For those of you who follow us on IG, you probably heard me talking about writing this post a month (or two?) ago. I’m slow, I know. But hey, the holidays happened, so that’s my excuse. 🙂 Anyway, I wanted to talk about one of my favorite subjects with you today: STIR FRY. Oh yes! I am an avid stir fry lover. It’s quick, easy, healthy, delicious, and can use up leftovers like no one’s business. In a few words, it’s the perfect dish.
What I really wanted to discuss today is the anatomy of a perfect stir fry, along with a few tips for success. I will be sharing some specific recipes you can follow along with if you want. But like I said, one thing I love about stir fry is you can easily change it up based on what you have on hand, or what your body needs, etc. There are probably infinite possibilities when it comes to stir fry, so let’s discuss the basic components. I really wanted to make an acronym out of these letters, but I couldn’t figure out a word that made much sense. Boo! Oh well, here are the building blocks of a perfect stir fry:
Grains – Rice, quinoa, noodles, cauliflower rice (if you want to go grain-free)
Protein – Tempeh, baked tofu, eggs, shrimp, chicken (lots of plant-based options or meat)
Vegetables – Bell peppers, broccoli, onion, cabbage, zucchini, etc., or you can add some fruit
Flavor – Garlic, ginger, green onion, fresh herbs
Sauce – Keep it simple with just soy sauce or Braggs liquid aminos, or you can really do it up
Crunch – Cashews, sesame seeds, peanuts, etc.
And as you can see by the little stir fry food pyramid I’ve made to illustrate, you want to keep the ratios of these components relative to each other. But feel free to break the rules from time to time if you like. 🙂
Let’s talk a little more about grains for a second. If you are using rice or quinoa, I recommend making your grains the day before (or longer) so they can dry out a little before you stir fry. You don’t want super wet grains going into your stir fry as the added water can make things soggy. Other than that, don’t be afraid to try new things here. I LOVE trying different kinds of rice and noodles as it can greatly change the overall flavor and texture as well as the health benefits.
If you want to keep your meal grain-free or you’re looking to get some more vegetables into your day, I seriously LOVE cauliflower rice. Just pulse cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles rice (see photo above). Then lay it out on a paper towel in a thin layer, press another paper towel over the top to remove excess moisture and you’re good to go!
Getting a little protein power in your meal is obviously important for health as well as making you feel full. I usually keep things plant-based, but I make exceptions—mostly for eggs and seafood. But there are tons of options here, so it’s really up to you and your preferences. Probably the protein I add most often is baked tofu or air fried tofu. Love that in both stir fries and curry dishes. Yum!
Stir fry is such a great dish if you are looking to eat a lot of vegetables—it’s so easy to pile them on here! And as I kind of showcased up top, you can add fruit here as well to add a little (natural) sweetness. One of my all-time favorite meals is pineapple fried rice, and I also love this red cabbage stir fry.
Now let’s talk sauce. This is where you can add a LOT of flavor, or keep it simple and just lightly season everything. I personally love both and when I’m just throwing things together on a busy weeknight, I tend to keep it simple with just soy sauce and some red pepper flakes. But if you’re looking for something more, I highly recommend the sauce from this cashew cauliflower dish, as well as this honey and miso stir fry (it’s similar to sweet and sour sauce).
The crunch is a bit controversial at our house. Basically, Trey doesn’t love nuts on his stir fry while I EMPHATICALLY do. Ha! Marriage is fun like that. 🙂 So again, this is customizable and totally up to you and your preferences, but I love to add a few chopped cashews or some toasted sesame seeds to my final stir fry dish. I love the look as well as the crunch, plus maybe it adds a tiny bit more protein? (Probably not a enough to really matter, but still.)
I would LOVE to hear about your favorite stir fry combinations or tips. I seriously make variations of this all the time, so always love to hear more ideas! xo. Emma