By nature, stir-fries are quick-cooking meals that can be a breeze to pull together on weeknights. Fire up your wok, and watch dinner come together fast (like, under the 10-minute mark fast). But that doesn't account for the vegetable prep — the washing, peeling, slicing, and dicing (and cleanup that goes along with it) before you can start cooking.
There's a way to make this weeknight wonder easier still, and it starts with a trip down the freezer aisle.
Frozen Vegetables Are the Secret to the Fastest Stir-Fries
Make a stir-fry with frozen vegetables and you just may never go back to fresh again. The convenience is enough to win over tired cooks and anyone who dreams of getting dinner on the table as effortlessly and quickly as possible.
Using frozen vegetables for your stir-fry instantly eliminates just about all the upfront prep. There no washing, peeling, or dicing, and you can expect your cleanup time to also be trimmed way down too. All that's left to do is whisk together a sauce with a few ingredients from the pantry.
The Best Frozen Vegetables for Stir-Frying
There are more options lining the vegetable case in the freezer aisle than ever before, and when it comes to stir-fries they're all fair game. Your best bet, however, is picking up one or two of those pre-mixed bags created with stir-fries in mind. These Asian-style blends typically contain some mix of bell peppers, broccoli, snap peas, baby corn, mushrooms, carrots, and water chestnuts. It gives a variety of vegetables in a single bag, eliminating the need to buy a bunch of different individual vegetables.
Substituting Frozen Vegetables in a Stir-Fry
The most important thing to remember about using frozen vegetables in place of fresh is that the already-quick cook time will be even shorter. Frozen vegetables are pre-cooked and flash frozen, so when it comes down to it, they really just need to be heated through, while pickling up a light sear on the outside.
Start with a screaming-hot wok, slicked with a coating of shimmering oil, as it's your best protection against soggy vegetables. And just as with any stir-fry recipe, if your meal includes a protein, like tofu, chicken, beef, or shrimp, cook that first and then transfer it to a plate before moving on to the veggies. If you've got a medley bag, go ahead and add everything at once. When working with individual bags of vegetables, start with the larger, sturdier ingredients, like broccoli and cauliflower first, before moving on to smaller, more delicate peppers, and snap peas. Then pour in the sauce at the end to bring the whole meal together.
Do you use frozen vegetables in your stir-fries? What are your favorite veggie combinations?