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Creating the Perfect Stir-Fry Dinner with Vegetables

Updated on April 7, 2012

A stir fry dinner is a weekly staple at our house. It's a quick & easy dish to cook up after a long day at work and your body will thank you for the bountiful variety of nutrition.

Vegetarian stir fry with lo mein noodles
Vegetarian stir fry with lo mein noodles | Source

Picking your favorite ingredients

A good stir fry should contain a selection of vegetables, protein, rice or noodles, and a sauce, so pick your preferred combination and you will have a delicious meal in no time.

Stir Fry Tips

  • When cooking for children, be sure to include more of the vegetables they like, so they can pick out the ones they don't, but still consume a balanced meal
  • Chose fresh, local, and organic vegetables. Check out your local farmer's market or ask your grocer which produce items are from local resources.
  • Plain tofu can taste very bland. If tofu is your protein selection, be sure to rinse, drain, pat dry and marinate to add flavor.
  • Remember to mix it up! The same combination of ingredients can get boring quickly. Try to create a new stir-fry this week.

1. Vegetables

Choose your favorites or find inspiration from the suggested list below, remember to select a variety of colors, both for visual appeal & nutritious value.

  • Mushrooms (sliced white and/or portobello)
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Green beans
  • Yellow & red bell peppers
  • Bok choy
  • Power greens (have you tried these? From Earthbound Farm & super delicious)

2. Protein (tofu*, seitan, meat, poultry)

Being a vegetarian, I use tofu most often, but you may choose to add meat or poultry instead.

*Preparing Tofu

For those of you who are curious about tofu, it has a very bland taste, but can become incredibly tasty after marinating. I always drain and rinse tofu and then pat dry with either paper towels or cheese cloth, and marinade for at least 20 minutes.

3. Rice or Noodles

Once again, the choices are endless, so pick your most-liked, use whatever you have available, or go out on a limb and try something new.

Here are some of the ones I use most often:

  • Brown Jasmine Rice
  • Rice Noodles
  • Lo Mein Noodles

4. Stir Fry Sauce

I usually make a blend of 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, and some minced garlic & ginger. There are plenty of ready made sauces available. I have also added a selection of stir-fry sauces from other Hubbers:

Helpful Stir-Fry Tools

Oster 5711 Electronic 2-Tier 6.1-Quart Food Steamer, White
Oster 5711 Electronic 2-Tier 6.1-Quart Food Steamer, White

I have had this Oster Steamer for about 4 years and I love it! Check out my Food Steaming Tips for more info

 

Directions

  1. Cook your favorite rice or rice noodles by following the package directions.
  2. Heat a little olive oil up in your wok* or large frying pan
  3. Add some minced garlic & ginger
  4. Sauté your choice of protein until almost done
  5. Toss fresh veggies on top of protein to steam with heat or place veggies in a food steamer* for 5-8 minutes
  6. Top with sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds & serve

*Steaming Tips

  • Place vegetables that take longer to cook, like carrots, celery, or the thicker stalky part of bok choy on the bottom layer & leafy greens on top.
  • You can also steam your tofu, chicken or other proteins in the food steamer just follow recommended time in the included manual.
  • The Thai Vegetables Dumplings from Trader Joe's cook up very nicely in the food steamer and are a nice compliment to this meal.

Setting the Mood

Being a single-income family, we don't get out for dinner very often, so I enjoy setting the table to enhance the mood of the dinner. When I make a stir fry meal, we always use chopsticks and serve tea as a beverage.

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