Dinner With My Family #31: Mixed Garden Stir Fry with Rice Noodles

Vegan Stir Fry

Right now, we have an abundance of vegetables coming from our garden, far more than we can easily consume. Bell peppers. Onions. Tomatoes. Broccoli. Green beans. They’re all coming in at once.

Naturally, that means we’re eating these vegetables a lot. They serve as side dishes in many of our meals and, when we think up an idea, they also serve as the main course for a meal or two.

Here, we’re doing something very simple with the vegetables. We simply cut up some vegetables from the garden, cook them over high heat with a bit of water, add some rice noodles and a bit of sauce, and we suddenly have a wonderful simple meal.

Finished meal

What You Need

All you really need are rice noodles (dry ones are fine), some sauce that you like (soy sauce is fine, or you can try teriyaki sauce or countless other sauces), and some vegetables from your garden. That’s really all you need!

The Night Before (or Early That Day)

The biggest step in this entire process is simply chopping up all of the vegetables. In this, we used a bell pepper, some green beans, some broccoli, and half of an onion.

Vegetables

Almost any vegetable that’s fresh from your garden would work. I’d use tomatoes, potatoes, peas – almost anything that would come out of our garden would be fine in this.

Don’t worry about amounts too much, either. I try to have two parts overall vegetables to one part rice noodles by precooked weight, but you can really do whatever you’d like. You’ll find that the noodles (if anything) expand during this and the vegetables definitely shrink, so it will seem like there are as many noodles as vegetables when you’re done (if not more noodles).

Preparing the Meal

About half an hour before you’re going to add them, put the dry rice noodles you have in a bowl of water. This will make them perfect for cooking.

Rice noodles soaking in water

If you have wet rice noodles (some stores sell them), just wait until you’re ready to add them.

When you’re ready to cook, simply add a bit of water to a large pot, turn the heat up high until the water is boiling then throw in your vegetables. I suggest putting them in in order of toughness, with the toughest vegetables first. Wait a minute or two, then add the next vegetable. In our case, I started with the onions and peppers together, waited about three minutes, added the beans, waited another three minutes, then added the broccoli. Keep stirring throughout this so it doesn’t burn to the bottom, and add a bit of water occasionally to keep deglazing the bottom of the pan (the flavor is delicious).

Wait until the vegetables are just a little bit less tender than you’d like (by taste-testing, of course), then add the rice noodles and the sauce you wish to use. Keep stirring for roughly seven more minutes, then remove it from the heat and serve.

Cooked

Delicious, incredibly simple, and pretty inexpensive! It’s a home run for us!

Optional Ingredients

This dish is so incredibly flexible. You can pretty much add any garden vegetable you wish to the mix. You can add pretty much any sauce to the mix that you’d like, too. Amounts are pretty flexible, too, though I try to stick to about two parts pre-cooked vegetables to one part noodles. Just try whatever you have on hand and whatever sounds good to you.

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  1. Carole says:

    I have never prepared stir fry with water instead of oil, but it sounds good and I’ll have to try it.

  2. Becky says:

    I generally throw one type of nut or seed (like sesame or sunflower seeds) into a recipe like this as well.

    An easy sauce is soy sauce mixed 1:1 with toasted sesame oil. If you like it spicy, you can add crushed red chile pepper.

  3. Another Katie says:

    Using water instead of oil makes this not stir fry. It is a stir steam or boil.

  4. Johanna says:

    Are those peanuts I see? Yum. Cashews and almonds are also good (but more expensive).

    My go-to easy stir-fry sauce is Chinese black bean paste. It’s got sort of the same flavor as soy sauce, but it’s less watery and has more concentrated flavor. I especially like to make a stir fry of tofu, garlic scapes, and black bean paste, with some fresh tomatoes added right at the end. I could eat that all day (and sometimes I do).

    I agree with Another Katie, though – it’s not really a stir *fry* without any oil.

  5. Jules says:

    I buy those sauce packets whenever they go on sale and hoard them. Not perfectly healthy, but if it lets me use up odd bits of veg from the last few days without my boyfriend griping…

  6. Gretchen says:

    Is there a particular reason you precut the veggies in each recipe?

  7. valleycat1 says:

    We make our stir fries (or stir steams) with a lot more veggies relative to the noodles or rice.

    #6 Gretchen – I think Trent precuts/preps ahead of time so they can throw dinner together more quickly in the evening, since he’s at home during the day.

  8. Brittany says:

    I’ve been commenting for years and didn’t include a link or anything inappropriate… why am I stuck in moderation again?

  9. Tracy says:

    I would probably double (maybe even triple) the vegetable content in these, but other than that it looks delicious and I would eat it in a heartbeat.

  10. deRuiter says:

    I’d saute the onions in a bit of olive oil (with a dash of sugar to hasten browning) in a cast iron pan first. The caramelizing of the onions gives a lot more flavor than just boiling / steaming them in the sauce. it doesn’t take much extra time but gives lots of extra flavor. A bit of hoison soauce wouldn’t hurt this a bit! More vegetables from the garden and less store bought noodles would decrease the cost even further.

  11. Kim says:

    I’d like Trent to calculate the fat, carbs, protein and calories in the recipes that he posts. I’m not familiar with rice noodles. Are they very nutritious?

  12. Michele says:

    I do a true stir fry (only a tiny bit of oil, veggies sliced thin, cooked very quickly over very high heat) with garden produce and add some (not too much- we are focusing on the deliciousness of our garden!) cooked Israeli pearl couscous and some cooked beans instead of noodles. I also add a tiny bit of veggie stock at the end to make it more ‘saucy’. Yum!

  13. marta says:

    @Kim: you can do those calculations yourself, there are plenty of websites with such tools.

    As for rice noodles, they are basically all carbs, with some protein. Somewhat fewer calories than spaghetti, if you care about that.

  14. kk says:

    I make something similiar but use El cheapo Ramen noodles in place of the rice noodles. The kids love it.

  15. Katie says:

    @kk – In college, I would use Ramen noodles and some frozen veggies/shrimp to make myself “gourmet” Ramen. I made some for my foodie Uncle, and he thought it wasn’t half bad! very easy.

    How long do rice noodles need to cook? I’ve always wanted to try them and have been petrified I’d mess them up.

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