There is simply no better way to get a well-balanced meal on the table in a flash than stir-frying. Even better, quick, high heat cooking preserves the flavor, texture, and nutrients of whatever you’re tossing around. But it’s important not to pigeonhole stir-frying into something that only works with Asian flavors. Ingredients from cultures around the world can also benefit from getting woked. Consider these sizzling recipes your passport to flavor.
Masala Chickpea Stir-Fry
This fuss-free stir-fry that’s imbued with a flavorful Indian essence is high in dietary fiber to make it extra filling and heart-healthy. To make it vegan, simply omit the yogurt.
1. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp canola oil, swirl to coat. Add 4 sliced garlic cloves and 1 Tbsp chopped ginger to pan and heat just until garlic begins to turn golden. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
2. Add 1 Tbsp garam masala, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp cayenne and 1/4 tsp salt to pan; heat 20 seconds. Place 2 cups canned or cooked chickpeas in pan and heat 2 minutes, stirring often. Add 1 pint cherry tomatoes to pan and heat until they begin to soften, about 1 minute. Place 6 cups spinach in pan and heat, stirring often, just until greens have lightly wilted. Stir in juice of 1/2 lemon.
3. Serve topped with dollops of yogurt and sliced almonds. Makes 4 servings.
Nordic Salmon Rye Stir-Fry
This Scandinavian inspired dish incorporates some of the most notable elements of the health-hiking Nordic diet, namely, omega-3 rich salmon, vegetables and whole grains. And sneaking in some sauerkraut offers up gut-friendly probiotics.
1. Cover 1 cup rye kernels with water and let soak overnight or for several hours.
2. Drain rye, place in a medium-sized saucepan along with a couple pinches salt and cover with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered until tender but still somewhat firm to the bite, about 45 minutes. Drain.
3. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp canola oil and swirl to coat pan. Chop 1 pound skinless salmon into 1-inch pieces and season with salt and pepper. Add salmon to pan; cook 3 minutes, or until just barely cooked through. Remove salmon from pan.
3. Place 2 medium carrots (cut into matchsticks), 2 grated medium beets and a couple pinches salt in pan and heat 2 minutes, stirring often. Add 1 apple (cut into matchsticks) and heat 1 minute, stirring often. Add 1 cup sauerkraut, 2 slices scallions, 1/3 cup chopped dill and 2 Tbsp cider vinegar to pan and heat through. Gently stir in salmon.
4. Divide rye among serving plates and top each with a handful of arugula, and equal amount of the salmon mixture and scattering of chopped walnuts. Makes 4 servings
Steak Fajita Stir-Fry
Give your stir-fry some Latin flare with this fajita incarnation that is packed with muscle-building protein and the immune-boosting vitamin C found in bell peppers and mango. The stir-fry can also be scooped into corn tortillas for a twist on taco night.
1. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil, swirl to coat and place 1 lb. sirloin steak (sliced into thin strips) into pan. Cook for 4 minutes, or until steak is cooked through.
2. Remove steak from wok and add 3 sliced bell peppers (preferably different colors) to pan; cook for 2 minutes, or until just crisp-tender. Return steak to wok along with 2 sliced mangoes and 1 Tbsp fajita seasoning; heat 1 minute. Stir in 1 sliced avocado and juice of 1/2 lime.
3. Serve stir-fry topped with crumble queso fresco and chopped cilantro. Makes 4 servings
Chicken Freekeh Stir-Fry
Made using roasted immature wheat, Middle Eastern freekeh is a smoky-tasting whole grain that is high in protein and fiber. A creamy tahini dressing rounds out the dish.
1. Place 1 cup freekeh, 2 cups water and couple pinches salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 20 minutes, or until water has absorbed and freekeh is tender. Set aside covered for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
2. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp canola oil and swirl to coat pan. Place 1 pound cubed chicken in pan and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from pan.
3. Place 1 large cubed eggplant in pan, sprinkle with salt and heat until softened and darkened, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in 1 bunch chopped Swiss chard and heat until wilted. Stir in 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar.
4. In a bowl, whisk together 3 Tbsp tahini, 2 Tbsp olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tsp smoked paprika and a couple pinches salt. Whisk in warm water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until you have a pourable smooth consistency.
5. Divide freekeh among serving plates and top with chicken mixture. Drizzle on tahini sauce. Garnish with parsley. Makes 4 servings
Tofu Kimchi Stir-Fry
This fusion of Korean and Japanese flavors is jumpy with attention grabbers: fiery kimchi, nutty tasting soba, and a punchy sauce. Plus, studies show that eating more plant-based protein like tofu is a recipe for longevity.
1. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp canola oil and swirl to coat pan. Place 1 block extra-firm tofu (cut into 1-inch cubes) in pan and stir-fry until browned, about 4 minutes. Remove tofu from pan and set aside. Add 1 sliced red onion to pan and heat 1 minute, stirring often. Add 1 large thinly sliced carrot and heat 1 minute, stirring often. Add 1 medium sliced zucchini and heat 1 minute, stirring often. Add 1 1/2 cups kimchi and heat 30 seconds.
2. In a bowl, stir together 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp kimchi liquid, 2 tsp honey and 2 tsp sesame oil. Add tofu and soy sauce mixture to pan and heat 30 seconds. Cover pan to keep warm.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 1/2 pound soba noodles to the pot and prepare according to package directions. Drain noodles in a colander and rinse well.
4. Divide soba noodles among serving plates and top with tofu mixture and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Makes 4 servings