Sautéing is the perfect method to simply prepare vegetables with great flavor without adding a ton of extra calories or fat. By definition, sautéing is a method of cooking food quickly with minimal fat over high heat.

It is important to consider the tenderness of a vegetable when determining if it sautés well. Mushrooms, bell peppers, onions and sugar snap peas are excellent vegetables to sauté. Be sure to cut the vegetables into similarly sized pieces for more even cooking.

Use a sauté pan or a skillet with a large surface area to prevent overcrowding of the vegetables. This spacing allows the vegetables to release steam while cooking and ensures browning occurs during the sauté process.

Allow time for the pan to heat up before adding the fat source. Olive oil is a great fat source for sautéing because it can be used with high heat. From a health perspective, olive oil contains the types of fat (mono- and poly-unsaturated) which can lower cholesterol levels. Once the olive oil is heated, add a teaspoon of minced garlic to enhance the flavor. Garlic is a great alternative to salt. Now it is time to add the vegetables! Stir frequently for 3-4 minutes or until the vegetable start to wilt. Remove from heat and serve.

To make this more of a complete meal, serve with protein such as chicken breast or lean cuts of beef and whole grain rice.

For additional information on how to cook vegetables, visit with you Primary Care Team Registered Dietitian for additional resources and one-on-one education.


This article was written by Julie Harmon, a registered dietitian/nutritionist at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Florida. Julie works as the MOVE! Weight Management Program dietitian and is passionate about helping Veterans improve their nutrition and exercise more! Julie was raised in Tampa, Fla., and loves living near the beach.

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Published on Aug. 5, 2015

Estimated reading time is 1.6 min.

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