Sauté Sans Oil

Catherine here!

This is the first week in almost two months that my sister, Priya, is not here in Columbus with me. It was so fantastic having her visit and work in the lab for the summer. Since I am sad she is gone, I decided to share with you one of her favorite recipes we made together this summer. For those of you who do not know, Priya and I spent the summer trying out healthy recipes that she could learn to take back with her to college in Minnesota. She moved from the dorms into an apartment this year and wanted to learn how to cook. One of her favorite recipes was Spicy Orange Broccoli Soba Noodles.

I also chose this recipe for this week, because I wanted to share a cooking technique with you that I find very useful. I love the smell of sautéing onions and cannot get enough of stir fried veggies (especially Indian style okra…so so so good). However, oil is just so gross for your body it is not even funny. When oil is heated to high temperatures a process called oxidation occurs, producing free radicals. My boyfriend and I were just talking about oil producing free radicals the other day in fact. In high school he worked at a mall food court Chick-fil-a and remembered that they used to have to replace the oil in the fryers every so often to avoid oxidation build up from multiple frying sessions in the same oil vat. Free radicals are the annoying cancer promoting molecules you are trying to get rid of when you eat anything containing “antioxidants.” Furthermore a tablespoon of oil (does not matter what kind) has 120-140 calories, which adds up FAST. Even those “fat free” cooking sprays are lying to you; they are 100% F-A-T! Check out the serving size on this label. Really? Now what in the world can I do with 1/3 seconds of sprayed canola oil? Shame on you, tricky label.

Good thing for all of us that oil is in no way necessary for sautéing. You can sauté with any liquid…even water! Just line the bottom of your pan with a thin layer of water (approx. ¼ cup) over high heat and go to town until the garlic, onions, etc. are cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated. You could also use vegetable broth, soy sauce, salsa, balsamic vinegar, beer, or wine just to name a few alternatives. If you do not drink alcoholic beverages for religious reasons, all the alcohol burns off in the cooking process so the beer and wine serve only as flavor additives.  So give it a try next time you need to sauté onions or peppers in a recipe. I do not have a good non stick pan (I really need to invest in one) so I always line my pan with the liquid I am using. If you are fortunate enough to have a non stick pan, I recommend this video as a great tutorial for sautéing and stir frying without oil that uses less liquid. The man in it seems really excited about teaching you his technique. I always appreciate a fellow healthy cooking enthusiast! No Oil Stir Frying

I hope you try sautéing sans oil in this week’s recipe. Once I tried the technique, I was definitely hooked!! Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this week’s recipe before we ate it. The picture below is similar to what it looked like. I honestly was not expecting us to like it as much as we did. I was worried about mixing orange marmalade with soy sauce and was not sure how my sister would feel about soba noodles. My sister cannot stand whole wheat pasta and soba noodles are made out of buckwheat and whole wheat flour so I was a bit apprehensive. However, we were both pleasantly surprised at how delicious this was. If you do not like broccoli like me, try substituting in another green veggie, like green beans. Thank you for stopping by and checking out our blog.

Spicy Orange Broccoli & Noodles | serves 4 from Happy Herbivore


  • 8 oz soba noodles (or other whole-wheat or gluten-free pasta)
  • ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup minced fresh ginger
  • ¾ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup orange marmalade
  • 48 oz broccoli florets
  • 2 bell peppers, diced


  1. Prepare noodles or pasta according to package instructions and set aside.
  2.  Meanwhile, cook broccoli according to package instructions (microwave) and set aside.
  3.  Pour a thin layer of water into a skillet and sauté bell peppers, until soft and most water is gone.
  4. Add ⅓ cup water, soy sauce, ginger and red pepper flakes. Turn heat to high and sauté until ginger is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Whisk in marmalade and heat for another 30 seconds to a minute.
  6.  Add broccoli, reduce heat to low and toss to coat.
  7. Toss with cooked noodles or pasta and serve.

About cat101111

I am a biomedical graduate student with a passion for health, food, and demonstrating God's love to all of His creatures.
This entry was posted in Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Sauté Sans Oil

  1. Pingback: An adventure in healthier food | Rolling Staircase

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s