Ultimate Sauteed Vegetables

Here’s how to make the best sauteed vegetables: colorful, flavor-packed and crisp tender! Gone are the days of the soggy veggie saute.

Sauteed vegetables

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 saute is often done wrong: it’s super soggy, or completely bland in flavor. Think of that pile of limp zucchini and carrots you might eat at a wedding buffet. So why don’t we do a total makeover on the old veggie saute? These sauteed vegetables are beautifully colored, bursting with flavor and crisp tender in texture. They’re the perfect side dish you’ve never had. Ready to get started?

How to sauté vegetables: the basics

Sautéing is hands down the fastest way to cook vegetables. The word comes from the French work “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 (called the Maillard reaction, the scientific term for browning food). Here are the basic steps for sauteeing vegetables, and the approximate timing for each type of vegetable:

  1. Chop the vegetable into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat it over medium high heat.
  3. Add the veggies and cook until tender, stirring frequently. Use the following approximate timing:
    1. Frozen peas: ~2 minutes
    2. Greens (kale, spinach): ~3 minutes
    3. Mushrooms: ~7 minutes
    4. Broccoli & Asparagus: ~8 minutes
    5. Cauliflower: ~10 minutes
    6. Bell peppers: ~10 to 12 minutes
    7. Carrots: ~12 minutes
Best sauteed vegetables

Ingredients for these ultimate sauteed vegetables

For this sautéed vegetables recipe, we wanted to pick vegetables that would cook in approximately the same amount of time. When you choose vegetables with different cook times, you can 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 them all at once! We also wanted to pick a rainbow of colors to make a visually appealing dish, and load on the nutrients. Here’s what we ended up with:

  • Bell peppers: Bell peppers are beautiful, delicious, and are loaded with Vitamin C. A medium red bell pepper provides a whopping 169% of your daily vitamin C! (Source
  • Red onion: Red onion brings a delicious complimentary flavoring to the sauteed veggies.
  • Carrot: Carrot brings color, a big dose of Vitamin A, and a sweet flavor. (Source)
  • Broccoli: Broccoli adds a splash of green, fiber and protein. We prefer it in a saute over cauliflower since it cooks faster.
How to saute 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. Here’s what to know:

  • 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 saute in non-stick pans! Just keep in mind that the veggies won’t brown as much as what you’ll see in the photos.

More sauteed vegetable recipes

Not looking for mixed vegetables? You can make sauteed vegetables by cooking just one type of vegetable at a time: and it’s truly delicious. Try them all!

Flavor variations: how 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:

Sauteed vegetables

Ways to pair sauteed vegetables

This sauteed vegetables recipe is a highly versatile healthy and easy 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:

This sauteed vegetables recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Best sauteed vegetables

Ultimate Sauteed Vegetables

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


Here’s how to make the best sauteed vegetables: colorful, flavor-packed and crisp tender! Gone are the days of the soggy veggie saute.



  • 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  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. 

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

Keywords: Sauteed vegetables, how to saute vegetables

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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