This luscious preparation of stir-fried sweet and sour vegetables has several steps, but is made easily and at a leisurely pace. Best of all, it results in a delicious, filling meal.
A choice of plant proteins: The flexible recipe gives you a choice of what kind of plant protein to use — seitan, tempeh, or tofu. If you’d like, you can also use a plant-based meat alternative like vegan chick’n. Use a different one each time you make this dish.
Make your own sweet and sour sauce or use bottled: You also have the option of making your own sweet and sour sauce or using a bottled brand — all-natural, preferably.
You can vary the vegetables as well: Green beans can take the place of squashes; cauliflower can replace all or half of the broccoli. Bok choy can be part of the mix, as can celery or mushrooms. Improvise with whatever you might have in the fridge. Since this is a saucy dish, it’s good served over grains or noodles.
Complete the meal
This is a one-dish dinner, but if you want something extra, vegetable spring rolls from the frozen foods section of your supermarket or natural foods store add a fun touch. And it never hurts to serve a simple salad, slaw, or a platter of vegetables and dip.
Recipe adapted from Plant Power by Nava Atlas; photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com
HOMEMADE SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE
When we think of Asian flavors, a salty, savory sauce like teriyaki may be the go-to, but this one, with a sweet edge provided mainly by fruit juice, is a nice change of pace. Make it when you have time for a little DIY.
Makes: About 1 cup
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup pineapple juice (using reserved juice from canned pineapple is handy)
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1 to 2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred ginger, to taste
Combine the arrowroot or cornstarch with the water in a small bowl and stir until dissolved, with no lumps.
Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together. Add to the stir-fry above as directed, or use with other stir-fries, adding once they’re just about done, and cooking until thickened.
- Hot cooked rice, quinoa, or noodles (see note)
For the stir-fry
- 1 tablespoon safflower or other high-heat oil
- 8-ounce package seitan, temeph, or baked tofu, diced (see note)
- 1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 large broccoli crowns, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 20-ounce can pineapple chunks in unsweetened juice, drained (juice reserved)
- 1 cup bottled or homemade sweet-and-sour sauce (see how-to following recipe box)
Optional, for passing around
- Soy sauce or tamari
- Sriracha or other hot sauce
- Decide what you’d like to serve this over, and begin cooking the grains or noodles of choice. Or better yet, have this done ahead of time and reheat.
- If making the sauce, do so now and set aside until needed.
- Heat half of the oil in a stir-fry pan or wok. Add the protein of choice and stir-fry over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil or broth in the pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until golden. Turn up the heat; add the broccoli and bell peppers and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the zucchini and stir-fry just until everything is tender-crisp, about 2 minutes longer.
- Stir in the tomatoes and pineapple chunks, add the protein back in, and turn the heat down to low.
- If you’ll be making your own sweet and sour sauce, use the reserved pineapple juice for that; otherwise, use it for another purpose. Make the sauce as directed following this recipe box, or if using bottled, simply skip this step.
- Stir the bottled or homemade sauce into the pan and turn the heat back up to medium high. Taste and adjust the sweet-sour balance with more agave and/or vinegar to your liking. Cook just until piping hot, or in the case of homemade sauce, until thickened.
- Serve at once over hot cooked grains or noodles. Pass around any of the optional items for seasoning individual portions.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 237Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gSodium: 237mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 6gSugar: 23gProtein: 10g
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