Simple, Perfect Every Time, Sautéed Vegetables
The trick to perfectly sautéed vegetables is to slice them uniformly & cook them quickly in a hot pan with a tiny bit of oil. Here's how to get it right every time.
Sautéed vegetables are just about the easiest, fastest way I can think of to add more vegetables to a meal, other than just putting out some pre-cut carrot and celery sticks. The trick to perfectly sautéed veggies every time is to slice them uniformly and then cook them quickly in a very hot pan with a minimal amount of oil.
Cooking vegetables over low heat, or cooking them too long, or in too much oil, results in soft soggy vegetables - not very appealing, in my opinion. For bright veggies that are tender-crisp, cook them quickly in a very hot pan, using the minimum amount of oil necessary to keep them from sticking.
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How to make quick sautéed veggies, perfectly tender crisp every time.
- Any kind of vegetable that can be sliced and sautéed: asparagus, peppers, green beans, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, etc.
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- a lemon (optional)
- Wash, peel (if necessary), and slice vegetables into uniform pieces. The shape and size of the slices depend on what you like and what you're using them for. Red peppers and carrots, for example, can be sliced into pieces 1-inch thick, or into pieces the size of matchsticks. Slice them however you like, just remember that the smaller they are, the shorter the cooking time.
- Heat about 1 teaspoon of oil in a sauté pan or wok over high heat until the oil is just beginning to smoke. If using a 12-inch pan, add about 1 to 1 ½ cups of vegetables to the hot oil. If your pan is smaller or larger, adjust accordingly. You want to be able to spread the vegetables into an even layer across the bottom of the pan so that each pieces is touching the pan. If they are stacked on top of each other, there are too many in the pan at once.
- Using a wooden spoon, spatula, or tongs, toss the vegetables around in the hot oil for a few seconds. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue to toss until they are crisp-tender and blackening in spots. This will happen very quickly - especially if you're working with small pieces. Have a fork ready beside the pan so that you can quickly remove one pice and bite into it to test.
- Immediately remove from the pan to a plate or serving platter. Repeat with any remaining veggies.
- If desired, squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the cooked vegetables and toss. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.
If sautéing several different kinds of vegetables, cook each type separately. Vegetables like red peppers will take longer to cook than very thin asparagus. Cooking them separately will allow you to control the cook time for each.