The other day at work we had our annual holiday potluck. Rather than make something sweet, I decided it would be good to have some vegetables available for myself since potlucks in the past have tended to be rather meat heavy, and I am a vegetarian. To my great surprise, everything on offer at the event was vegetarian!!!
This is a very quick meal to make once your veggies are prepped. If you want to make it during the week and find yourself pressed for time, you could cut up the veggies in advance and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to go.
For the sauce, the only items that might not already be in your pantry and fridge are sesame oil, and Sambal Oelek (Thai red chilli paste). The other magic ingredients are peanut butter and soy sauce.
As you prep your veggies, group them with other veggies that take similar cooking times (for example, celery and carrots together, beans and peas together, peppers and zucchini together). The more organized you are with your mise en place, the faster the cooking process will go.
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
A large handful of green beans, cut into bite sized pieces
A large handful of snap peas or pea pods, cut into bite sized pieces
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets (you can also add cauliflower if you like – I didn’t have any on hand)
1 small can water chestnuts
1 small can bamboo shoots, which have been julienned (you can buy them in a can this way)
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 red or yellow pepper, sliced (or ½ a red and ½ a yellow)
You can add mushrooms as well if you like, I don’t care for them so I leave them out J
2 – 3 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
Crushed peanuts (optional)
Rice or rice noodles (optional)
In a large wok or non stick pan, put 1 – 2 tbsp grapeseed oil and 1 tbsp sesame oil. When it’s hot, add onions and cook for about 5 minutes (you can lower the heat so they don’t burn). Add the garlic and stir for a minute or so.
Add the celery and carrots. Stir for 2 minutes.
Then add the beans and peas, broccoli and cauliflower (if using). Stir for 2 minutes.
Then add the rest of the vegetables. Stir for a couple of minutes – don’t overcook.
Add 1 tsp Sambal Oelek (Thai red chili paste, or if you can’t find Sambal, use another chili sauce). Add 2 – 3 tbsp peanut butter, and 2 tbsp soy sauce (approximately). Salt and pepper. Stir to combine the sauce with the vegetables. Taste it and adjust seasonings as you require.
You can serve it with rice, or rice noodles, or on its own. The julienned bamboo shoots look like noodles and have a similar texture so you might not even notice that the noodles aren’t there. You can add crushed peanuts on top when you serve it, and also cilantro if you have some around.