How To Steam-Fry Vegetables

Feel free to substitute any of favorite vegetable for those in this recipe, such as broccoli, bell peppers, onion, fennel, asparagus, or zucchini. Cut into bite-sized pieces for cooking. (Note: Asparagus and other delicate vegetables will cook slightly more quickly; begin checking for doneness sooner than with other vegetables.)

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2  pound (1/2  of one medium head) cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 1/2  pound green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2  pound (3 medium) carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4  cup water, stock, wine, or other liquid (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)


1 Heat the oil, then add the vegetables. In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until it begins to shimmer.

Add the vegetables in a single layer. It's fine if the vegetables overlap, but try not to crowd the pan too much; cook in two batches if you're using a smaller skillet. Sprinkle the salt evenly over top.

How To Steam Fry Vegetables How To Steam Fry Vegetables

2 Stir-fry the vegetables until they have some light brown spots, about 5 minutes.

How To Steam Fry Vegetables

3 Add the water or other liquid and cover the skillet. Let the vegetables steam, covered, just until tender. This usually takes about 4 minutes.

How To Steam Fry Vegetables How To Steam Fry Vegetables

4 Check the vegetables. Uncover the pan and use a fork to spear a few of the vegetables and see if they're tender or still crunchy. If done, cook the vegetables, uncovered, just another minute or so to let any remaining liquid evaporate from the pan. If not done, add another tablespoon or two of liquid, cover, and steam a bit longer

How To Steam Fry Vegetables

5 Serve: When the vegetables are tender, transfer them to a serving dish. Sprinkle with parsley (optional) and serve while still warm.