This Rainbow Veggie Stir-Fry with Brown Rice has broccoli, red peppers, mushrooms, snow peas, and scallions, and it's all brought together with a delicious dumpling sauce. Serve on a bed of brown rice for a tasty, healthy, and memorable meal.
Driving home from Rochester last week, we made a late stop at a motel near Elmira, New York, in a village evocatively named Painted Post. It was past nine and all the restaurants were closed, except an Applebee's.
I don't often eat at chain restaurants because most offer few, if any, vegan choices, and after looking through the menu and finding nothing at all that was remotely suitable, I asked the helpful server if he had any suggestions. We can do the sirloin stir-fry with more mushrooms and without the beef, he said.
I was hungry enough to agree and I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised by the dish he put in front of me. The stir-fry, in a sweet, gingery dumpling sauce, was delicious, and with the rice -- and a cocktail -- it made a lovely meal.
Back home, I wanted to try it out for myself, in my kitchen. Or at least something resembling it.
My copycat version of Applebee's Veggie Stir-Fry is packed, like theirs, with broccoli, red peppers and mushrooms, all of it drizzled over with slivers of scallions, but I also added some snow peas because I found them at the market this time and they go so well in a stir-fry. I can think of lots of veggies that would be superb in here, including carrots, summer squash, and even Japanese eggplant.
I like this Rainbow Veggie Stir-Fry with just the veggies because of the clean flavor, but if you absolutely wanted more protein, you could add some baked tofu to the stir-fry.
Cooking this dish made me happy: the vibrant colors of the vegetables nestled together in the wok are beautiful to just look at, and you can only imagine how amazing this rainbow would be for your health.
The verdict: my version didn't taste exactly like the Applebee's, but it was pretty close -- and very delicious. I garnished it, like they do, with wonton strips (I found vegan ones in the supermarket where the croutons are). These are very optional, but they add a nice crunch and more texture. The Applebee's stir-fry is served on a bed of white rice, but I served mine on some healthful brown rice because it just felt right to do so. I also daresay my version of the stir-fry is much healthier at just 155 calories per serving, with 7.3 grams of protein and 5.1 grams of fiber (minus the rice).
Enjoy the recipe for my Rainbow Veggie Stir-Fry!
Rainbow Veggie Stir Fry
- 3 cups sliced button or crimini mushrooms
- 3 cups (about 1 medium head) broccoli, separated into florets. I like to use the stems too-- peel before chopping.
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut in a large dice
- 2 cups snow peas
- 2 spring onions or scallions, green parts thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
For dumpling sauce
- 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tbsp maple syrup or sugar
- 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar (can use apple cider vinegar as a substitute)
- 1 tsp finely grated ginger
- Wonton strips (optional)
- 2 to 3 cups cooked brown rice
- In a bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients.
- Place a wok on the highest heat setting on your stove. Add sesame oil and heat until the oil is almost smoking.
- Add the broccoli, stir-fry for a couple of minutes, then add the bell peppers. Stir fry for another minute or two, then add the mushrooms and the snow peas. Stir-fry for two or three more minutes or until the veggies are getting tender but still have a good bite to them.
- Add the sauce and mix well. Turn off the heat.
- To serve, put some brown rice in a plate or bowl and spoon the veggies and sauce over it. Garnish with the wonton strips and chopped green onions.
More veggie-packed dishes: