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Learn the secrets to achieving perfectly sauteed vegetables, saying goodbye to mushy or undercooked, bland veggies. Follow these easy steps to elevate your saute game and enjoy a burst of flavor and satisfying textures in every bite.

Colorful vegetables scooped with a wooden spoon.
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Simple Sauteed Vegetables

If you are in need of quick and efficient ways to invite a wide range of colorful and nutrient-packed vegetables into your family’s meals, you’re going to love sauteed vegetables!

While there are important techniques and tips to be aware of, the cooking process is super simple!

The word saute is derived from the frech verb “sauter,” which means “to jump.” And the cooking technique of sauteeing refers to the method of quickly cooking small pieces of food in a hot pan with some oil or fat, allowing the ingredients to jump in the pan as they are stirred or tossed.

It’s a quick and simple way to cook vegetables while preserving their natural flavors, textures, and nutrition.

Now let’s dive in, shall we?

Ingredients

All the ingredients laid out on a wooden board.

For this recipe, these are the vegetables I’m using. Feel free to swap with whatever you wish.

How to Saute Vegetables

A four image collage showing cooking process step by step.
  1. Cut the vegetables. Make sure they are cut into similar sizes. Otherwise, they won’t cook up evenly.
  2. Prep your pan. Add oil to a skillet or pan over medium-high heat and wait until the oil starts to shimmer.
  3. Saute vegetables – add the carrots and onions first. Cook, covered, for 3-4 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables minus the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. This should take about 6- 8 minutes. Add zucchini towards the last 3 minutes of finishing time.
  4. Add seasonings. This is the time to add your favorite fresh or dried herbs and spices with salt and pepper to taste. You can even add a little bit of butter for a rich and creamy flavor. Stir everything together, turn off the heat, and enjoy!

Best Vegetables Options

When it comes to sautéing vegetables in a pan, there are several options that work well together due to their flavors, textures, and cooking times. Here are some of the best options, and I’ve categorized them according to how quickly they cook.

This chart will come in handy for when you are cooking different vegetables in the same pan. You want to make sure to add the ones with the longest cooking times FIRST. Otherwise, you will end up with beautifully cooked carrots and mushy zucchini, for example.

Short Cooking Time (3-5 minutes)

  • Asparagus
  • Corn
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow squash
  • Frozen peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Leafy greens

Medium Cooking Time (7-10 minutes)

Longer Cooking Time (10+ minutes)

How to Season Sauteed Vegetables

While salt and black pepper are a classic, here are some easy ways to flavor your vegetables!

  • Garlic – can use minced garlic or garlic powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Italian seasoning
  • Taco seasoning
  • Curry powder
  • Fresh herbs – basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano (dried will work too)
  • Lemon or lime juice – try grating a little zest over the top even!
  • A splash of soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • Sesame oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Tips for Success

A close up shot of sauteed vegetables in a skillet.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan. Use a large pan and make sure the vegetables aren’t placed on top of each other, which will create steam, making them soggy. Cook in two batches, if needed.
  • If using vegetables with the longest cooking times, add them first to the pan and cover with a lid to help them cook faster.
  • Stir occasionally, not constantly. This will prevent the vegetables from browning properly.
  • You don’t have to adhere strictly to the cooking times provided. Once the vegetables look done, taste it. If it’s still too crunchy, cook a little longer.
  • Season your vegetables at the end, especially salt, as it draws out moisture from the vegetables, making them soggy.

Serving Suggestions

Sauteed vegetables are an easy and healthy side dish, but you can serve as a main course along with a protein and carbohydrate. It’s perfect for busy weeknights!

Protein

Carbohydrates

Equipment

When it comes to sauteing vegetables, the best pan to use is one that promotes even heat distribution, has a wide cooking surface, and allows for easy tossing and stirring. Here are my top picks:

  • Non-stick pan – these are convenient, requires less oil, and makes it easier to toss the vegetables without sticking. Look for high-quality non-toxic pan (what you see pictured here).
  • Stainless steel pan
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Carbon steel pan – these are similar to cast iron but are lighter and heat up quickly. I actually prefer this pan over cast iron.

Storage Suggestions

Cool completely as placing hot vegetables directly in the refrigerator can create condensation and lead to sogginess. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days.

When reheating the vegetables, use gentle heat to maintain their texture. We also don’t mind eating them cold. My kids love the leftovers in their school lunch boxes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best oil for sauteing vegetables?

You can use olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, canola oil, or sesame oil. All of these can be cooked at medium-high heat. Avoid extra virgin olive oil as it has a lower smoke point.

Can I saute frozen vegetables?

You can! I would add the frozen vegetables to the hot pan, spreading them out in a single layer. There’s no need to thaw first. If you do, be sure to drain any excess liquid and pat dry before cooking.

How long should I saute different vegetables?

The cooking time will vary depending on the vegetable, its size, and the desired level of doneness. Firmer vegetables, like carrots and broccoli will require longer cooking times compared to softer vegetables, like zucchini and mushrooms. You can cover the pan for a few minutes to speed up the process, if needed.

Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!

5 from 1 vote

Sauteed Vegetables

Learn the secrets to achieving perfectly sauteed vegetables, saying goodbye to mushy or undercooked, bland veggies.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional

  • Butter
  • Lemon juice and/or zest
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions 

  • Cut all the vegetables into uniform size.
  • Add oil to a skillet or pan over medium-high heat and wait until the oil starts to shimmer.
  • Add the carrots and onions first. Cook, covered, for 3-4 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables minus the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. This should take about 6- 8 minutes. Add zucchini towards the last 3 minutes of finishing time.
  • Add Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, and any optional flavorings. Stir everything together and remove from heat.

Notes

  • Don’t overcrowd the pan. Use a large pan and make sure the vegetables aren’t placed on top of each other, which will create steam, making them soggy. Cook in two batches, if needed.
  • If using vegetables with the longest cooking times, add them first to the pan and cover with a lid to help them cook faster.
  • Stir occasionally, not constantly. This will prevent the vegetables from browning properly.
  • You don’t have to adhere strictly to the cooking times provided. Once the vegetables look done, taste it. If it’s still too crunchy, cook a little longer.
  • Season your vegetables at the end, especially salt, as it draws out moisture from the vegetables, making them soggy.

Nutrition

Calories: 113kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 34mg | Potassium: 439mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 4329IU | Vitamin C: 91mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Min

Thank you so much for stopping by! I am Min, a Registered Dietitian, a Christ follower, a wife, and a mom to our two miracle babies! Currently, I’m having a ton of fun feeding their tummies and sharing our baby led weaning journey! Follow me on Instagram if interested in seeing daily menu as well as tips and tricks.

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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