Spring produce is in full bloom, with lots of possibilities for healthy and flavorful sides and main dishes that make the most of vegetables such as asparagus, leeks, mushrooms and scallions.
See also: Meatless Monday
An easy and delicious method that gives vegetables the chance to shine is stir-frying — quickly cooking ingredients in a large pan or wok over high heat, while constantly stirring or tossing the contents. It's a great way to maximize crispy texture and coax out flavors without much fat, as only a small amount of oil is necessary: Two to three tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil is fairly standard. Stir-frying is also a fantastic tool for stretching meat, helping to balance a small and healthy portion size with plenty of other nutritious ingredients.
Here are some tips for stir-fry success:
Make sure to use a large wok or frying pan and leave enough room for the ingredients to cook evenly.
- Preheat your wok before adding oil or any other ingredients. At least a minute on medium to medium-high heat should do the trick.
- Chop and dice your meat and vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces, and have them ready to go in the order they'll be cooked in: denser vegetables like carrots and eggplant need to cook longer than leafy greens. Since stir-fry cooks quickly, timing is key!
Here are nine stir-fry recipes to experiment with:
Ginger Tofu Stir-fry by Domenica Catelli: Quick, easy and vegetarian, this tasty stir-fry boasts a large quantity of vitamins and nutrients. It's ideal served over nutty whole-grain brown rice: nutritious and satisfying.
Stir-fried Chicken With Basil by Nina Simonds: Since the sixth century, basil has been utilized in traditional Chinese medicine, especially for indigestion. This recipe gets its authentic Thai flavor in part from rice wine and fish sauce.
Stir-fried Beef With Scallions by Michele Urvater: Ready in just 20 minutes, this stir-fry makes a fantastic dinner served with rice or noodles and a side salad. The same basic ingredients can be flavored with pesto, chutney or chili paste for a variety of flavors.