Summer Vegetable Sauté

Here is a quick and easy way to dress up summer vegetables into a delicious side dish–my Summer Vegetable Sauté. The idea is to preserve the fresh-ripened flavor of the vegetables, while enhancing them with a light sauté and a hint of seasoning. It can be served warm immediately, or chilled for later and served as a salad.

Hear me cook this dish on Earth Eats, WFIU’s weekly show focused on local food and sustainable agriculture. It’s also a podcast you can find on iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.

In the recipe below, I use grape or cherry tomatoes, which are a great option any time of year. In tomato season, use your favorite, whether it’s cherry, beefsteak, plum, or heirloom. Just roughly dice to about 1-inch size and toss them in. If using good local fresh tomatoes, I would pop them in the pan and then remove immediately from heat. They really don’t need to cook and “blister the skins” as the recipe advises. If they are good tomatoes, just toss them in and you are done!

The whole thing can be the basis for a salad including your favorite greens as well. After cooking, allow the veggies to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate if not serving right away. When it’s time to serve, add your favorite greens and toss together. There should be enough liquid in the veggie mixture to “dress” the greens. If not, add a very light drizzle of olive oil and vinegar.

The idea is to play around with ingredients, seasonings, and applications. Give it a try and you’ll be on your way to more creative cooking!

Summer Vegetable Sauté

Note: This dish cooks quickly, so have all ingredients prepped and ready. Don’t overcook the vegetables. They should be tender-crisp when finished. Excellent accompaniment to grilled meats and fish. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C diced red onion (1-inch dice)
  • 1 C diced sweet mini peppers (1-inch dice, red, yellow, orange)
  • 1 C grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1-2 T fresh basil, chopped

Heat a non-stick sauté pan or skillet on medium-low heat. Drizzle with olive oil and toss in onions and peppers. Increase heat to medium. Stir gently, but don’t over-stir, so as to allow veggies to brown slightly. Sprinkle with a pinch (1/4 tsp) kosher salt and a grind or two of pepper. After 3 minutes, add the tomatoes. Stir gently and allow tomatoes to begin to blister their skins. After 2-3 minutes, drizzle veggies with vinegar and add honey. Lightly toss to combine, then remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly.

Transfer mixture to a serving bowl, add chopped basil and taste for salt/pepper, adjust if needed. Give it another drizzle of olive oil and serve immediately. 

Option 1: Allow vegetable mixture to cool to room temperature, then add fresh mozzarella (1-inch diced pieces or balls). Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Option 2: Change out the seasonings for a different flavor profile. For instance, red wine vinegar, oregano, and feta cheese for a Greek taste. Or substitute other seasonings as you like.

Option 3: Substitute or add other summer vegetables, such as zucchini, peas, or sweet corn removed from cob.