Vegetarian Stir Fry Recipes
Vegetarian stir fry recipes are the best things to have on hand when planning for savory and satisfying, yet still veggie-loaded meals.
Technically a stir fry is made using a wok, and the ingredients are cooked in phases. Then everything is thrown together at the end to get coated in sauce. If you have a wok and all the appropriate accouterments then by all means! That’s great!
But for the rest of us mortal folk, who don’t have kitchens outfitted with super high heat cook-tops and all the right gadgets, a normal saute pan will be just fine to make these vegetarian stir fry recipes.
Bellow I’ve listed a few guidelines for making your own wonderful vegetarian stir fry recipes at home. And bellow that, I have a recipe for a fantastic spicy bell pepper and tofu stir fry that can get you started!
Guidelines for a successful stir fry
- Because you’ll be cooking with high heat this is one of those meals where it’s essential you prepare all your ingredients before you start cooking anything.
- Though I am a fan of olive oil, it will not work in this instance because it doesn’t respond well to high temperatures.
Use canola oil, grapeseed oil (both neutral) or sesame oil (flavorful) instead.
- Be mindful of the cooktime for different vegetables. Carrots and other hard veggies take longer to cook than say, bean sprouts or mushrooms. In general you want to work from hardest vegetables to softest vegetables so that the soft ones get thrown in at the end and don’t get overcooked.
- It’s helpful to mix your sauce in a separate bowl or measuring cup and just pour it in at the end. That way everything will get coated evenly and you won’t have to worry about it cooking off.
Vegetarian Stir Fry Recipe: Spicy Bell Peppers and Tofu
- 3-4 bell peppers (I like a mixture of red and green) cut into slivers
- 1 package of extra firm tofu
- 1 large white onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- neutral, high heat oil for cooking
- For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 inch of ginger, minced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon black bean sauce
- red pepper flakes or Sriracha to taste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon water
- grind or two of fresh black pepper
- First you need to drain your tofu. This takes at least an hour so make sure you have enough time. (It can also be done the day before.) To do this you take the tofu out of the package and get rid of any water it was sitting in. Lay a folded kitchen towel down on your counter, put the tofu on top of it, lay another folded kitchen towel on top of the tofu. Then set a cutting board and any heavy objects you have lying around on top. Cook books, phone books, heavy pots...these all work well. This will press the moisture out of the tofu and allow you to pan fry it nice and crispy. Let this sit for at least an hour, longer won’t hurt it.
- Remember from the tips above, it’s necessary to have all your ingredients washed, cut, chopped etc. before you start cooking so take some time to do that now. For the sauce, just mix all the ingredients in a bowl and wisk together.
- Once you have your drained block of tofu, cut it into 1” cubes. Sprinkle a large bowl with corn starch (2 tablespoons should do) then toss all your tofu cubes in the bowl. Be gentle when you toss these little guys because you want them to be coated but they can also be quite crumbly since they’re now so dry.
- Put a heavy bottom skillet or saute pan over high heat for a couple minutes. Then pour in a couple tablespoons of your neutral, high-heat oil. Use tongs to place each of the tofu cubes into the pan. They will start to sizzle immediately, but just let them sit there untouched for about 5 minutes. Once that side is golden brown, turn each cube over to cook the other side. Continue this process on all sides. This is the most time consuming part of the recipe but having crispy tofu is worth it.
- Remove the fried tofu from the pan and set aside. Add more oil if you think it’s necessary then caramelize your onion. Once that is complete, add your bell pepper strips and let cook until tender.
- Return the tofu to the pan, give your sauce a good stir then pour it in and gently toss everything together. Voila! You have a perfect vegetarian stir fry!
Ok! Now you are outfitted with a set of tips and techniques for making great stir fries of your own creation, and a wonderful vegetarian stir fry recipe to try first!
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