Do you "do" Meatless Mondays? I would like to since I've been making an effort to cook and eat less meat/chicken for both health and environmental reasons, but the truth is that I'm just no good at sticking to a day-specific food schedule. Partly this is just a function of timing (with my erratic work commitments and my daughter's pretty frenetic and demanding sports schedule) it's hard to hold fast to any weeknight (or even really weekend) food regimen. The other part is that little rebellious corner of me that doesn't want to eat what someone tells me I should when someone tells me I should!! Though I'm perfectly happy to do so when no strings are attached and very good at telling others what to do (or so I'm told!!) In any case, wherever you fall on the "no-meat" Monday spectrum, you are going to love this vegetarian stir-fry that's way too good to save only for Monday nights!
What is it about stir-fries that is so appealing? The veggies? The different varieties of sauces? The chopsticks? Whatever it is, I'm a huge fan and I know that so many of you are too. And though this one is sans-meat, it is immensely satisfying and will please even the most tried and true meat and potatoes aficionados. A large part of this comes from the portobello mushrooms, which have a hefty, meaty sort of texture and add amazing flavor and heft to this dish. If you've never tried them before, now's your chance to give them a try.
I will admit that it takes a few minutes (maybe actually 20) to cut up all the veggies, but the good news is that you could prep them ahead and store covered in the fridge which means that cooking this dinner would literally be like only 10 minutes, probably faster than you could cook a pot of rice. Even if you don't pre-prep, I kind of find all the trimming and chopping therapeutic--you can let your mind unwind after the long day and the nerd in me, derives great satisfaction from a big old bowl of precisely chopped veggies! Also, when it comes to this dish (and really any stir-fry) you should feel free to sub in or out any veggie you love/hate/have on hand/don't have on hand...just be aware you may have to adjust cooking times for veggies that are more dense.
The other thing that makes this particular stir-fry so special is the maple-soy glaze. There's that wonderful yin/yang thing going on here with the sweet and tangy balancing each other out perfectly. And really the glaze couldn't be easier to make!
Crunchy carrots and snap peas, tender mushrooms, all coated in that wonderful sauce--every bite really hits the bliss point!
It's healthy, it's full of flavor, it's quick to prepare--enough talk. Get yourself into the kitchen and start chopping. This will easily beat any take out versions and in our house will definitely be going into our regular dinner rotation...just maybe not on Mondays!! Try it and let me know what you think.
And before we finish for today, I can't not talk about September 11th or think back to that terrible day. My thoughts are of course with all of the people whose lives were forever changed 16 years ago and while we can't go back, I was thinking that a good way to honor those taken would be to help those suffering now from the terrible hurricanes, here or abroad. You can definitely give to the Red Cross or maybe contact your local house of worship or you might want to take a look at this article and consider contributing to these organizations, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/us/hurricane-irma-help-donate.html?mcubz=0. Stay safe!
Portobello, Carrot and Sugar Snap Peas Stir-Fry with Maple-Soy Glaze
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes (including the time to prepare the veggies)
For the glaze
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium sauce
For the sauce
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (you can use chicken broth, it just won't be vegetarian then)
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
For the veggies
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 2-3 shakes red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 pounds portobello mushrooms, gills and stems removed, cut into 2-inch wedges
- 8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced diagonally into small pieces
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch long matchsticks
1. To make the glaze: whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
2. To make the sauce: whisk all the ingredients together in a separate bowl and set aside.
3. To make the stir-fry: mix the garlic, pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon of oil in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat a large skillet (preferably nonstick) over high heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. When it's shimmering, add half the mushrooms and let cook, without stirring for 2-3 minutes, allowing them to brown on one side. Then lower the heat to medium and turn mushrooms over so that other side can get brown and mushrooms can get fully tender. Let cook about 5 minutes and then transfer to a bowl. Turn the heat back up again, add another tablespoon oil and repeat with the remaining mushrooms. When second batch of mushrooms are done, add the original batch back into the pan and pour in the glaze. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes so that mushrooms are coated and sauce is thickened. Return mushrooms to the bowl.
4. Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels and add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Heat over high heat and when oil is shimmering, add the peas and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring every now and then, until veggies are crisp-tender. Push the veggies to the side and add the garlic mixture into the center, mashing the garlic down with a spoon, cooking for about 30 seconds and then stirring the garlic mixture into the veggies. Add the mushrooms back in. Rewhisk the sauce and pour into the skillet. Cook, constantly stirring, for about 2 minutes, until sauce is thickened and all veggies are coated. Serve immediately as is or over rice or noodles.
Note: Recipe adapted from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by America's Test Kitchen. I subbed in sugar snap peas for the snow peas and left out the 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger from the garlic mixture.