Make a perfect stir fry in five minutes with frozen veggies and a few ‘extras’

Frozen vegetables don’t get the credit they deserve.

I used to think of them as just something to have on standby when fresh ones were out of season. You know, something to fill in for a meal when nothing else is available.

But that’s a mistake – especially if you don’t have a lot of “prep” time to spend in the kitchen.

So here’s a great way to turn out a meal that tastes just as good as your favorite Chinese takeout, but will take you less time than it would to place that order and pick it up.

And the best part is that you have total control over the ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about MSG or any other spices or oils you don’t want to eat.

This entire jiffy, stir-fry recipe is based on vegetables and seasonings, though it can easily be married to meat and seafood items. Such proteins should be cooked separately and placed atop the stir-fry at time of serving. Adding meats or seafood to the stir itself could require greater cooking time, which would negatively impact the proper cooking process needed to perfectly capture the essence of the rapidly thawed vegetables.

And it also tastes great just as a veggie dish – one added on top of steamed rice or quinoa!


MAKING IT: The trick to this stir fry is closely monitoring the doneness of veggies, which need only to be adequately heated for best and most natural results. Cooking most veggies – fresh or frozen — to “softness” is overcooking.


Must haves:

  • Two tablespoons Wild Oats Organic Olive Oil
  • One tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 12 ounce bag of frozen, mixed stir-fry veggies. I used a mix of broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas and water chestnuts.

Your call:

  • Spices to taste – such as Wild Oats Organic Garlic Powder, Wild Oats Organic Crushed Red Pepper (if you like it hot!), pinch of Wild Oats Organic Ginger, sesame seeds, pepper, etc.
  • Optional: one tablespoon of soy or tamari sauce, chopped fresh green onions (scallions) and chopped fresh green, red, or orange peppers (to add right before serving).
  • Also optional: cooked chicken or fish to add on top before serving.
  • Another great option is the addition of peanut butter to make a quick Thai-like sauce. Here’s how: Once the veggies have cooked for a couple of minutes, push them to the side of the pan making an empty circle in the center. Add two tablespoons of creamy peanut butter to the (hot) center of your pan. If there is any liquid in the pan, mix it with the peanut butter as it heats. If not, add a tablespoon or so of hot water to blend the peanut butter.


In a large skillet add one tablespoon olive oil and one tablespoon sesame oil. BEFORE you turn on the heat, add your frozen veggie mix. Sprinkle another tablespoon of olive oil on top.

TIP: Now I know that’s breaking a cardinal rule of cooking – always preheat your pan or oven – but in this case adding frozen things to hot oil is a very bad idea. And that’s even true if you have a fire extinguisher handy!

Turn to medium high heat, and once the pan and veggies start warming up toss the mixture around a bit to blend. Add any spices or your soy or tamari sauce at this point and toss/mix well.

Cook for approximately 5 minutes, moving the veggies around several times with a wooden spoon or spatula, and also check for doneness with a fork at around 4 minutes. You want the veggies cooked but still crunchy. If the pan looks too dry, you can add a tablespoon of water.

Turn out your snappy stir-fry veggies on top of a bed of steaming rice or quinoa and place any meat or seafood on top; do not stir in.

You can also add chopped fresh green onions and peppers on top to add some extra crunch and eye appeal.



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