Looking for ways to get more veggies in your diet? There are lots of cooking techniques that can be used to create tasty vegetable dishes. You can make a salad, cut up crudite, oven roast, steam, boil, etc. Today, I wanted to share one of my favorite ways of cooking vegetables: Steam Sauteing. My sense is a lot of people don’t know about this technique, so I wanted to write a post & share a quick video on how it is done.

Video: Steam Sauteing (the video won’t win any awards for production value, but the basic technique is there! 🙂 )

What is Steam Sauteing? Why Should I Use this Technique?

Basically, steam sauteing is stir-frying vegetables (putting a lid on the pan to allow the contents to steam) with a little bit of water instead of oil. I cook my vegetables to an al-dente level of doneness – so there is still a bit of crunch left in the vegetables. It’s simple and quick, preserves the “original” flavor of the vegetable, and doesn’t have added calories from oil.

It’s a great way to consume more quantities of nutrient-dense, low calorie vegetables too. For instance, when you steam saute spinach, you shrink down the volume considerably. So, in a few bites of steam sauteed spinach, you will getting a much larger amount of vitamins and nutrients than the same number of bites if you ate a raw spinach salad. This is a good way to increase the amount of vegetables and nutrients in your diet.

Because it is a “no fat” way to cook vegetables, when you compose your meal using the “plate method“, you still have the option to add another source of healthy fat as you see fit. For example, you might add diced avocado, seeds, nuts, etc on your plate. Or alternatively, prior to serving, you can drizzle some healthy, less processed oils such as extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, etc. on your vegetables if you want your fat to be on your veggies. Think of steam sauteed vegetables as a foundation on your plate that you can build on top of.

What Types of Vegetables Can I Steam Saute?

You can use this technique on almost any fresh vegetable. For instance, I routinely steam saute green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, mushrooms, spinach, bok choy, Chinese broccoli, zucchini, etc.

How Do the Veggies Taste?

Steam sauteed vegetables are light and let the true flavor of the vegetable shine. If you are used to heartier cooking methods (frying, cooking with a lot of oil/butter/cream), it may take a while to get used to the “plainer” flavor. But, once you get used to the lightness of the vegetables, you’ll find the dishes to be quite tasty.

Steam sauteing is a versatile technique. You can add seasonings as you see fit. Generally, I just use salt and freshly ground pepper. Sometimes I will use soy sauce. You can add dry spices such as oregano, basil, chili powder, add hot sauce, etc. When serving, a squirt of lemon or a drizzle of homemade vinaigrette can perk up the taste as well.

Sourcing Suggestions:

Vegetables: The most important factor in how the vegetables taste is their level of freshness. My favorite ways of purchasing vegetables is through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription. They are fresher, and getting a batch of vegetables either delivered to your door or picked up from a depot means you always have vegetables in your fridge. I have enjoyed the Jubilee Farm CSA (which has a convenient pick up depot in Newport Hills) as well as the Full Circle CSA. In addition to the CSA, I usually also purchase vegetables from PCC and SMart (Asian grocery right across the street from Grey Coast CrossFit).

Salt: My favorite brand of salt is “Redmond Real Salt”. I think it tastes good, and the company claims their salt has fewer pollutants than sea salt. You can purchase Redmond Real Salt in many stores and online. PCC has a good price on it in their bulk foods section.

Pepper: My favorite pepper grinder is the Unicorn Pepper Mill. Each grind yields a lot of pepper, so it’s a time saver. I purchase my peppercorns from Costco in bulk.

Olive Oil: My favorite olive oil is Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, purchased at Costco. It’s a good price for organic EVOO, and author Samrat Nosrin (“Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat”) also recommends it.

Happy Cooking!

Joann, GCCF Nutrition Coach