Simple Sautéed Vegetables

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Sautéed vegetables are an easy and healthy side dish that add a touch of elegance to any dish. While any vegetable can be sautéed, these simple sautéed vegetables were the usual accompaniment to any main course in culinary school.

sauteed vegetables in bowl.

The freshmen would practice cutting techniques daily, and the natural result was to turn them into the evening’s side dish. This recipe uses a variety of colorful root vegetables which are blanched, then sautéd in butter and seasoned with fresh thyme or parsley, kosher salt and white pepper. (This post was originally published August 19, 2014)

sauteed vegetables in white bowl.

What you need for sautéed vegetables

This recipe, uses 2 1/2 pounds of assorted root vegetables, and will serve about 6 people as a side dish. Not a fan or rutabaga or turnips? This works with just carrots too.

variety of vegetables.

But I do encourage you to try rutabaga and turnips if you never have! These particular vegetables are more or less the same texture, so they will use the same cooking process. The cooking time will vary depending on what type of vegetable you choose.

  • Sharp knife, I like to use a chef’s knife or santoku knife.
  • Cutting board
  • 2 1/2 pounds assorted root vegetables
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter
  • Fresh chopped thyme, about 1 Tablespoon.
  • Kosher salt or sea salt to taste.
  • White pepper. White pepper is finer than cracked black pepper and therefore is stronger. I like using white pepper with many dishes where I don’t want the pepper to show in the finished dish. I also use white pepper in mashed potatoes, and on scallops.
sauteed vegetables in white bowl.

How to make sautéed veggies

This post on Different Types of Vegetable Cuts shows the names for each cut that would be used in a professional kitchen. I’ve chosen three different vegetables; carrots, rutabaga and turnips. For even cooking, each cut should be similar in size. In culinary school the imperfect pieces would end up in stocks or soups, but as long as they’re uniform in size, don’t worry about being perfect. A hard vegetable will take longer to sauté. Because these are harder root vegetables, it’s necessary to par-boil or blanch them prior to sautéeing them.

  • Place the cutting board on a flat surface. I like to put a damp towel under the cutting board to keep the board from moving.
  • The carrots can be cut in half or thirds, trimmed then cut into long pieces similar in size to the rutabaga and turnip.
cutting carrots.
  • For the turnip and rutabaga, cut thick planks. Then cut the planks into even pieces about 2 1/2 inches long. 
cut turnips.
  • Bring a large pot or sauce pan of water to a boil over medium heat. Add a Tablespoon of kosher salt to boiling water. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
cut veggies and ice.
  • Once the water is boiling, add cut vegetables and boil just until vegetables are slightly tender, about 3-4 minutes. The vegetables will be cooked again when they’re finished in butter.
ice bath of veggies.
  • The blanched vegetables can be stored in an airtight container over night at this point.
  • Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over a medium heat. 
  • Add butter and blanched vegetables. Briefly sauté vegetables in hot pan, just until heated through. Season with fresh thyme, salt and white pepper to taste. 
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Looking for a good skillet?

I love this reasonably priced stainless steel 12-inch Skillet, or this Cast Iron Pan.

What to serve with sautéed vegetables

This simple recipe is a delicious and colorful side dish to a variety of dishes. Try it with Pan Seared ScallopsRack of PorkPrime Rib, or Roast Chicken. 


scallops with sauteed vegetables.

Looking for more easy vegetable side dishes?

Harvest Squash is a variety of colorful veggies including yellow squash, zucchini and carrots with parmesan cheese, fresh minced garlic and fresh herbs. If you love bell peppers, try this Mediterranean Vegetable Sauté with red bell pepper is a great option for busy weeknights. More great vegetable options are the Vegetable Stir Fry with bok choy, or mashed Sweet Potatoes with Browned Butter and Sage is an easy side dish.


Sautéed vegetables top shot.

Simple Sautéed Vegetables

Simple sautéed vegetables with butter and fresh thyme is an easy and elegant side dish.
5 from 25 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Vegetarian
Servings 6 servings.


  • 1 pounds Carrots peeled, and sliced into thick julienne.
  • 12 ounces rutabaga peeled, and sliced into thick julienne.
  • 12 ounces turnips peeled, and sliced into thick julienne.
  • 1-2 Tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter
  • Kosher to taste
  • white pepper


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
  • Cut vegetables in similar shaped thick julienne cut about 1/4" thick by 2-3" inches long.
  • Boil vegetables for 3-4 minutes just until crisp tender. Don't over cook. Drain vegetables and plunge into ice water to stop cooking. If preparing in advance. Refrigerate at this point.
  • When ready to finish cooking, heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add vegetables and swirl pan in butter just until heated through. Season with salt and white pepper.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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