Cooking Technique: Healthy Sautéing

Updated:Jan 13,2015

sauteing vegetables in panIn its customary form, sautéing uses fats and oils to cook vegetables, seafood and meat.

Slender sautéing uses a small amount of liquid, such as broth, wine, juice, or even plain water. Lots of recipes start with a sautéed onion.

Here’s how to do it the healthy way: 

  1. Heat one to two tablespoons of broth or water in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Once the liquid begins to bubble, add the chopped or sliced onions and cook, stirring frequently, for about five minutes. Don't worry if the onions start to stick to the pan, just add a little more liquid and keep stirring. This will release what little is stuck to the pan and actually adds extra flavor to your dish. If the onions look like they are burning, simply turn down the heat.
You can use this technique for all kinds of vegetables. It’s a good idea to cut your veggies in the same-size pieces and sauté just until they’re tender-crisp. Resist the urge to add more than a couple of tablespoons of liquid at a time, or you’ll just end up boiling the food.

For meats like chicken breasts, chops and steaks, start with a nonstick skillet lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cook the meat over medium heat for about a minute on each side to brown it. Then add a few tablespoons of liquid to the pan and cook until the meat is done. Most meats will release some additional liquid as they cook. As the liquid boils down, it will add a rich glaze to the meat. Any leftover liquid in the pan can be poured over the cooked meat to add flavor. Try orange juice with chicken and beef broth or red wine with steak.

Article copyright © 2016 American Heart Association. This recipe/article is brought to you by the American Heart Association's Simple Cooking with Heart © Program. For more articles and simple, quick and affordable recipes, visit

Last reviewed 1/2015