Trade School

Trade School session #3-Sweat vs. Saute


Trade School time, Trade School time!

Today we are having a lesson on something I am always wanting to learn more about—cooking! Our teacher today is Mrs. Dana from Cooking at Café D, a fellow Chicago blogger that I’ve had the privilege of meeting in person!  Her blog always has great, easy to  make, recipes that I know you’ll love.  Be sure stop by and visit her when you’re done learning the different between a sweat and a sauté. Bon appetit!


The Sweat vs. Sauté

First, thank you to Sarah for inviting me to be your Substitute today for “Trade School.” My name is Dana and I’m dropping by from Cooking at Café D. Our little blog began in 2007 and you can read more about that and why I blame Alton Brown. And, you can read how spending time volunteering in my church turned into a both a job and a passion.

Café D is a a casual place, a blend of healthy cooking, quick fix dinners, crafts and sometimes even a bit of bacon. (Okay, a lot of bacon.) Chance are good that you live a pretty busy life, so we try to make it easy to find what you want. In the sidebar, you can find categories such as How Healthy, How Quick (Meals), How Organized, How Inspirational, etc.

Today, we’re talking about… The Difference Between The Sweat and the Sauté.

The word sweat might not sound appetizing – and it might not sound like it belongs in your kitchen. But, it does. If you’ve ever cooked your onions on low until they were translucent – you’ve sweated!

You see, to sweat your veggies you generally use low to medium heat and you are cooking to heat but not color. To pull moisture out and to blend flavors a bit. You’re not trying to rush this, we want the veggies to meld. An example would be a mirepoix – carrots, onions, and celery. If you are making a soup, like the Greek Lentil Soup (called Fakes) shown above – you aren’t going for color on the veggies. It’s more about getting them to soften and release their flavors. If you use salt, and we do, a little salt on the veggies will help release moisture and get the sweat moving. If you are hearing some sizzle, the heat is too high.

Sauté is different. The pan is hotter, medium to high heat. You are looking to get some color on the veggies. Rather trying to get the favors to meld like on a sweat, the sauté is all about keeping the carrots tasting like carrots, broccoli tasting like broccoli.

Think stir-fry.

You want to hear some sizzle here. You want to be sure your pan is not overcrowded and that there isn’t too much oil or moisture – otherwise you will end up sweating, instead. (If that happens, just take some veggies out and work in two batches.)

Have you ever tried to brown ground beef and instead just had it almost boiling in liquid – turning grey instead of a nice tasty brown? That can happen with a saute, too. Too much liquid or overcrowding will prevent you from getting a nice brown on your veggies, too.

Cliff’s Notes – on Sweating v. Sautéing

What’s a Sweat? Pan can be low sided like a sauté pan or high sided like a Dutch oven. Low to medium heat Cooking slowly Not too much concern about over-crowding Trying to get flavors to meld Frequently used for mirepoix for soups and stews It’s a moist process – salt will help to pull moisture out Not looking for color – looking for translucent onions If you hear a sizzle, turn down the heat.

What’s a Sauté? Pan is usually shallow sided sauté pan Medium to High heat Cooking faster Do not overcrowd pan Trying to keep flavors fresh and unique Frequently used in stir-fry It’s a drier process Trying to get some nice color If you hear a bubble instead of a sizzle, turn up the heat.

So, here’s your homework. Grab a sauté pan and some veggies. Cook them. Then tell us whether you used a sauté or a sweat and what you cooked! Pretty simple🙂

Want to keep in touch? You can find Cooking on Cafe D on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, read us via RSS and even have us sent to your email inbox. Just stop on over to the blog and choose your pleasure.

Thanks again to Sarah for allowing us to be today’s Substitute. And, be nice to Mrs. Sarah, now. (She’ll be grading your tasty homework!) ~ Dana



Thanks, Dana!  Is it just me, or do you really want to eat some stir fry right now? 

I know that I learned something from this lesson, and I hope you did too!  I really really hope that some of you will be able to do your “homework” this week! I wasn’t able to give out gold stars last week and that makes me a sad teacher Sad smile

Just try sweating or sautéing something, snap a pic, send it to me, and you’ll be featured! Easiest homework ever!

10 thoughts on “Trade School session #3-Sweat vs. Saute

  1. I am pretty sure I’ve been sweating all of my vegetables! My poor vegetables! When they needed to be sauteed, I was sweating them. I’m sure of it. The stress! Thanks for the tips, though!


  2. Wow…I’m not sure I’m capable of sweating my veggies since my temp options here are off or high. Who am I kidding, I really just can’t cook.😉 Love the lesson though, I am a HUGE fan of Mrs. Dana and all of her kitchen tips…and one day I will make her proud (I hope). :)Another fun Trade School edition Sarah!


    1. Your welcome, Jessica!And, bear in mind that almost ALL recipes – except for those written by chefs – will say saute. But, now you can just for yourself…if they are using low heat, trying to get the flavors to meld, they really mean sweat.~ Dana


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