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How to sear veggies in skillet?

ESPRESSO_OR_ELSEESPRESSO_OR_ELSE Member Posts: 16 Member Member Posts: 16 Member
I’ve always put in a dabble of olive oil to sear veggies such as diced onion, bell peppers or garlic in a skillet. Now that I’m counting calories, 120 calories for a tablespoon of olive oil just can’t be done. I can’t substitute butter for the obvious reasons.

And advice on what you do? I thought about trying the Pam cooking spray, but I’m afraid that really isn’t designed to sear veggies.

Any recommendations on what you do is appreciated.


  • amy19355amy19355 Member, Premium Posts: 805 Member Member, Premium Posts: 805 Member
    I suggest you first try and see how many veggies you can sauté in one (1) teaspoon of olive oil.

    I was very surprised how far it goes.

    Use a measuring spoon to be sure of the portion control .

    Fat is an important part of the diet nutrition, work it in with knowledge and experience.

  • missysippy930missysippy930 Member Posts: 2,031 Member Member Posts: 2,031 Member
    It works well using Pam or a spritzer bottle designed to spray your favorite oil and a hot cast iron skillet.
  • LorleeeLorleee Member Posts: 369 Member Member Posts: 369 Member
    I don't think olive oil is an enemy. If using a little means you're eating tons of veggies then you're doing a good thing for yourself.
  • kimny72kimny72 Member Posts: 15,242 Member Member Posts: 15,242 Member
    First, as a small female, I am still almost always able to add enough oil or butter to my cooking to make things work and still hit my calorie goal.

    Second, you probably need less than you think you do. Cooking for one or two, I can usually get away with a teaspoon of oil in a skillet, and 2 teaspoons for roasting veggies. Just try out a smaller amount one day and see what happens, worst case scenario they come out a little dry.

    Pam is just oil in a can, so I don't see why it wouldn't work. But it's not 0 calorie, and if you spray liberally you are basically just using the same oil you'd pour out of a bottle.

    I'll sometimes hit the pan with a smidge of water or broth or soy sauce or something like that if the pan seems drier than I want it to be but my food isn't done yet.

    If your skillet is non-stick, you really just need a little oil. I know some folks use no oil and a little broth to cook veggies, but I'm not sure what sort of results that brings. Clarifying what you mean may help, I've never heard anyone say they were "searing" veggies. I think searing would imply browning them super quick in the pan? I usually hear it used as searing meat in a skillet to develop a nicely browned exterior and lock in moisture and then cook it slowly in the oven.
    edited February 2019
  • savithnysavithny Member Posts: 1,205 Member Member Posts: 1,205 Member
    Check the actual stats on the Pam spray - it's based on something like a one-second spritz. You'll use so much more than that amount that you might as well try a teaspoon of oil or butter, which will taste better, be cheaper, and help you absorb fat-soluable vitamins.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 15,620 Member Member, Premium Posts: 15,620 Member
    I find that in my well-seasoned 8" cast iron pan, 3g of olive oil is enough for all but the stickiest things, for around 30 calories. Since we need fats to best absorb the fat-soluble vitamins (among other health reasons), that seems worth it to me. (It doesn't take much more oil for the 12" pan.)

    I usually just pour from the bottle, so occasionally get a bit more or less, but just log what I use. (I put the bottle on the scale, tare to zero, pour, then put it back on the scale to read the negative. If you prefer to use spray oil - olive tastes nicer than original Pam if you ask me - the scale trick works fine with that, too.)
  • Crafty_camper123Crafty_camper123 Member Posts: 1,436 Member Member Posts: 1,436 Member
    It doesn't take much oil. The sprays work pretty well, and just a little dap of olive oil is all that is needed to sautee your veggies. For butter, if I just rub a cold stick on the pan, I find I use less then if I would have cut off a chunk and put it in the pan. To sear with no oil? You could bake/broil your veggies.
  • swirlybeeswirlybee Member, Premium Posts: 473 Member Member, Premium Posts: 473 Member
    When somebody says "sear" I take that to mean a hot skillet and browning whatever I'm cooking. I don't use oil for onions, garlic and bell peppers. For vegetables that I want to actually sear, like brussel sprouts or zucchini spears, I will use just a teaspoon of oil. Like others have said, it doesn't actually take that much.
  • TeaBeaTeaBea Member Posts: 14,270 Member Member Posts: 14,270 Member
    amy19355 wrote: »
    I suggest you first try and see how many veggies you can sauté in one (1) teaspoon of olive oil.

    I was very surprised how far it goes.

    Use a measuring spoon to be sure of the portion control .

    Fat is an important part of the diet nutrition, work it in with knowledge and experience.

  • GottaBurnEmAllGottaBurnEmAll Member Posts: 7,722 Member Member Posts: 7,722 Member
    Another member of it only needs 1/2 - 1 teaspoon club in a skillet.

    I've roasted whole pans of vegetables with as little as 1/2 teaspoon of oil and still had a nice caramelizaton happening, and for some veggies, no oil at all is needed to roast if you're using parchment. I usually do oil free roasting for meal prep when I know I'll be adding oil later on when it comes time to reheat/use the veggies.

    Cooking sprays are 9 calories a gram. You can tell how much you've used by putting the can on the scale, turning it on, using your spray, putting the can back on. The negative number will be the amount in grams you've used.
    edited February 2019
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