It feels like forever and a day since I’ve glorified the almighty vegetable.
Oh wait…that’s because it has been. My bad.
It’s true, I’ve been slacking on sharing my veggie loving, only on the blog though because those babies are plastered all over my Instagram feed. The veggies that is, not me. Well unless it’s Saturday night, and then we’re all a bit tipsy.
The simple truth is I owe you some produce love, which is why I’ve decided to share one of my favorite recipes. This one is tried and true and has been tested hundreds of different times, which, despite my flair for the dramatic, isn’t an exaggeration. Ego aside, the real reason I can safely stand by this statement is because I eat this for dinner on a monthly basis, if not more, and it just so happens to involve mass quantities of vegetables and heaps of flavor, which is the way I like it. ♫”Oh, that’s the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it.”♫ Heaven help me, how did KC and the Sunshine Band slip into my noodle. Make them go.
The beauty of this recipe is you can use whatever veggies you have on hand, in whatever quantities you prefer. While I will deliver an actual recipe, you don’t need to follow it in excruciating detail. Basically, if you want to color outside the lines, now’s your chance. In fact, I strongly encourage you to throw caution to the wind and fly by the seat of your pants, or at least your veggies. Then again you might be flying by your pants after eating so many veggies in a single sitting. Not me though, I have a stomach of steel. That or I ingest so much fiber on the regular, it has no impact. It does have a boatload of nutrients though, and we all know how much I love those guys.
Basically, veggie stir fry is does a body good type food. It’s what I crave after a few days without greens or too many meals out. It’s one of the dishes the Hubby always asks for when he comes home. Not only does it look pretty, it tastes damn great too. It’s the real deal and the whole package, all bundled up into one. It’s everything you’d want in a meal…well unless you’re feeling carnivorous and then you might want to toss in some chicken or steak. I say go for it, I won’t judge and if you’re looking for a good cheese to top it off, might I suggest Asiago?
While its adaptability is part of what makes this dish so charming, the other gem is the flavor, and yes I’m talking about a boatload of vegetables being full-flavored, tasty and tempting. I know people tend to see veggies as the creepy guy at the party you want to avoid; you know, the one who traps you in a corner and talks your ear off all night about sports, hunting, or politics. Shudder.
It doesn’t have to be that way though, which is why salt and pepper, especially when it comes to mass quantities of veggies, is your friend. Do not be stingy with the seasonings; you’re working with vegetables and they’re begging for you to enhance their flavor. When they talk, you listen. Or perhaps you make a hasty call to your therapist since your vegetables have suddenly started speaking in tongues.
Show your veggies love by adding salt and pepper and then tasting them; frequently, while they’re cooking. If you think they’re bordering on boring, add some more salt and pepper or any other seasoning which makes your heart sing. Feel like a little heat? Add some red pepper flakes or cayenne. Feeling saucy (I know I am)? Add some Herbs de Provence. Feel like heading East? Add some Turmeric, Paprika, and Cumin. Whatever you’re digging at the moment, add a pinch, wait a minute for your vegetables to absorb the flavor and then taste them again. Honestly, that’s the secret of good cooking right there.
In addition to seasoning, cook time is an important factor. I don’t want to eat a serving of raw and rock hard veggies (raises eyebrow suggestively), and I don’t want a bowl full of mushy ones either (… and the eyebrow goes down). The secret is to stagger the addition of your vegetables. I always begin with some chopped onions and a crank of salt and pepper. Then I add garlic and another crank of seasoning. This is the base of all of my stir fries and most of my soups. It’s also know as the art of building flavor. Next comes those beautiful and bountiful vegetables which require a longer cook time. Think broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. After those have cooked down, you toss it whatever’s left, saving your tomatoes for last.
The end result is a soft, yet slightly crispy and well seasoned medley of vegetables. The variety of flavors and textures makes your heart happy, literally, and your stomach full. I pair the final product with some cooked rice, quinoa or homemade garlic bread to make it a substantial meal, one that you’ll want to eat monthly, if not more.
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 cups of cauliflower, roughly chopped
- 2 cups of broccoli, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 cup of bell peppers*, roughly chopped
- 1 squash, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves or quarters
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 tsp. seasoning salt
- * I like using red or orange bell peppers here for a burst of color. Pretty food tastes better.
- Pour olive oil into a large pan over medium high heat.
- Once the olive oil is hot, add your onions. Give it a pinch or crank of salt and pepper if you're working with a grinder, and let them cook for a few minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add your garlic and another crank or pinch of salt and pepper and let them cook for another thirty seconds.
- Add your broccoli, cauliflower and carrots now, another crank of salt and pepper and your teaspoon of seasoning salt or any other seasonings you'd like. Let the veggies cook for a few minutes before stirring. They should be beautiful and brown on the outside, without being charred. Once they've developed a crispy exterior, reduce your heat to medium low and let the veggies cook another seven to ten minutes or so, until they just begin to soften.
- Add in your bell peppers and your squash (or asparagus and green beans if you prefer) along with another crank of salt and pepper. Taste everything. Is it seasoned the way you want? If not, add some more. If yes, let cook another few minutes allowing all the flavors to mingle. Cook the vegetables until they are the desired texture you want. Softer veggies require more time.
- Add in your cherry tomatoes and let simmer for another one to two minutes, allowing the juices to burst and mingle.
- Remove from heat and spoon on top of cooked rice or quinoa.
- The hardest part of this entire recipe is chopping all those veggies, and if possible, I do some of it days ahead of time or I break out the food processor and let it do all the work for me. That guy is a life saver.
This post is being shared with Sprint 2 The Table’s Strange But Good, even though there’s probably nothing all that strange about it. Laura, I just like coming to your parties. It’s also being shared with She Eats Fresh Food Wednesdays because Kristy’s my girl. Last but never least, it’s being brought to the table at the following fabulous link ups: Anyonita Nibbles Tasty Tuesday’s, Hun… What’s for Dinner’s Simply Supper Tuesday’s, Buns in my Oven What’s Cookin’ Wednesday and The Novice Gardener’s Fiesta Friday.
Do you eat veggie story fry often? What’s you favorite seasoning combo or mixture of veggies? Do you have your own recipe? Feel free to link it in the comments below.