What vegetables go in stir fry to make it a healthy, delicious and a yummy dish? Yes, that’s exactly what we are going to cover in this article.
Let’s dive in!
Stir frying is a popular cooking method amongst working folks as it takes less time and does not adhere to any specific recipe. You just need a wok/pan, some cooking oil, your favorite sauce and whatever veggies you have in your fridge at that moment.
That’s it and you are good to go. Most stir fry recipes hardly take 10 minutes to cook. This ensures that you can enjoy a healthy, tasty and hot meal without missing your prime time favorite TV show.
Stir Frying is a Healthy Option
Stir frying is also considered as one of the healthiest ways of cooking food. It not only helps retain the color and flavor of the various food items, but also keeps their nutritional content almost intact. In fact for many vegetables it is considered a healthier cooking option than steaming or boiling food. Vegetables like broccoli that have high water soluble vitamins like vitamin C should be stir fried instead of boiled since boiling reduces vitamin C.
So, what vegetables go in stir fry? Generally, you can add as many vegetables as you want in your stir fry and enjoy them with some rice or noodles. Other than vegetables, you can stir fry meat and fish as well. In this article though, we will concentrate on vegetables in particular and find out what vegetables go in stir fry.
A Vegetarian Stir Fry
Practically, you can put in many vegetables in your stir fry. The idea behind stir frying is to cook the vegetables in such a manner so that they are not too soft when you eat them. They should neither be burnt nor overcooked. That is the reason you add vegetables one by one in it and not all-together. Vegetables that are a bit hard like carrots are added first followed by vegetables having higher water content like capsicum and then onion. Here is a list of all the healthy vegetables that you can use in your stir fry, in the order in which they should be added.
What vegetables go in stir fry?
Dense, low water content vegetables:
- Baby corn
Medium water content vegetables:
- Snow peas
High water content vegetables:
- Sweet peppers
- Bok Choy
- Spring onion
What you can do while preparing a healthy vegetable stir fry, is try and include vegetables from each nutrition group. This way you will get a balanced vegetarian stir fry meal that does not lack in any vitamins or minerals.
To help you prepare a balanced and healthy vegetable stir fry, we have included some recipes from around the world in this article. You can start your stir fry cooking with these recipes and then improvise and make your own stir fry recipe as I have done.
Following are some healthy vegetable stir fry recipes:
This stir fry is a diversion from your regular colorful stir fry that you usually see. It has only one color and that is green. This recipe just takes 15 minutes of time and is cooked in two batches to prevent watering down of the vegetables. It is one of the quickest and simplest recipes that you can eat with rice.
If you are in the mood of some exotic meal but are hard pressed for time, then give this recipe a try. It uses a combination of various interesting vegetables like water chestnuts, baby corn, basil leaves and red peppers. It even uses cashew nuts in the end to make the dish crunchier. And you will be able to whip it up in just 10 minutes.
This is a typical stir fry recipe that aims at putting in as many colored veggies in it as possible to come up with a rainbow concoction. It uses green broccoli, yellow pepper, white tofu, orange carrot, some snow peas and spinach. It is a great dish that can be enjoyed along with noodles.
This recipe is a little different from the others discussed here. It uses eggs, bean sprouts and some peanuts as well as the regular stir fry vegetables. You can remove the egg to make it a vegan dish.
This is a stir fry recipe which uses a unique sauce mix. You can prepare the sauce overnight and keep in the fridge. You can eat it as it is or with rice or noodles. It uses different color peppers, zucchini, baby corn, broccoli and onions.
A vegetarian stir fry recipe with a difference
After having tried many stir fry recipes you will be able to churn up something yourself without having to refer to any recipe notes. Do not worry about what vegetables go in stir fry rather concentrate on putting them in the correct sequence to cook them properly. This is how I made my own stir fried veggie noodles for my kids. I tweaked the regular stir fry recipes a little to make them more appealing for my kids. Here is my stir fry recipe which I was able to cook in about 20 minutes of time.
Before you start, here are a few tips that will come in handy when you start your own stir fry journey.
Quick tips for stir frying
- Keep all your vegetables washed, dried and cut before you actually start cooking. Keep your sauces, salt and any other seasonings by your side. Once you put your wok or pan on the burner you will not have much time to do anything else except to stir the veggies to prevent them from burning.
- Once you have washed your vegetables, pat them dry on your kitchen towel or napkins. The lesser water they have the crunchier they will cook. Water will make them soggy.
- Try to cut the vegetables in same size. Generally, most of the recipes have vegetables that are cut in square shape. In my recipe I have cut the veggies in long slices to blend them with the noodle’s shape. I have also grated garlic and ginger instead of mincing them in tiny pieces.
- I have used tomato sauce along with soy sauce to give it a little sweet taste. You can also add green chilli paste/sauce to make it spicier.
Following are the ingredients and steps of my recipe
- Cooked noodles
- Vegetable oil – 2 tablespoon
- Carrot medium size -1
- Capsicum – 1
- Onion – 1
- Cabbage leaves- 2/3
- Spring onion (just the green part) – 1 bunch
- Garlic cloves -2/3
- Ginger – one inch
- Soy sauce
- Tomato sauce
- Salt to taste
- Cut the vegetables in slices, around a finger length in size. Grate ginger and garlic. Roughly chop the spring onions.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of soy sauce with 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce and keep it aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in the wok or pan.
- Add carrots in the heated oil and stir fry for a minute. Then add capsicum and onions and stir fry them too for 2 minutes.
- Add ginger and garlic and stir fry them. Make sure that they do not burn or turn brown.
- Add cabbage leaf slices and half of the chopped spring onion and stir fry them for couple of minutes.
- Add the sauce mix and salt and mix it well with the vegetables.
- Turn off the burner after 2 minutes and add the cooked noodles and mix them gently with the vegetables. Sprinkle the remaining spring onions and serve.
You can change the above recipe according to your taste and liking. For example, you can add sliced boiled eggs or mushrooms if you like. They will enhance the flavor and overall taste of the stir fried noodles.
Some Good Chinese Recipes
Stir frying is a Chinese concept, hence who can make better vegetable stir fry than the Chinese? Here is a list of top 5 Chinese stir fry vegetables recipes that you can try in your spare time.
Top 5 Chinese stir fry vegetables recipes
Jenn Segal who is a trained chef and a cookbook author shares her perfected Chinese vegetable stir fry recipe. Jenn left her restaurant business when her son was born and became a full time mother. Now, she has her own website called “Once upon a Chef” in which she shares her tried and tested recipes.
In her stir fry recipe she has cooked the broccoli in boiled water for a couple of minutes. This ensures that when you stir fry it, it cooks completely and properly and does not take much time to do so. Other than this deviation, she has used the regular method of stir frying mushrooms, red peppers and other vegetables.
Next on our list is a recipe by Wolfgang Puck. Wolfgang Puck is an Austrian celebrity chef. He has worked at a number of restaurants and has won various awards for his culinary skills. He was awarded the Michelin star in 2007.
His recipe takes a total of 35 minutes which is a little more than what most Chinese stir fry vegetables recipes take. He uses a number of vegetables in his recipe which is why his cooking time is more. He uses bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, scallions, beans and onions.
This recipe is by KP Kwan, a cook in Malaysia. He works in his restaurant and writes about his experiences in his blog “Taste Asian food”.
His recipe is very detailed and easy to follow. He has first blanched his vegetables and then stir fried them. According to him, you can make his recipe in two ways. If you are cooking at home and intend to eat straight away then use the high heat stir fry method. Otherwise, if you are cooking for a party where people are expected to eat a little late then you should stir fry on low heat.
Next recipe is by Michelle Minaar who is the author and photographer of the Greedy Gourmet site. She is a former IT professional who has turned into a full time blogger now.
For her Chinese stir fry vegetables recipe she has used carrots, broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms, snow peas, and asparagus. From the two methods of stir fry – stir frying directly and blanching and then stir frying, she finds that the direct method helps bind the sauce with vegetables better. She has mixed bitter and sweet tasting vegetables in her recipe to give them the unique Chinese flavor.
This recipe appeared in the Genius Kitchen site. It has been posted by its regular contributor Charlotte J.
She has used chicken broth in her recipe but you can always replace it with vegetable broth if you want a vegan recipe. Other than that she has used water chestnuts, broccoli, snow peas and carrots in her recipe.
Hopefully, by now you have no doubts about what vegetables go in stir fry. As you have seen till now, a variety of vegetables can go in stir fry. You just have to put them in proper sequence so that they cook properly and retain their nutritious value. And that brings us to our last section in which we talk about the nutritional content of various stir fry vegetables so that you can plan your meals accordingly.
Following is the list of healthy vegetables to use in stir fry
- Broccoli – It is an excellent source of Vitamin C and K which helps boost your immune system.
- Carrots – They are a good source of beta carotene which converts to Vitamin A in our body. It also contains Vitamin K and vitamin B6. Carrots help protect skin and eye health.
- Baby corn – Baby corn has lower starch content and higher fiber content, hence it is ideal for diet conscious people. The fibers in the corn also help stimulate digestion.
- Snow peas – Unlike regular garden peas, snow peas are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. They are also a good source of vitamin C.
- Mushroom – They are called powerhouse of nutrition and contain a number of vitamins and minerals like magnesium, copper, potassium.
- Cabbage – It is a rich source of vitamin K and vitamin C. It also contains vitamin B6 and folate. Cabbage is known to have a positive effect against colon cancer.
- Zucchini – It is a good source of potassium, in fact it better source than Banana. It helps to moderate blood pressure levels.
- Spinach – Spinach is full of nutrients like niacin, zinc, iron, magnesium and many more. The folate in it helps keep your cardiovascular system healthy. Magnesium helps to lower the blood pressure.
As you can see that the vegetables used for stir fry are packed with nutrients and stir frying helps to keep most of the nutrients intact.
Hopefully, we have comprehensively answered your question on what vegetables go in stir fry. So, even if you have just 2 vegetables in your fridge you can start with them and cook a delicious, healthy meal in the shortest possible time.