What makes a vegan stir fry better than another vegan stir fry? When I cook or order a stir fry, I have become picky in terms of how my vegetables are cooked. And more important, than the way the vegetables are cooked, is the stir fry sauce.
As my ability to cook has improved since becoming plant-based, so has my taste for good food. For example, I now consider myself a vegan foodie. In fact, when I first became vegan, the best meal I could expect at a restaurant was a lame pasta marinara with soggy vegetables. And, to be perfectly honest, my cooking wasn’t much better.
Recently, my husband, Paul said he couldn’t believe my food could get any better, but it is! So, for those of you who think you “can’t cook,” you can, and I am an example of someone who thought I couldn’t cook either.
As a result, I am a stir fry food snob, so let’s make a foodie vegan stir fry!
WHAT VEGETABLES ARE IN A GREAT VEGAN STIR FRY?
- White onion
- Red bell pepper
- Bok Choy
Yes, I included every color of the rainbow, not just for color, but for nutritional benefit as well.
Furthermore, I listed the vegetables in the order I plan to cook them in my stir fry. In my opinion, the worse stir fry recipes are soggy and swimming in the sauce rather than tasting like fresh vegetables.
So, it is important to cook in layers or stages. For this stir fry, I used my wok, and I cooked the vegetables in the following order:
STAGE ONE: GARLIC, ONIONS, FRESH GINGER AND MUSHROOMS
The garlic, onions, and mushrooms, for instance, are all sauteed together first, until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are browned. Although I did not have to use vegetable broth, because of the quality of the wok I used, you can use a little if the vegetables begin to stick. Then, the second group of vegetables I add to the wok are the broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower, because they are of similar size as well as texture.
STAGE 2: BROCCOLI, CARROTS AND CAULIFLOWER
Because the carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower take the longest to cook, cooking in layers allows every vegetable to cook perfectly, so not to get soggy or mushy.
Again, I did not need to add any vegetable broth, because the vegetables give off their own water. You do not, however, add any sauce yet! I recommend, though, moving the carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower to the bottom of the pan, tossing it around every few minutes for 10 minutes. Next, I add the third stage or layer of vegetables, the zucchini, red bell pepper, and bok choy.
STAGE 3: ZUCCHINI, RED BELL PEPPERS, AND BOK CHOY
Since red bell peppers, zucchini and bok choy cook quickly, they get added last. And, you only cook these three vegetables for the last 5 minutes, so they don’t get overcooked.
Now, for the most important part of cooking a perfect stirfry; don’t add the sauce until the very end! Also, less sauce is more! Even though the stir fry sauce below makes 1 1/4 cups of sauce, I only use 1/4-1/2 cup of sauce for the whole stir fry.
STAGE 4: ADD A SMALL AMOUNT OF STIR FRY SAUCE TO VEGAN STIR FRY LAST
HOW TO MAKE A GREAT HOMEMADE STIR FRY SAUCE
The first goal, for instance, in making a homemade stir fry sauce, is to use fresh ingredients and avoid refined sugar. No matter what kind of jarred sauce you buy at the store, it generally has way too many ingredients, which all translate to sugar. So, like my Teriyaki Tofu recipe, I have chosen to use as many fresh ingredients as possible.
- 1/2 cup Tamari or soy sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup fresh pineapple
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
POSSIBLE SAUCE SUBSTITUTIONS IF YOU DON’T HAVE FRESH INGREDIENTS HANDY
In the event you do not have access to fresh ingredients, here are some substitutions for swapping out ingredients.
- Replace fresh pineapple with pineapple juice
- No pineapple or pineapple juice? How about using 1/4 cup agave or maple syrup instead
- Cornstarch can be swapped for arrowroot powder
- Use 1 teaspoon ginger spice instead of fresh ginger
- Use 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder instead of fresh garlic cloves
Even though I always try to use fresh, sometimes fresh isn’t an option, so there is always a way to substitute ingredients.
BROWN RICE VS. QUINOA FOR VEGAN STIR FRY RECIPE
Recently, I posted two different posts on How to Cook Brown Rice and How to Cook Quinoa to make meal prep easier. When I meal prep I always make brown rice and quinoa to use in dishes throughout the week. For example, I used brown rice for the vegan stir fry recipe. But, if you prefer quinoa, it works just as well with the vegetables and sauce.
Since Paul and I are the only ones eating vegan stir-fry, I chose to make my rice using the stove-top directions in my How to Cook Brown Rice post. Whenever I make a small amount of rice, I always use the stovetop version, because it takes less time as well.
SERVING THE VEGAN STIR FRY RECIPE WITH BROWN RICE
In the event, you are trying to lose weight, you want to add twice the amount of vegetables to your bowl comparative to brown rice.
- Add a small amount of rice to the bottom of the plate or bowl
- Scoop large amounts of vegetable stir fry on top of the rice
- Sprinkle with black sesame seeds (optional)
- Top with Teriyaki Tofu (optional)
- Serve with extra sauce
And, the leftovers make a great lunch that reheats well in just a few short minutes.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN QUICK AND EASY RECIPES LIKE THIS YOU CAN MAKE EASILY?
- Vegan Thai Tahini Veggie Noodle Bowls
- Maple & Stone Ground Mustard Tofu Harvest Bowl
- Skinny Roasted Greek Bowl
- Lucky Dragon Bowl
- Skinny Lentil Gyro Bowl with Vegan Tzatziki
- Vegan Poke Bowl Recipe
- Skinny Thai Curry Noodle Bowl
- Vegan Hungarian Goulash
- Teriyaki Tofu
- Skinny Veggie Miso Ramen Stir Fry