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There are so many reasons to love stir-fried vegetables. Unless you are using a ton of oil (don’t do that) or a copious amount of bottled sauces, it’s a light, beautiful, and healthy way to prepare all kinds of vegetables. Yes, these are great as part of an Asian-inspired meal, but they make a perfect simple side for any straightforward meal, like Baked Chicken Breasts or Pan-Fried Pork Chops.

Serve over white rice, brown rice, or couscous. It’s the perfect simple side to any Asian-inspired meal, like Mongolian Beef, Chicken Stir-Fry with Peanuts, or Korean Pork Chops.

Stir-Fried Vegetables on a bed of grains.

Stir-Fried Vegetables: An easy combo of stir-fried vegetables provides a gorgeous color medley and crisp-tender texture.

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Best Vegetables to Use in Stir-Fries

This recipe calls for broccoli, carrots, onions, bell peppers, plus ginger and garlic, but you can sub in and out any vegetables you wish. Just pay attention to the cooking times, starting with the denser vegetables (such as carrots and broccoli), which will take longer to cook, and adding more delicate vegetables later (like bok choy and peas).

A combo of vegetables offers a gorgeous color medley and variation in texture. But there’s something to be said about stir-frying one or two individual vegetables as well — a) it’s so fast and easy, b) it helps you figure out what to do with that head of broccoli or those bunches of bok choy, and c) there is beauty in the simplicity of one vegetable stir-fry.

Mushrooms are another good stir-fry vegetable. Also, think about adding those canned baby ears of corn and sliced water chestnuts! Pea shoots are another nice addition toward the end of the stir-fry.

Woman scooping Stir-Fried Vegetables onto a plate.

Vegetable Stir-Fry Ingredients

This recipe is very clean and simple — ginger, garlic, soy sauce. You can always amp it up with some sesame oil, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, or any number of Asian condiments or bottle sauces. But if you are looking for fast, easy, and straightforward, do nothing but stick to the basics, and you will have a veggie stir-fry to be quite happy with.

  • Vegetable oil – A moderate amount for stir-frying.
  • Onion – The savory base of this stir-fry.
  • Carrots – Don’t overcook them; they are best when they have a crisp-tender texture.
  • Bok choy – You can use regular or baby bok choy here.
  • Red bell pepper – For color and texture.
  • Minced garlic – Along with the ginger, adds that signature stir-fry flavor.
  • GingerPeel and finely mince fresh ginger to give this stir-fry a nice kick.
  • Soy sauce – I prefer less sodium soy sauce, which offers that umami flavor with less salt.

How to Stir-Fry Vegetables

  1. Stir-fry the onions and carrots: Heat some oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the onions and carrots and stir-fry for 5 minutes until the vegetables start to become tender.
Sliced carrots and onions in a pan.
  1. Add the rest of the veggies: Add the bok choy, bell pepper, ginger, and garlic. Stir-fry for 3 minutes until everything is almost tender, then add 1/4 cup water and cover the pan. Allow to steam for another 2 minutes until the vegetables are crisp and tender. Add the soy sauce and stir to combine everything well.
Wooden spatula stirring bok choy, red pepper, carrots, and onions in skillet.
  1. Serve hot.
Plates of Stir-Fried Vegetables set on a table with broccoli.

Slicing Vegetables on the Diagonal

If you want to make your stir-fry look a bit more upscale, it’s all in how you cut the vegetables. The carrots can be cut on the bias, which means diagonal slices that somehow give the stir-fry a bit more elegance. (If elegance is what you’re going for in a stir-fry.) I also like to cut my snow and sugar snap peas in half on a diagonal for the same reason, and you can add those here if you wish.

FAQs

What is the secret to stir-frying vegetables?

Make sure to have all of the ingredients cut and prepped before you start stir-frying anything! This process goes very quickly, and if you start adding ingredients before everything is good to go in the pan, you overcook some of the veggies.

Also, don’t cook the vegetables too long — you want them crisp-tender. Know that they will continue to soften once you remove them from the pan, so account for that timing-wise.

When should you add soy sauce to a stir-fry?

I like to add soy sauce toward the end of the cooking.

Is soy sauce enough for stir-fry?

If you are looking for a basic, lightly flavored stir-fry, soy sauce plus garlic and ginger is really all the seasoning you need. When you want to bump up the flavor, adding in other sauces like hoisin, oyster sauce, or sesame oil will work great.

What is the best oil for stir-frying?

Most Asian cooking involves neutrally flavored oils, like vegetable, peanut, corn, grapeseed, or canola. Olive oil is usually too intensely flavored, and the flavor can clash with the other ingredients. However, I have used a very neutral-flavored olive oil with success, so just make sure your oil has a very bland flavor.

What to Serve With Simple Stir-Fried Vegetables

Mongolian Beef

Hoisin Shrimp

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Bowl of broccoli next to Stir-Fried Vegetables on a platter and a plate.

More Stir-Fry Recipes

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Simple Stir-Fried Vegetables

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Total: 23 minutes
Servings: 4 People
An easy combo of stir-fried vegetables provides a gorgeous color medley and crisp-tender texture.

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion (halved and sliced)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 2 cups sliced bok choy (regular or baby, either is fine)
  • 1 red pepper (cored, seeded, and sliced into thin strips)
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoon finely minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (preferably less sodium; or to taste)

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the onions and carrots and stir-fry for 5 minutes until the vegetables start to become tender. Add the bok choy, bell pepper, ginger, and garlic and stir-fry for 3 minutes until everything is almost tender, then add 1/4 cup water and cover the pan. Allow to steam for another 2 minutes until the vegetables are crisp and tender.
  • Add the soy sauce and stir to combine everything well. Serve hot.

Notes

If you want to make your stir-fry look a bit more upscale, it’s all in how you cut the vegetables. The carrots can be cut on the bias, which means diagonal slices, and this somehow gives the stir-fry a bit more elegance. If elegance is what you’re going for in a stir-fry. I also like to cut my sugar snap and snow peas in half on a diagonal for the same reason, and you can add those here if you wish.

Nutrition

Calories: 119kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Sodium: 572mg, Potassium: 415mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 13187IU, Vitamin C: 60mg, Calcium: 64mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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