Constructing an on-the-spot Simple Sauté is really very easy and makes whipping up a quick meal that is healthy, delicious, and comforting a snap any day of the week!

Simple Sautés do not demand any particular set of ingredients – you use what you have in your fridge, garden, CSA basket…. It is also a great way to get lots of dark leafy greens into your meals.

By following these general guidelines, you can pull together a vast array of Simple Sautés!

1. Gather your ingredients. You will want something oniony, like onions, scallions, leeks, shallots, or even those wild onions sticking up out of your lawn! I have nurtured a bunch of perennial onions in my garden – things like HeShiko Scallions, Egyptian Walking Onions, and Elephant Garlic keep growing year after year if you leave some in the ground and don’t harvest all of them. Ramps or Bear’s Garlic can be found (or you can plant them) in shady wooded areas. If you leave a leek or two in the ground over winter, they will flower and seed themselves! The onions pictured are “new” or “spring” onions – they would have turned into regular onions with the dry skin if I left them in the ground longer and then cured them. But I needed onions now, so I harvested them early!

Peppers – can be mild or hot are also great starters for a Simple Sauté. They add lots of flavor and zing along with the onions. greens, the stems of greens, mushrooms, garlic, squash, string beans, pea pods, broccoli, turnips, etc. are all great additions. 

And you’ll want to add a protein and fat – I like using organic skinless boneless chicken thighs. The dark meat has a nice balance of fat – and they are super fast and easy to prep and use. 

2. Prep your ingredients – Simple Sautés cook up fast and quick – you should have everything washed and cut and ready to be dropped into the sauté pan.

Here we have:

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 spring onions, coarsely chopped
a handful of shishito (mild-hot) peppers cut in half
1/2 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
a pinch of red pepper flakes
a pinch of onion powder 
a dash of sea salt 
a dash of black pepper

3. Start up the heat – Heat up your pan under medium heat and add olive oil.

Then add above ingredients. 

I also added some stems from the Swiss Chard Greens. I chopped up the chard stems like celery and cooked them along with the onions. You cook the stems and leafy part separately because the stems take longer to cook than the green part that we put in at the very last minute. 

4. Once your onions and preliminary veggies are softening but not mushy (about 3-4 minutes), add the chicken and garlic. 

I used the whole package of thighs and a whole bulb of fresh garlic coarsely chopped.

5. Just as the chicken started to cook on the outside, I added the mushrooms.

6. And let that all cook thoroughly.

7. As the meat cooks, you usually have time to chop your greens thoroughly. Use a lot – they cook down tremendously. I used a bunch of Swiss chard and a bunch of kale.

8. You may want to add pasta or some other carb like rice – carbs are not evil and are good if eaten in balance. I like adding some pasta to my Simple Sautés, especially if I’m feeling stressed out. 

Cook the pasta or rice separately as directly on package.

9. Once the meat is cooked through, add the chopped greens and pasta if using.

NOTE: I often save some of the pasta water (1/2 to 1 cup) to add to sauté at end as well. The starchy pasta water takes up the oiliness and makes for a silkier sauciness.

10. Finish it up and serve! Cook until the greens are tender yet still bright green. Mix thoroughly and taste for salt and pepper.

More Simple Sauté Recipes….

Simple Dark Greens Sauté 

1-2 cups of various finely-chopped seasonal greens
1 lb shrimp or sliced chicken breast or thigh (you can also use tofu, sausage, scallops, clams, or pork for different effects)
5-6 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5-6 tbsp Clam Juice, Chicken Broth, or White Wine
A sprinkle red pepper flakes
1-4 cloves/toes garlic – chopped coarsely
½ onion or 3 welsh onions – chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: cooked pasta or rice can be added as well
Seasonal: as the season progresses, you can add chopped summer squash, peppers, green beans to this sauté.

Heat Olive Oil in a sauté pan. Sauté onion, red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic. Add meats and any large vegetable pieces.

Get a nice sizzling going where the meat starts to brown and brown bits start to form on pan bottom, then add clam juice, chicken broth, or white wine and deglaze pan, scraping the bottom and stirring vigorously.

Add the chopped greens. Once everything is cooked through, you can add the optional pasta/rice and cook another minute. Take off the heat and add the chopped seasonal greens and serve.

Pepper Sauté 
This is one of my favorite summer comfort foods. 

olive oil
dried or fresh oregano – about 1/2 tsp dried or 1 tbsp fresh 
a sprinkle of chili flakes if you want
a sprinkle of garlic powder or minced fresh garlic 
onions of various sorts
peppers of various sorts
little frozen “salad” shrimp
you can also add squash, kale, chard, or really any other vegetable!
sea salt and black pepper to taste
cooked pasta (retain a bit of pasta water in case)

Chop the peppers and onions into 1/2 sized pieces. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add oregano, garlic, and chili flakes. Once warmed and starting to smell good, add onions, peppers, and shrimp. Cook until onions and peppers are softened. Add other vegetables such as squash or chopped chard. Once those are just getting tender, add pasta. Thoroughly mix and let pasta cook in sauce for a bit to meld flavors. If a little oily, add a dash of the retained pasta water. And then serve! 

Turnip Sauté 

1 bunch or white Japanese turnips, cut into 1/2″ cubes 
1 small or medium onion or one bunch of scallions, chopped 
3 carrots, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
Extra vIrgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to tase
Fresh herbs, chopped

Heat olive oil in sauté pan. Add onions and cook until just soft. Add turnips and carrots and salt and pepper. Cook until they are soft but still have a bit of bite. Add greens and fresh herbs, cook one more minute. Serve and enjoy!

Cabbage and Shallot Sauté

1/2 of a small, fresh cabbage, cut into bite-sized pieces 
2 medium shallots, sliced 
1 tbsp grassfed butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter and oil in a sauté pan. Add shallots and cook just until starting to get tender, about a minute. Add cabbage and cook until bright and tender. But don’t cook too much so it’s mushy. Taste as you go and season…

So good and so healthy! Cabbage is one of the healthiest foods on the earth.