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Wicked Healthy: How to Sauté and Roast Without Oil

A brand-new recipe collection from hotshot vegan chefs Chad and Derek Sarno with David Joachim, The Wicked Healthy Cookbook is filled with crave-worthy plant-based recipes. Not every recipe is oil-free, but the authors took care to include a list of every oil-free dish in the book, including an incredible, emerald-hued Split Pea and Chard Soup you can try here. The book also offers some great advice for getting the best results when roasting or sautéeing without oil, and the brothers Sarno were kind enough to share this excerpt with FOK readers. 

How to Brown Without Oil
The goal of sautéing and roasting is to build flavor in the ingredient by browning it. You don’t need oil for that. What you need is high heat, and maybe some flavorful liquid and rapid motion to keep the food from sticking.

For no-oil sautéing, heat a dry pan over medium-high heat until it’s wicked hot. Then add your vegetables, aromatics, or whatever you’re sautéing to the dry pan and let some of the moisture evaporate. You actually want the ingredients to stick to the pan a bit for browning, but not so much that they burn.

Shake the pan or stir rapidly to prevent burning. When you see some browning on the food and/or pan, add a splash of stock, juice, vinegar, coconut water, beer, wine, or other flavorful liquid to “deglaze” the pan and capture all that delicious browned flavor you just created. Add a splash at a time—just enough to loosen the ingredients and dissolve the brown glaze on the pan.

No-oil roasting is very similar. The difference is that everything happens in the oven. Food also dries out more over the long roasting time, so you might add a bit more flavorful liquid to replace lost moisture. Even so, preheat your oven to pretty hot, around 400°F. Then toss your veg with some flavorful liquid before adding it to the roasting pan. Use just enough liquid to lightly coat the veg. It helps to use savory liquids here because the longer cooking time could cause sweet liquids to burn. Spread the veg in a single layer on baking sheets with a little space around each piece of food to encourage browning. As it roasts, let the food cook without stirring until it starts to brown on the bottom and “unstick” itself from the pan. When it’s brown, give it a stir to turn the browned side up. If the food sticks, add a splash more liquid to help loosen it. Continue roasting, turning and adding a bit of liquid until the food is tender and nicely browned. The thicker the veg, the longer the cooking time.

Excerpted from The Wicked Healthy Cookbook, by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David Joachim. Copyright © 2018 by Chad Sarno and Derek Sarno. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.

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Chad and Derek Sarno

Chad (left) and Derek (right) Sarno are chefs, brothers, passionate “plant pushers,” and co-authors of The Wicked Healthy Cookbook. Chad is the lead instructor of the Forks Over Knives Online Cooking Course and former VP of Plant-Based Education and Culinary Wellness at Rouxbe Online Culinary School. He is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller Crazy Sexy Kitchen. Derek is the Director of Plant-Based Innovation at U.K. retail giant Tesco. Formerly the Senior Global Executive Chef for Whole Foods Market, he has owned critically acclaimed restaurants and catering businesses, founded a sustainable farm, and spent several formative years as a farmer and chef at an international Tibetan Buddhist monastery in upstate New York.

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