Tender Sautéed Veggies

Sautéeing is definitely the Formula 1 racing of the cooking world. It’s a very fast, exciting, and, uh, aerodynamic way to cook (That is, if you work in a restaurant*).

Once you master this technique, you can cook just about anything in a matter of minutes. In this mission, we’ll practice with fresh veggies, because they’re easiest. I will demo the basic method with zucchini, but you can also use broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, green beans, asparagus, red pepper, onion, summer squash, or a combination thereof. So take a stroll through your neighborhood market, grab whatever looks good, and let’s sautée!

* In the traditional French version (sauté means “jump”), you flip the pan to toss the ingredients in the air. This looks totally rad, but the first time you try it could result in unexpected drama. For now, we’ll employ a humble stirring device known as a wooden spoon. In a future mission, I’ll show you how to do the fancy pan flippy thing so you can impress your friends/dog.

Tools Needed:

  • any kind of skillet stainless steel or cast iron are safest, but non-stick will do
  • something to stir with

Ingredients Needed:

  • tender veggies (for example, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, summer squash, green beans, snow peas, bell pepper, etc.) 1 lb
  • canola oil
  • salt to taste

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  • I figured these bok choy tips were similar in consistency to snow peas (sort of?), so I chopped them up and cooked them. They were delicious! I ate them plain, but now I’m curious to see what seasonings I could add for next time. This was super easy and fun!

  • Hi JJ! You get a total of 3 points: +1 for completing the mission, +1 for creativity (nice job using so many different veggies) and +1 for being first. If the veggies ended up oily, that could be because there was just too much oil. It takes some practice to get the right amount—some veggies (potatoes, mushrooms, eggplant) soak up more oil than others—but it’s better to err on the side of too much than too little. Oil = flavor, plus it prevents ingredients from sticking to your pan.

  • Hi piepants! You get a total of 3 points: +1 for doing the mission, +1 for creativity, and +1 for the comment on being too hip for Brooklyn—I LOL’d :P Looks delicious!

  • This was a quick lunch made from kale, more kale stalks, and carrots that were in the fridge. This batch smells like hot wings because it’s got chili paste and kombucha vinegar.

    It’s fun to reflect on the harsh reality that this kale dish was hand-crafted with house-made kombucha vinegar in Brooklyn. Yikes!

  • Broccoli is so easy and good, I never understood why people don’t like it. I never turned it down even as a kid because it was the “exciting American vegetable” (my family’s Chinese, so we usually had things like bok choy and gai lan). Last night, I had a couple heads of broccoli sitting in the fridge, so I sautéed that with a bit of diced onion and garlic to go with a chicken thing I made. The broccoli was taking a while to get tender, so I added a bit of water to the pan and put a lid on to let it steam. That did the trick. PS you can eat broccoli stems. Just use your vegetable peeler to strip the tough outer layers off and get to the tender inside part. Then you can chop it up and sauté it with the rest of the broccoli.

  • We needed a quick easy meal, so this mission was perfect. We cooked zucchini, red onion, yellow pepper, mushrooms, and snap peas for a nice colorful array of veggies. Then we added some chicken and pasta to round out the meal. Our veggies ended up a bit oily, maybe due to some over crowding in our pan…