This veggie stir fry recipe with wild rice not only tastes great but it’s healthy too!
I absolutely love stir fry and because of this, I frequently order take out stir fry during the week. Not the healthiest choice, I know. One day, after ordering about $50 of unnecessary take out on a random Tuesday, I decided that I needed to quit this ordering habit and find a way to make my own delicious wild rice and vegetable stir fry.
I also decided that it needed to be healthier than the stuff I was getting in those nice little Chinese food boxes. Sure, they taste great but we all know that it is not healthy…salt, msg, oil…not good. The first thing I thought to do was replace the white rice I usually get with my stir fry with something a little more nutritious and also more tasty- is that possible?
A flavorful and healthy version of white Chinese food rice? Does it exist? Of course! The first change I thought would make an impact is to change the rice. Chinese food typically has plain white rice which is not the healthiest choice so, when trying to revamp my stir fry, wild rice was my automatic go to. It checked all the boxes of what I was looking for.
Wild rice is gluten free, sodium free, full of fiber and it also has twice as much protein as brown rice- who knew?! When compared to regular white rice, wild rice also wins when you take a look at mineral composition. With much more iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc, it’s basically a no brainer that wild rice is what you should really be eating.
Oh and did I mention that wild rice is just prettier than regular rice? The shades of browns and reds make for a much prettier plate than that boring old white rice. So, this means that if you use wild rice rather than boring white rice, you get a healthy, pretty stir fry. It’s an all around win win situation! Bye bye white rice!
Making the Stir Fry
Picking the right vegetables was my next step in creating this recipe. While a lot of this part had to do with personal preference, I feel like each vegetable in this stir fry is necessary as they all work together! Of course, you can choose your favorites and take out or add in whatever you crave. A few other ideas for veggies would be:
- Brussel sprouts
- Baby corn
- Water chestnuts
- Green beans
- And chicken, beef or shrimp if you want a bowl with a little more protein
Asparagus and edamame were clear choices for me as they are my favorite parts of my usual take out stir fry. Whenever I order stir fry from a new take out restaurant, my test to see if the new place is good (in the take out world, of course!) is if there is asparagus and edamame in a regular order of stir fry- no custom requests!
If there is some green in the bowl, I consider the restaurant to be up to my quality standards. Nobody wants stir fry with just cabbage and onions! You need some good quality greens in there! So, when I wrote this recipe, I knew my wild rice stir fry was definitely going to have asparagus and edamame.
Cabbage, shredded carrots and onions are also a must. These three ingredients are like the gold standard of stir fry and without them, it is clear something is missing. While cabbage and carrots are both pretty easy to shred yourself (or finely slice), you can buy them both pre shredded and bagged at most grocery stores. Anything that saves time when it comes to making dinner during the week is always great!
Another trick to finding the veggies you want when you are out shopping is to look in the frozen foods aisle. While you may think that the most nutritious veggies are always fresh, frozen vegetables have just as many (if not more) nutrients. Frozen vegetables are picked and flash frozen at their peak ripeness, locking in the health benefits. Not only are frozen vegetables still super healthy, you are also likely to find whatever you are looking for in the freezer. Fresh edamame may be hard to come by but frozen edamame is something you can definitely get anytime of year. Don’t skip that frozen food aisle!
Seasoning this wild rice and vegetable stir fry is what really took me a while to perfect. Every time I made this recipe it seemed like something was missing. I was already using teriyaki sauce and soy sauce but I was missing that extra bite. My stir fry wasn’t tasting up to par with the take out version. However, I wasn’t giving up! I would just have to eat a lot of stir fry until I got it right!
I tried dried mustard, duck sauce, extra soy sauce but none of those things typically used in stir fry worked. Then one day, lime juice came to mind and guess what- perfect! Lime juice adds that little touch of acidity and hint of flavor that this recipe needs. So don’t skip it because it seems out of place in a stir fry recipe- lime juice is key! You will see! The lime juice ties this whole dish together in a way that makes it better than take out stir fry (finally!).
30 Minute Veggie Stir Fry
So, now that I have told you the back story to this recipe, now all you need is the ‘how’. Well, that’s easy! From start to finish, this recipe will take less than 30 minutes which is faster than most take out places will deliver. After you make the wild rice, pretty much all of the ingredients are going to get sautéed in one large frying pan (or wok if you have it!). Follow the order in the directions to make sure your veggies are cooked properly as they all tend to cook at different rates.
A wok is common in cooking Asian foods as you can toss the vegetables in the pan quite easily. This helps you cook the vegetables over high heat, keep them crisp and prevents them from burning. You can achieve the same results with a regular frying pan too, the “toss” is just a little trickier. However, the key to cooking stir fry vegetables like a professional is to keep the pan moving! Check out this video on how to use a wok and practice next time you are cooking.
Your cooked rice is then stirred into the vegetable frying pan and there you have it! Done. A great big batch of wild rice veggie stir fry! However, don’t let the quantity fool you, this stir fry will get eaten quickly! In fact, I always made a massive double batch because to be honest, in true stir fry fashion, it tastes even better the next day.
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Hope you Enjoy! =)Print
This veggie stir fry tastes like it came from a take out restaurant but is sooooo much healthier!
- 3 cups (your choice) Wild rice, cooked (we use Trader Joe’s organic wild rice)
- 1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups fresh asparagus, chopped small
- 1/2 cup shelled frozen edamame
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1/2 cup onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Teriyaki sauce
- salt/pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds (optional)
- Make wild rice according to package instructions and set aside
- Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat
- Add asparagus, onions, garlic, soy sauce and Teriyaki sauce
- Saute for about 7-9 minutes, stirring as needed
- Add edamame, cabbage, carrots, lime juice, and salt/pepper
- Saute another 5-7 minutes or until edamame is heated through
- Add prepared wild rice into the skillet
- Let everything cook together for a few more minutes
- Top with sesame seeds (optional) and serve immediately
- Look for frozen chopped veggies in the freezer section of the grocery store. These will make the recipe even faster to make and are just as healthy (if not more so) than fresh veggies
- Substitute coconut aminos for the soy sauce in the recipe for an even healthier sauce
- You can make the rice ahead of time (even a day before) but the stir fry is best when eaten fresh.
- This stir fry will keep in the fridge for up to one week