Stir frys are a bit of a Catch-22 when it comes to stress-free weeknight cooking. The actual cooking part takes mere moments, but the prep work can be a total time suck, especially depending on the produce you’re using and how much you need to prepare. If you have a bit more money than time, the store salad bar is a gift from heaven, everything is pre-cut and infinitely customizable to your tastes and the amount of mouths you have to feed. But even for those of us keeping an eye on our grocery bill, the prep work needn’t be a deal breaker. A food processor with a slicing blade can be a great time saver and also helps to keep sizes relatively uniform. I personally prefer to take a knife to the veggies so that I can vary the size of the cuts, which gives this finished dish more texture. That said, in the ultimate pinch, swing open the freezer door and grab a bag or two of your favorite frozen mixed veggies. It’s quick, easy and economical. However you go about it, this a wonderfully healthy meal and a terrific meat-free option to be served on top a bed of brown or white rice.
Quick Tips: microwavable pre-cooked rice bags are the absolute best with a dish like this, no extra pans to wash and ready in seconds. Just make sure to load up on them while they’re on sale!! Prefer to make it yourself at home? Click here for an easy brown rice recipe.
8-10 cups of your favorite vegetables*, chopped
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium or naturally fermented soy sauce
1 tablespoon garlic, minced or grated
1 tablespoon ginger, minced or grated
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sriracha
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon doenjang (Korean soybean paste), optional
1/2 cup water
1 cup cashews, optional
Sliced scallion greens and toasted sesame seeds for garnish
*On this particular night I had yellow bell pepper, white button mushrooms, yellow onion, broccoli, carrots, celery, bok choy and the white bottoms of scallion
- Chop your vegetables. They should be fairly uniform in size, but some irregularity adds nice texture. Toss them together in a large bowl and set next to your stove.
- Next make the sauce. In a 2-cup measuring cup, whisk together the water, corn starch, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sriracha, vinegar, sesame oil, and doenjang (if you’re using it).
- On your stove top, heat a wok or large high-sided skillet over high heat. If using a wok, add 1 tablespoon of oil; if using a skillet, use 2 tablespoons.
- Once the oil is shimmering, add all the veggies and begin to toss. I find a pair of tongs works well for this, just make sure they have silicon or plastic tips if your pan is nonstick.
- Continue tossing for 3-5 minutes until the veggies become bright and begin to soften a little.
- At this stage, give your sauce a quick whisk and then add it to the pan. Keep stirring everything together another few minutes until the veggies are done to your liking. I prefer they have a little crunch to them. This also ensures that reheated leftovers won’t be quite so soggy and limp.
- The sauce will thicken quickly. Depending on how much water the veggies give off, you may want to add a little more water to loosen it up.
- Toss in the cashews and turn off the heat.
- Serve as is or atop a bed of rice and nosh!