A Simple Sauté for All Your Side Dish Needs

June 10, 2021 Updated: June 10, 2021

Side dishes can sometimes be puzzling. When deciding what to serve alongside a main dish, it’s important to think about a couple of things:

1. I look for color contrast, textural contrast, and a side that complements the main course.

2. I want the side to have good flavor and not overpower or duplicate other flavors.

This dish covers most of my concerns, and I find I go back to this green melange often when I am planning my menu.

Thin asparagus and sugar snap peas go beautifully together. I like tossing in sweet baby peas to add a creamy contrast. White miso is the secret ingredient that brings an umami flavor addition.

I hope you will try this with your own signature additions. Try adding slivered red, orange, or yellow sweet peppers. That is a colorful mix for sure. This will go nicely with grilled steak, chicken, fish, or tofu.

Summer Green Vegetable Sauté

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large leek or 2 small leeks, white and light green part only, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 cups (about 1/2 pound trimmed) slender asparagus, cut in 1-inch dice
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, strings removed and cut in half horizontally
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon white miso paste
  • 1 cup frozen petite green peas, defrosted
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced paper thin
  • 2 tablespoons shredded basil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Sauté the leeks for about 4 minutes or until nicely softened. Add the asparagus pieces and sugar snap peas and cook for another 3 minutes, or until crisp tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the water and miso paste and bring to a simmer for about 5 more minutes or until vegetables are just cooked through. Add the green peas, garlic, basil, and lemon zest and cook another minute or until the peas are just warmed through. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately.

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at SeriouslySimple.com. Copyright 2021 Diane Rossen Worthington. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.