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Served on a bed of steaming rice, these Stir Fry Vegetables will have even the pickiest of eaters coming back for more.Dripping with our delectable sauce, these Stir Fry Vegetables will surely become your new favorite way to enjoy your veggies! Since most of the work is in the chopping and measuring, you can do that ahead of time – then when you’re ready to cook, you’ll have a healthy, vegetarian dinner on the table in no time. Stir-frying has origins in Chinese cuisine, and it involves fast-frying foods in a small amount of oil that has been heated to a very high temperature. This method results in that perfect, tender crunch that makes eating your vegetables this way so delightful. The key to perfect stir fry vegetables is to cook the veggies in separate batches – because some vegetables cook faster than others. (When you cook each vegetable separately, you won’t have some soggy and overcooked and others underdone and too crunchy.) Then, combine the cooked vegetables together, and toss in a flavorful sauce just before serving.
Why You’ll Love Stir Fry Vegetables!
- They’re flavorful. Even if you’re a reluctant veggie eater, you’ll love this dish.
- It’s a quick and easy recipe. Once everything is chopped and measured – you’re just minutes away from serving a delicious meal.
- This is a flexible recipe. You can do all of the prep ahead of time, then cook it later. You can also swap ingredients in or out – all based on your personal tastes, and what you have on hand.
- It’s healthy! You’ll easily eat your daily dose of vegetables in this incredible meal.
Chef’s Tip Stir fry vegetables are a great ‘refrigerator clean-out’ recipe! Make it with all of those leftover veggies in your produce drawer.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
- Veggies – We used broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, bok choy, sugar snap peas, and Shiitake mushrooms in our vegetable stir fry – but feel free to add or omit any vegetables you please. If you don’t have bok choy on hand, swap in budget-friendly green cabbage or other favorite greens.
- Cashews – We added toasted cashews to our stir fry for flavor and crunch, but you can leave them out if you prefer, or swap in other favorite nuts.
- Sauce – Peanut oil, chicken stock, and soy sauce are seasoned with ginger and garlic, among other flavorful ingredients. Thickened with a sherry and cornstarch slurry, this makes a rich and silky sauce for the veggies.
- Rice – We served our stir fry vegetables over piping-hot white rice. But you can swap in brown rice, Basmati or Jasmine rice, or even noodles of your choice.
- Garnish – Chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds are two optional garnishes we added for both texture and flavor – plus it looks good too! We recommend toasting the sesame seeds in a hot, dry pan before sprinkling them on top of the veggies – or buy already-toasted sesame seeds instead.
- Peanut Oil – Because you are cooking your stir fry vegetables over very high heat, you need to use an oil that won’t scorch. Peanut oil is a perfect choice because it has a high smoke point, plus it adds flavor. If you need to avoid peanuts, use grapeseed oil instead.
Special Supplies Needed
- A wok for stir-frying the veggies. A wok is ideally-suited for stir frying because the sloped sides allow the entire pan to get hot, plus you can easily stir and toss the ingredients as they cook. We highly recommend a metal wok that can withstand super-high heat (we actually use a $5 wok from IKEA!), rather than one with a non-stick coating.
- A large bowl to hold the cooked veggies while you stir fry each batch.
- Long-handled wok spatula or a wide, flat ladle for stirring the vegetables as they cook.
- Long-handled tongs and paper towels to safely wipe out the wok between vegetable batches. (Wiping the wok clean will prevent any little bits from burning.)
How do I Make Veggie Stir Fry?
- Prep Your Ingredients – This includes chopping all of the vegetables and measuring out the ingredients for the sauce (Read about mise en place here.) Once you start cooking, this recipe moves fast, so prepping every single ingredient ahead of time is very important. Our recipe below gives specific instructions for each vegetable.
- Toast the Cashews – While your wok is still dry, toast the cashews by tossing them over high heat until golden brown.
- Heat, Fry, Stir, Repeat – When you’re ready to cook, add oil to a hot wok, and swirl it around the pan. Cook each vegetable according to our recipe below, then place them in a large bowl as you cook the others in separate batches. (Just remember to wipe the wok clean in between each batch to avoid burning caused by little bits of vegetables left behind in the wok.)
- Make the Sauce – You’ll make this right in the same wok as you cooked the vegetables. Saute fresh ginger, garlic and scallions with chili peppers, then add a mix of soy sauce, stock, sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil and heat to hot and bubbling. Add a sherry and cornstarch slurry to thicken everything up. Note that this makes a very thick sauce that will be thinned out some once you add the vegetables and all their wonderful juices back into the wok.
- Combine and Serve – Pour all of the cooked vegetables and toasted cashews back into the wok. (Add any liquid that’s accumulated in your bowl too.) Stir to combine and coat everything in that succulent sauce. Then, serve immediately over rice, garnished with scallion greens and toasted sesame seeds and dig in!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use a different kind of oil for stir fry? As mentioned above, we cook with peanut oil (or grapeseed oil) for high heat frying because of its high smoke point. Don’t use olive oil or sesame oil as they will burn at high heat. Oils high in polyunsaturated fat – such as soybean – don’t do well cooked at such high heats either.
- How do I store leftover stir fry vegetables? Stir Fry will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for several days.
- How do I reheat leftover vegetable stir fry? A quick zap in the microwave – just until warmed through – works well, or toss the vegetables back in your wok over medium heat. The sauce may stick and burn as it reheats, so avoid super high heat and constantly stir until warmed through.
- Can vegetable stir fry be made ahead of time? Yes and no – the vegetable and sauce prep can be done ahead of time, but cook the vegetables as close to serving as possible. You can even prepare the ingredients ahead of time, and cook smaller portions for your meal, rather than the entire batch.
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White rice, for serving
½ cup raw cashews
2 small heads broccoli, 3-4 cups after trimming
½ large yellow onion, about 2 cups
2 medium carrots, about 1 cup
12 Shiitake mushrooms (about 3 ounces in weight)
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
4 ounces sugar snap peas
1 small head bok choy (about 10 ounces)
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
8 tablespoons peanut oil, divided (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
2 teaspoons finely grated garlic
½ teaspoon chili paste or flakes
1 bunch scallions, whites minced and greens saved for garnish
1/3 cup soy sauce
¾ cup chicken (or vegetable) stock, divided
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons corn starch
If serving with rice, start cooking that now, then keep warm until ready to serve.
In a dry wok over high heat, toast the cashews until golden. Remove to a plate and hold until the end.
Most of the time to prepare this dish is in the preparation of the vegetables and measuring out the sauce ingredients. The actual cooking process is short so make sure every single ingredient is prepared first.
To Prep the Vegetables:
Cut the bottom off of the broccoli head and discard. Then remove the individual florets and set aside. Peel the tough outer stalk and discard the peel then slice the peeled stalk and add to the florets. Set this aside.
Cut the ends off of the onion and cut in half from end to end. Turn the half onion onto the cut side and cut with the grain into slices, about a quarter inch thick. Set aside.
Peel the carrots and remove each end. With a sharp knife, cut each carrot into thin slices cut on the bias about a quarter inch thick. Set aside with the onions. These will be cooked together so they can be combined.
Remove the stem from the shiitake mushrooms and cut the hard knobby end from the stem and discard. Then slice the stem the long way into slices. Lay each cap down and slice into slices. Combine with the stems and set aside.
Cut each bell pepper into bite sized strips and set aside.
Rinse the snap peas and dry on paper towels and set aside. They remain whole.
After rinsing under cold water and removing any dirt from the bok choy, slice the stems into half inch thick slices across the stalks and reserve four ounces. Any leftover stems will need to be saved for other recipes. Set this aside.
Cut the leaves from the bok choy head and then slice into thick ribbons. The total weight of the leaves should also be about four ounces. Set this aside.
If garnishing with toasted sesame seeds, heat those in a dry pan for a few minutes to toast Set aside.
Have the remaining ingredients at the ready.
Have a large empty bowl, the chicken stock, long handled tongs, some paper towels and a metal long handle wok spatula or ladle nearby.
Cook the Vegetables:
Broccoli – Heat a wok or high sided pan over high heat (As high as you can) and once the pan is scorching hot, add one tablespoon of the peanut oil, swirl it around and add the broccoli. Cook the broccoli, tossing often, until the florets start to darken around the edges, about 1-2 minutes. Add two tablespoons of chicken stock and toss for a few more seconds while the broccoli absorbs the liquid. Add the broccoli to the large bowl.
Wipe the pan with a paper towel on the end of a pair of tongs so your hand doesn’t come near the hot pan.
Onions & Carrots – Add another tablespoon of peanut oil and once smoking hot, add onions and carrots and cook until just shy of tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add two tablespoons of stock and like before, toss until most of the liquid is gone and quickly transfer to the bowl with the broccoli.
Use tongs and paper towel and again wipe the wok.
Mushrooms – Heat another tablespoon of the peanut oil and once smoking hot, add the mushrooms and cook until well browned, tossing to brown all surfaces, about 4-5 minutes. Move these to the bowl with the vegetables.
Again, wipe wok with tongs and a paper towel.
Bell Peppers – Heat another tablespoon of oil and once smoking hot, add the bell peppers and cook about three minutes until slightly charred on the outside but still have some snap. Move to the bowl with the vegetables and again clean the wok as before.
Sugar Snap Peas – Heat one more tablespoon of oil and once smoking hot, add the snap peas and cook for about two minutes just to get a char on the outside. Remove to the bowl.
Bok Choy – Heat another tablespoon of oil and once hot, add the bok choy stalks and cook about two minutes until just starting to get tender. Add two tablespoons of chicken stock and after the liquid evaporates, add to the bowl.
Clean wok again and add just a few drops of oil and once hot, add the bok choy leaves and cook just to wilt, about a minute or so. Remove to the bowl.
Make the Sauce:
Once the pan is smoking hot again, add the remaining oil, ginger, garlic, chili peppers and the scallion whites all at once and toss and stir for about one minute. Watch for splattering.
Add the soy sauce, remaining chicken stock, sugar, vinegar and sesame oil and heat to bubbling.
While the liquid heats, in a small bowl, mix sherry and corn starch then add to the hot liquid to thicken it. The mixture will be very thick.
Once the sauce thickens, add all of the vegetables from the bowl, including any liquid in the bowl, as well as the toasted cashews and toss and stir to heat.
NOTE…The liquid from the vegetable bowl will thin the sauce as you toss giving a nice coating to the stir fry. If you like a thicker sauce, mix another teaspoon of corn starch in a few drops of water and stir it into the mixture.
Remove from heat and pour onto a serving platter or bowl and top with the sliced scallion greens and sesame seeds.
Serve over hot cooked rice.
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