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Here’s how to make the best sauteed vegetables! This is your roadmap to perfectly crisp-tender, brightly colored, and flavor-packed veggies every time.

Sauteed vegetables
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Looking for a quick and easy side dish? Here’s the fastest way to get colorful veggies to jump onto your plate: the ultimate sautéed vegetables recipe! The good old veggie sauté is often done wrong: it’s soggy or completely bland in flavor.

So why not do a total makeover? These sauteed vegetables are beautifully colored, bursting with flavor and crisp tender in texture: the perfect easy and healthy side dish! Alex and I have made this recipe for our family over and over and it’s always a hit.

“Fantastic recipe! Thank you! Using the stainless steel pan to add a little browning was the trick. The timing chart was so perfect.” -Lisa

How to sauté vegetables: the basics

Sautéing is one of the fastest ways to cook vegetables. The word comes from the French word “to jump,” meaning that you’ll need to keep stirring or flipping the pan for the entire cook time.

To sauté you’ll need a good skillet and a fat to use for cooking, typically either olive oil or butter. Sauteing browns the outside of the food, which helps complex flavors to develop. This is called the Maillard reaction, the scientific term for browning food. Here are the basic steps for sauteed vegetables, and the approximate timing for each type of vegetable:

Cut large florets in half

Step 1: Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Toss them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon dried oregano, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.

How to saute vegetables

Step 2: Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large aluminum or cast iron skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add the vegetables.

Best sauteed vegetables

Step 3: Cook until crisp tender about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste to assess doneness. Use the timing in the Sauteed Vegetables Timing Chart below.

Vegetable Timing Chart

Sauteing other types of vegetables? Here’s a chart to reference for approximately how long it takes to saute each type;

  • Frozen peas: 2 minutes
  • Greens (kale, spinach): 3 minutes
  • Mushrooms: 7 minutes
  • Broccoli, asparagus: 8 minutes
  • Cauliflower, onions: 10 minutes
  • Bell peppers: 10 to 12 minutes
  • Carrots: 12 minutes

Ingredients for sauteed vegetables

For this sautéed vegetables recipe, we picked vegetables that would cook in approximately the same amount of time. If you choose vegetables with very different cook times, add the longest cooking veggies first and then stagger the start times of the short cooking vegetables.

This recipe we customized so you can cook all the vegetables at once! We also wanted to pick a rainbow of colors to make a nutritious and visually appealing vegan side dish. Here’s what we chose:

  • Bell peppers: Sweet and mild bell peppers are loaded with Vitamin C. A medium red bell pepper provides a whopping 169% of your daily vitamin C. (Source
  • Red onion: Red onion adds a savory complimentary flavoring to the sauteed veggies.
  • Carrot: Carrot brings color, a dose of Vitamin A, and a sweet flavor. (Source)
  • Broccoli: Broccoli adds a splash of green, fiber and protein. We prefer it to cauliflower in a sauté since it cooks faster.
  • Olive oil: Olive oil is our preferred oil for sautéing, due to its neutral flavor and high smoke point.
  • Seasonings: Kosher salt and a bit of dried oregano to intensify the flavors.
Best sauteed vegetables

The best pan for sauteed vegetables

You can make sauteed vegetables in any type of pan! You’ll want a large skillet for this recipe, large enough to hold all of the vegetables. In terms of materials, each pan material cooks differently:

  • Aluminum or copper: You’ll get the best browning on the edges of the veggies when you use aluminum or copper. This type of skillet is fantastic for sauteing and also searing salmon or scallops.
  • Cast iron: Sauteed vegetables also work great in cast iron! It heats well and provides a nice char on the edges.
  • Non-stick: You can also sauté in non-stick pans, but keep in mind that the veggies won’t brown as much as with the other surfaces.

Recipes by vegetable

Not looking for mixed vegetables? You can make sauteed vegetables by cooking just one type of vegetable at a time.

Variations: ways to season sauteed vegetables

There are lots of ways to add a little flair to this recipe! Use one of our homemade seasoning blends to liven up the flavors. Here’s what we’d recommend:

Ways to pair sauteed vegetables

This sauteed vegetables recipe is a highly versatile easy and healthy side dish. It’s flavored simply with olive oil and oregano, so it can go with many different types of cuisines! Here are a few ways to serve these veggies:

Dietary notes

This sauteed vegetables recipe is vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between sauteing and other cooking methods?

Sauteing involves cooking vegetables in a hot pan with a small amount of oil or fat. It creates a tender-crisp texture with vibrant colors, unlike boiling which can lead to mushy vegetables and leached-out nutrients.

Do I need a fancy pan for sauteing vegetables?

Any heavy-bottomed pan or skillet that heats evenly will work. Opt for cast iron, stainless steel, or even a non-stick pan for easier cleanup.

What’s the best way to cut vegetables for sauteing?

Cut vegetables into similar, bite-sized pieces to ensure even cooking. Consider the vegetable’s natural cooking time – denser vegetables like carrots may need to be cut smaller.

What kind of oil or fat is best for sauteing?

Olive oil is a popular choice for its neutral flavor and high smoke point. However, you can also use avocado oil, peanut oil, or even butter for a richer flavor profile (avoid using butter at very high heats though).

What can I add for extra flavor?

Aromatics like garlic, onion, or shallots sauteed at the beginning add a flavor base. Fresh herbs like thyme or chopped fresh ginger can be added towards the end for a bright touch.

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Best sauteed vegetables

Ultimate Sauteed Vegetables


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 7 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Here’s how to make the best sauteed vegetables! This is your roadmap to perfectly crisp-tender, brightly colored, and flavor-packed veggies every time.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 multi-colored bell peppers (we used red and yellow)
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 head broccoli (8 ounces, stem on) 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice the peppers. Slice the onion. Cut the carrot into thin rounds, on the bias. Cut the broccoli into small florets.
  2. Toss the vegetables in a bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil and the oregano, kosher salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper.
  3. In large skillet*, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until tender and lightly charred, stirring occasionally. Taste and add a few pinches of additional salt to taste. Serve immediately. 

Notes

*Aluminum, copper, or cast iron pans are best, since they get the best browning. You can also use non-stick, but it won’t have the same level of browning.

Variation: Try adding one of the following seasoning blends to taste: fajita seasoning, taco seasoning, Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning or Greek seasoning, or Old Bay.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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6 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow I love how you well Vanished it

  2. Lisa Cheesebrough says:

    Fantastic recipe! Thank you! Using the stainless steel pan to add a little browning was the trick. The timing chart was so perfect. Much appreciated.

  3. Jeff says:

    One look at your vegetables and I could tell you all are pros. I do my veg the same exact way all the time. I have been cooking for 40 years and get more complements on this style of vegetable then any other thing. I have a customer that just want sautéed carrots like in your picture with every order. You both do very nice work.






  4. Finally,,,a recipe without a long boring story attached that gets in the way of what is imp[ortant...namely the recipe. Thank you. Barbara Roche,,,san miguel de allende, Mexico says:

    see above

  5. Lori Chambers says:

    Love the veggie recipe for zucchini.
    Trying tonight. Thank you…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe!