Sautéing, or cooking food quickly over relatively-high heat, is French cooking’s gift to busy people everywhere. The word itself comes from the word sauter, which means “to jump” — and that pretty much describes what happens when food is placed into a hot pan (via Cooking Light). But the word can refer to the way food is tossed in a pan. Ultimately, to sauté food is quick and easy — it allows many meals to be ready in 20 minutes or less.
Most cooking sites like Epicurious say that for sautéed vegetables to cook properly, you need to cut them into uniform, bite-sized pieces, so they can call cook at the same rate. You may also wish to add in the tougher veggies first. Nothing’s worse than mushy mushrooms and super-crunchy carrots. Your pan needs to have a glug of oil, set the stove to medium-high heat, and when the oil starts to shimmer, it’s time to get your veg going. But there is a healthier way to sauté.
Using water or broth can help you make a quick, oil-free sauté
Some cooking sites aren’t clear about how much oil should go into a pan. There is not an exact measurement for a “glug” after all. So, you can easily go overboard with oil and turn a healthy meal, into an oil-laden one. If you desire a healthier way, the best thing to do is start with a non-stick pan, then fire up the stove to medium-high heat.
Once you’ve added in your cut vegetables, Vegan Coach recommends adding 1/4 cup of vegetable broth. The vegetables will become tender in 5 to 15 minutes — the larger and tougher the veggies you have selected for you sauté, the longer it will take, naturally. Putting a lid on the pan will help the veggies cook faster. Be sure to stir as you sauté, and feel free to add a bit more broth as needed. Season, and enjoy!
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