking vegetables is to start with those with longer cooking times first and put others in later.

  • Vegetables with longer sauté time: carrots, onions, and potatoes
  • Vegetables with medium sauté time: broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers
  • Vegetables with short sauté time: mushrooms, tomatoes, and leafy greens
Chicken and Vegetable Sauté
Karla Conrad

Step 3: Season Sautéed Vegetables and Enjoy

This is the fun part. We always like seasoning sautéed vegetables with salt, pepper, and garlic. Feel free to change it up and add your favorite seasonings to match the flavor of your meal. For example, some taco seasoning and lime juice can really liven up sautéed veggies for a Mexican-inspired feast. Serve while hot.

How to Get the Most from Sautéed Veggies

Cook and enjoy vegetables for the most nutrition and flavor soon after buying them. Flash-frozen vegetables are also a healthy choice—they're frozen soon after picking to retain vitamins. When using canned vegetables, keep sodium levels in check by choosing products labeled "low sodium" or "no salt added."

Put your knowledge of making perfect sautéed vegetables to delicious use by making a meal out of them. Our quick stir-fry recipes feature hearty veggies, meats, and more to create all-in-one dinners.

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