I have been pursuing vegetables more and more as an adult. No matter what else a do-list for healthy living includes, eating vegetables, usually LOTS of vegetables, is on that list.
No more can I sit back and eat a few peas or green beans at dinner, pretending I filled my veggie quota for the day. Nope. I need to eat more vegetables.
Some of the best recipes are those that combine vegetables (often multiple vegetables) with seasonings or sauces so that flavors and textures can be multi-dimensional. These recipes keep your mouth guessing. They keep you interested.
Among these interesting, veggie-packed, flavor-filled recipes is…
I wanted to try some new vegetable combinations, and I did not have a great stir fry sauce, so I looked for a new stir fry recipe to try. In the midst of searching, I stumbled onto this INCREDIBLE guide to stir fry. It is a comprehensive list of possibilities so you can use your preferred proteins, veggies, and flavors! (Or try something new!)
I was amazed at how many different types of vegetables can go into a stir fry. This is an excellent starting point for your own innovation! It certainly was for mine!
What if you don’t have THAT vegetable? What if you detest THIS vegetable? What if you like it really spicy? Will it still turn out okay if you substitute THIS ingredient or leave out THAT ingredient?
This guide opened my eyes to the possibilities of stir fry. There are so many ideas for the separate ingredients, and even several suggestions for dishes detailing which components to add. I have made three slightly different versions in the last month, and I’ve got an orange-ginger version on our meal plan this week!
This guide helped me see that stir fry can be for whatever I have in my fridge, whatever we eat in our family, however we like it. And isn’t that the best type of recipe? I always have more fun in the kitchen when the recipe is just a guideline for creativity! (This doesn’t work so well for baking, but that’s another story…;)).
My favorite part of this stir fry is the sauce. It is fast to mix together, and it has great flavor for a basic stir fry sauce. I love that the sauce contains cornstarch already. So many Asian-inspired recipes I have tried turn out watery. No runny stir fry with this sauce! It thickened in seconds after adding it to the pan and coated the fresh veggies with flavor!
The pseudo-recipe below is for how I made it the first time, but tweak to your heart’s desire! Change up the veggies to suit what you have on hand, or change up the spices (maybe add red pepper flakes for some extra heat!). Make it your own! (And check out the guide for more ideas!)
Cashew Stir Fry
Ingredients (prep ingredients before you turn on the heat):
- 2 (ish) TBSP oil
- minced garlic (1/2 tsp to 1 tsp)
- salt and pepper
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 1/2 sweet red pepper, diced
- 1/2 sweet yellow pepper, diced
- 1-2 whole carrots, cut julienne
- snow peas, snapped in half (about 3 oz.)
- whole cashews (1/2 cup to 1 cup)
- up to 1 lb cooked chicken, diced (*optional)
- stir-fry sauce (recipe follows–simply stir together all ingredients)
*I made this once with chicken, and my husband loved it. I am finicky about chicken and preferred the vegetarian version pictured here, but both were good!
Stir Fry Sauce (adapted from the basic sauce HERE)
- about a teaspoon minced garlic
- several shakes ground ginger
- 3 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 TBSP rice vinegar
- 1 TBSP brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chicken broth (made with better-than-bouillon base)
- 1 1/2 TBSP cornstarch
- Make sure your veggies are cut up and ready before you turn on the heat. While you’re at it, mix up your stir fry sauce.
- Heat up a large skillet or wok and add the oil.
- Stir in the garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook a few seconds or up to a minute. Then add in the onion.
- COOK THE ONION! If you like crunchy onions, I guess you can cook them a minute or two and move on. Me? I like onions soft and slightly sweet, noticeable in flavor but hidden in texture. I cook my onions a LONG time (5-10 minutes, or even 15… however long it takes to soften them completely).
- Add in the veggies, cashews, and chicken one at a time, cooking just a minute or two between additions. I used this order: sweet peppers, carrots, snow peas, cashews, then cooked chicken, if using.
- Clear a space in the middle of your skillet/wok by pushing all ingredients to the sides. Pour the stir fry sauce into the middle, and wait for it to bubble. (This took less than a minute for me.) Stir everything together and serve over hot noodles or rice. Photograph your meal with chopsticks. (Then eat with a fork.) 🙂
- Prep everything ahead of time. Cutting the veggies and making the sauce under the pressure of a hot pan is stressful! Especially if you have young kiddos in the house. Instead, do the prep before you turn on the heat. It makes the cutting AND the cooking so much more enjoyable! (You probably knew this already, didn’t you? I only learned recently… it’s transformed my dinner making experience for both me AND my kids!)
- For tasty noodles, hold back some of the sauce from the stir fry and add it to the noodles instead! If you make a HUGE batch of stir fry (adding more ingredients than I did or doubling some of your veggies), you might not be able to do this, but if not, definitely try it! I poured in about 3/4 of the sauce with my stir fry. After I cooked my noodles (6-8 oz thin spaghetti), I drained them and added the remaining 1/4 of sauce. This flavored the noodles, and brought the whole dish together.
- If you’ve got the ingredients, make extra so you’ll have a veggie-packed lunch tomorrow! It’s still quite tasty from the microwave. 🙂
To read more about my culinary adventures and discoveries, check out my page, The Goal is Scrumptious. For other veggie-packed recipes and thoughts on consuming more vegetables, check out my posts tagged: quest for veggies.
Have a scrumptious day!