This healthy vegetable stir-fry is a perfect basic recipe for when you need to clean up the veggies in your fridge! Add what you already have on hand to the savory and sweet Chinese stir-fry sauce for a delicious simple meal. Perfect quick recipe for weeknight dinners.
This recipe has saved dinner more than I can count! We easily make it once a month, even more often, whenever I don't know and don't really want to cook much. It definitely is one of the easiest and quickest recipe I make, plus it transforms my old veggies into a delicious meal before they turn too old.
And who doesn’t like an Asian-style stir-fry? Chow mein, garlic noodles, bok choy tofu stir-fry and this veggie-loaded classic stir-fry all are in a regular rotation in our house. I have learned that including a sweet and savory sauce in my meals is a great way to have my kids eat more veggies too.
What's so great about this recipe is that you can really use any veggies you want! The sauce comes together in no time using straight forward ingredients while the veggies are cooking, then combine and serve. Done under 20 minutes, such an amazing plant-based weeknight dinner!
The only thing you'll need to figure out for this recipe is how to cook your veggies. The tougher ones go in first, then add the tender veggies for a quick cooking. Aim to keep your veggies crunchy for best texture.
What's to love about this recipe
- Easy, quick and ultra simple.
- Bold in flavor featuring a rich and silky sauce.
- Versatile: use any veggies you want!
- Healthy and loaded with good-for-you veggies.
- Makes for great leftovers.
- Great way to re-purpose older veggies.
- Kid friendly and perfect meal for the whole family.
- Perfect weeknight dinner.
Ingredients you'll need
- Vegetables of your choice: I used onion, peppers, broccoli, carrots and napa cabbage, but use your favorite ones!
- To serve: rice or noodles.
- Sesame seeds for serving, optional.
For the basic stir-fry sauce
- Soy sauce
- Rice vinegar
- Maple syrup
- Fresh ginger root (do not substitute for powdered ginger!)
- Toasted sesame oil (optional, to cook the veggies)
How to make it
Whisk the sauce
I recommend you whisk the sauce first so it is ready to go whenever the veggies are done cooking. This can avoid over-cooking the veggies.
In a small-medium bowl, combine the water with the cornstarch. Whisk well until there are no clumps anymore. Then, add the rest of the sauce ingredients (soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, garlic and ginger) and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Cook the veggies
Start by preparing all your veggies: peel, clean and chop in bite size. You want to have everything ready to go!
Then, warm up a large wok (or non-stick pan) on medium-high heat and heat up a small amount of sesame oil (optional).
Add your sturdy veggies first and cook for a few minutes while stirring often. Then, add the tender veggies and keep cooking until they are all done, but still crunchy.
Combine and serve
Pour the sauce mixture over the veggies while stirring and keep cooking until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve over rice or noodles. Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds.
- If you don't use ginger on a regular basis, then I recommend you get a large root of fresh ginger, then peel it with a small spoon by scraping on it, pack it in a small container and keep it in the freezer. Then, when you want to use fresh ginger, simply grate it with a zester straight into the sauce - no need to thaw it first.
- Chop all the veggies about the same size. Also, prepare them all before starting to cook, you don't want to burn or over cook anything while preparing the next veggie to go in. Once you start cooking, it will go fast!
- You will have to add the veggies to the pan depending on how quickly they cook. For example, carrots, onions and peppers should go first, then goes the broccoli and cabbage.
- Be sure not to overcook your veggies! This meal is best when they are still crunchy.
What vegetables to choose when making this stir-fry
Most vegetables will work great for this recipe, but my favorites are onion + carrot + broccoli + red pepper + napa cabbage.
Other great choices of vegetable include:
- Green beans or snap peas
- Green cabbage or bok choy
- Spinach or kale
Fresh or Frozen?
Frozen vegetables work great too! Just keep a bag of broccoli or mixed vegetables in your freezer and you can make this meal any time. Simply add the veggies still frozen to the pan and cook as you would with fresh veggies. They will cook quicker then when using fresh, so be ready with the sauce so you don't end up over cooking them.
I also find that frozen veggies turn softer after cooked, which is fine but just know that you probably won't have as much of a crunch as when using fresh veggies.
How to boost the protein content of this healthy vegetable stir-fry?
- Roasted tofu or tempeh (try combining them to this coconut crusted tofu!)
- Canned chickpeas.
- Frozen shelled edamame.
- Nuts, like peanuts or cashews. You can roast them first, then add over the stir fry for best texture.
How to serve this stir-fry?
Top this veggie stir-fry over:
- Asian style noodles, such as rice vermicelli, udon, ramen or soba.
- Brown rice.
- Other whole-grains like quinoa, farro or barley.
- Zucchini noodles ("zoodles").
Also goes well with homemade vegan egg rolls!
This recipe makes for great leftovers! Keep in an air-tight container for up to 4 days. You can batch prepare a few lunches to bring to work, simply reheat using the microwave.
Other Asian recipes you might like
- Sesame soy dressing
- Spicy garlic noodles
- Teriyaki Cauliflower
- Sticky tofu
- Orange cauliflower
- Sweet and sour tofu
- Broccoli curry ramen
I hope you will love this easy vegetable stir-fry as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let us know how it was.
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Healthy Vegetable Stir-Fry - Saucy and Easy
For the sauce:
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup corn starch
- ½ cup soy sauce - choose low-in-sodium if possible
- ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp maple syrup - or agave nectar or brown rice syrup
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 large clove of garlic - crushed
- 1 inch fresh ginger - grated
For the stir-fry:
- 1-2 tsp toasted sesame oil - optional, to cook the vegetables
- 8-9 packed cups vegetables (broccoli, carrot, onion, red pepper, bok choy, snap peas, green cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, etc) - chopped
- cooked brown rice or asian style noodles - for serving
- sesame seeds - for serving, optional
- In a medium bowl, whisk the water with the cornstarch until there are no clumps anymore. Then, add the rest of the sauce ingredients (soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, garlic and ginger) and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Clean and chop the veggies all about the same size.
- Warm up the sesame oil in a wok or a large pan on medium-high heat. Then, add the vegetables and cook by stirring often until tender, but still crispy. Start by adding the tougher veggies such as carrot, and add the tender veggies later on.
- When the veggies are about done, pour the sauce over while stirring (whisk well the sauce in the bowl just before pouring in the pan to dissolve the corn starch as it tends to stick to the bottom).
- Keep cooking on medium-high heat until until thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and serve over brown rice or noodles. Top with sesame seeds and green onions, if desired. Enjoy!
- If your pan is too small for the amount of vegetables, then cook them in two batches. You should be able to return the first batch of cooked veggies to the pan after the second batch is cooked before adding the sauce since the veggies will cook down a lot.
- The leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Ensure not to overcook the veggies! This meal is best when they are crunchy.
This is by far the most delicious stir fry I have ever tasted!! I never cooked with rice vinegar or sesame oil before and I'm sure these ingredients added so much flavour to this dish. Thanks for another great recipe Jessica-- I will have this with some friends once I'm allowed to have people in the house again : )
I made this tonight and it is delicious. And surprisingly easy to make. Yummy!
On vient de manger ce stir fry! Tout le monde a adoré, délicieux.
Mama B says
Made a version of your stirfry, and we loved it!
Simplified Stir Fry Sauce - for 2 people
1 Tbsp reduced sodium tamari soy sauce
½ Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Because there’s no cornstarch, this variation of the sauce gets tossed right into the stir fry vegetable pan in the last two minutes of cooking, instead of heating up on its own in a separate pan. I reduced the sodium and sugar and omitted the water, garlic and ginger. Just make the sauce in a small bowl before starting the stir fry. If you're a fresh ginger lover, add it right in to the veggies, maybe halfway through the frying.
Used about 2 cups of fresh vegetables, including carrots, red cabbage, spinach and 2 shishito peppers. And either cashews on top or tofu for protein.
Served with sriracha and generous amount of cilantro. I would usually add scallion too, one scallion per person.
Served it with your coconut pineapple rice.
Have made the stirfry twice now, with different vegetables, with this simplified sauce. This will definitely go into my regular rotation for flavoring stirfries!