Stir-frying is a cooking technique in which vegetables are fried with a small amount of oil so that they remain firm, maintain consistency and nutritional value. The recipe for sautéed vegetables yields a quick, healthy and colorful dish, which can accompany lunch, dinner or also be served à la carte.
Method 1 of 3: Preparing the Pot and Vegetables
Step 1. The first step in preparing vegetables is to cut them into pieces of similar size
Also take the opportunity to remove any stalks or unwanted parts in this process. Also, each piece should be as uniform in size as possible.
If the pieces aren't the same size (especially the same thickness), they won't be done at the same time. That way, when you finish frying them, some will be overcooked while others will be underdone
Step 2. Select a pan that is good for sautéing vegetables
In theory, any pan will serve this purpose, but some work better than others. A large skillet with straight or slanted edges is ideal for sauteing.
- A skillet with a thick bottom distributes heat better.
- A stainless steel, aluminum or anodized non-stick skillet is ideal for sautéing vegetables.
- The cast iron skillet is ideal for sauteing thicker vegetables such as potatoes and kale, as it holds and distributes heat more evenly.
Step 3. Choose between oil or fat to sauté the vegetables
Butter or any type of oil will work well for this purpose. In addition, it is also possible to use bacon fat, although this is a less healthy option.
- Even though you can sauté vegetables with any type of oil, options with a high smoke point, such as canola oil, peanut oil, or regular olive oil, work best. Those with a lower smoke point, such as extra virgin olive oil, can also be used, but they tend to lose flavor when cooked at high temperatures.
- If you choose to use butter, add a tablespoon of oil to the skillet to prevent the butter from burning or smoking.
Step 4. Turn on the stove at medium high temperature and place the skillet with the oil to heat
Method 2 of 3: Sauteing Vegetables
Step 1. Wait for the oil to boil
When that happens, it will be hot enough to sauté the vegetables. Otherwise, if you put them before boiling, the oil will not be hot enough to brown them and they may stick to the bottom of the pan.
Under proper light, hot oil becomes iridescent and colored. When it has these characteristics, it will be ready to sauté the vegetables
Step 2. Add ingredients to flavor vegetables
If you're going to use spicy spices like garlic or pepper, it's usually a good idea to add them at the start, as that way they'll lose some flavor to the oil.
- Minced garlic is usually added about a minute before other vegetables.
- Spicy peppers, such as jalapeño, are usually poured into the skillet about five minutes before other vegetables.
- As garlic cooks quickly and burns easily, it must first be browned. Then remove it from the pan before sauteing the other vegetables and return it as soon as they are done.
Step 3. Add the vegetables without overloading the pan so that they are distributed in a single layer at the bottom of the pan
- If the pieces overlap, the steam released in the lower layers can get trapped and end up steaming the vegetables instead of sautéing.
- If there are too many vegetables to sauté at once, try to cook them in two or more portions.
Step 4. Turn and stir the vegetables so that all sides are cooked evenly
It is not recommended to constantly stir the vegetables, as it would be done in a stew. Instead, a few stirs should suffice, depending on how long it takes to sauté them
Step 5. Cook vegetables until done
The time needed for this will depend on the type of vegetable that will be sautéed. Between three and ten minutes is the usual time, but you may need to try a few times until you hit the desired spot.
- Vegetables that take longer to cook include carrots, onions and vegetables such as cabbage. They can take ten to fifteen minutes to sauté. Potatoes can take even longer. Because of this, some people tend to cook them in water first to make them sauté faster. Also, covering the pan with the lid for the first few minutes can help speed up the process.
- Vegetables with an average cooking time include broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and Brussels sprouts. They can take about eight to ten minutes to complete. However, to shorten the cooking time just cook them first with a few tablespoons of water. Then wait for the water to evaporate and add the oil to sauté.
- Vegetables with a quick cooking time include corn, tomatoes and asparagus. They take about two minutes to sauté.
- Spinach and other vegetables have the shortest cooking times, about one to two minutes, as they tend to wilt quickly.
- When sautéing vegetables with different cooking times in the same pan, first add those that need to be cooked longer, let them partially cook, then add those that require less time. Furthermore, it is also possible to cook them individually and then mix them.
Step 6. Season the vegetables to taste
Just before they are ready, add whatever spice you like. Among the available options, you can add salt and pepper, soy sauce, citrus juice, vegetable stock, oregano or other dried herbs.
Seasonings usually sit in the skillet for about a minute
Step 7. When the vegetables are ready, quickly remove them from the pan to prevent overdoing
Then serve them and have a good appetite!
Method 3 of 3: Sauteing Vegetables with Parchment Paper
Step 1. Prepare the vegetables and the pan
An alternative way to stir-fry and get a softer consistency is to use a piece of parchment paper. To make this variation, first cut the vegetables and heat the pan as usual.
One suggestion is to use a tablespoon of butter to stir-fry vegetables with this technique
Step 2. Add a spoon of water, salt, pepper and vegetables to the skillet, being careful not to overload it
Step 3. Cover the pan with a loosely positioned piece of parchment paper, regularly checking the vegetables until the water evaporates
Step 4. After the water has evaporated, remove the parchment paper and cook for a few more minutes until the butter caramelizes the vegetables
- Serve the sautéed vegetables as an accompaniment to meat such as poultry or fish.
- Different types of vegetables have different cooking times. So try cooking them together or separately until you get the desired result.
- The sautéed vegetable dish can also be served with white or brown rice.
- Caramelize the vegetables after sautéing them by adding sugar and a little water to the pan. Then continue cooking until lightly browned. This way, it is possible to leave them with a more appetizing flavor.
- Sauteed eggplant can be an excellent substitute for meat. An eggplant parmigiana recipe could, for example, substitute for a chicken parmigiana recipe.