How to cook without oil on a plant-based diet? Don’t use water instead!

As you might have heard, oil is a processed food and all the plant-based doctors advise against it. Mic the Vegan even called it “The vegan killer” because it might be the one thing that could cause heart disease for vegans. But if you found this article you probably already know all that and now you are wondering how to cook without using oil?

Don’t use water!

Who likes boiled or steamed onions – I don’t. Yuck. Someone made this up and now everyone is saying the same thing. “Just replace oil when sauteing with a little bit of water or vegetable stock.” NO! That’s steaming or even boiling if you put too much, but definitely not sauteing. We want caramelization!

No-oil cookware

Choose your pan wisely. For dryer and more starch and protein-rich foods, you will definitely need a non-stick pan. I’m talking about patties, chickpea omelets, crepes, tofu and such. But for vegetables and foods that contain a lot of water, you can use a regular pan as long as you pre-heat it.

Don’t preheat nonstick cookware on high temperatures

Sauteing onions and peanuts with no oil.

Nonstick cookware, on the other hand, shouldn’t be preheated at high temperatures, because the nonstick lining could get damaged. Always respect the instructions that came with your cookware. Yes, I’m one of those people who reads the instructions for everything and you should be too!

Sauteing vegetables without oil

So heat up your pan according to the instructions. If it’s a nonstick pan, just get it warm. Add your veggies one by one, adding a little pinch of salt, so they release water. Don’t touch them until they start to brown and lose water! You can mix them when you hear the sizzle. When they are nice and brown and start to stick, because their water evaporated, add the next veggie and do the same process again. That fresh veggie will release its water and deglaze the previous vegetable. Do this until you run out of veggies, putting the ones that need the least time in the end.

Deglazing the pan

Then and only then, you can add water if you want. Veggies are nice and caramelized, the Maillard reaction has already done its job, then you can add a splash of water or a sauce, to deglaze the rest of the pan. If the last vegetable you add has a lot of water, you might not even need to do that. 

Roasting seeds and nuts

If you wish to roast some seeds or nuts, be sure to add them to the pan in the beginning. They need to be roasted dry. You can then set them aside or just roast them along with veggies. I leave them in the pan because I think they give a nice flavor to the veggies.


Enjoy these easy instructions on how to cook without oil. Feel free to save them or share them with your friends.

Easy instructions on how to cook without oil.

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