If you’re like me, nothing tastes better than vegetables that you prepare yourself because you can control the spices, oil, and how much the food is cooked. That’s why I often take vegetables from my school’s dining hall and make myself stir-frys. I’ve made countless of these colorful meals while I’ve been at school, each time with slightly different ingredients but all equally delicious.
Since each one I make is different, there isn’t necessarily one way to do this, and I encourage you to be creative with ingredients. However, a few things have stayed consistent with all my stir-frys: onions, olive oil, and broccoli, but of course, these are just personal preferences. Anyway, start by putting a pan over medium heat, and add a generous dash of oil. Next, put in the onions and a dash of salt to help with browning. Cartelized onions give the dish flavor, especially while working with limited spices, and also add sweetness. Once the onions have softened and browned a bit, add in your other ingredients. Always add the ingredients that need the most cooking first and save softer, quicker cooking ingredients for last (for example, add things like carrots, mushrooms and broccoli sooner, and save things like kale, spinach and beans for last). Again, you can add any vegetables and to give you an idea, these are the vegetables I’ve tried to far: kale, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke hearts, bok choy, red peppers, mushrooms, and carrots. Make sure that you add more oil if veggies start sticking to the bottom, and keep adding salt too (I usually add a pinch of salt with each veggie that I add). Once the veggies are cooked to the point you want them, remove from heat and eat!
Sometimes, just veggies aren’t enough. One idea is to serve them over a bowl of quinoa or rice for a little added fiber and protein. I have also added black beans, edamame, garbanzo beans, or sesame seeds to my mixture. Another idea it to quickly fry up some tofu. I do this by taking plain, cubed tofu from my school’s salad bar and dousing it in balsamic vinegar or soy sauce. For a sweeter tofu, mix balsamic vinegar or soy sauce with a little honey or maple syrup. Let the tofu marinade for a few minutes in this mixture (the longer the better). Then, put a little oil in the pan and cook tofu on low-medium heat. Be sure to stir a few times and try to get all four sides of the cubes golden brown. While adding tofu takes longer, it’s totally worth it! Enjoy.