Weeknight dinner doesn’t get much better than a simple stir-fry. Please don’t tell all the sheet pan meals out there I said that because they’re pretty great too. Any recipe that packs in lots of veggies in very little time always has me coming back. They are what you need on repeat.
When I’m planning my meals and grocery list for the week ahead, I always slot in at least one stir-fry. In the moment they are so wonderful fresh from the skillet, and they make great leftovers that I can work into lunch or another dinner. I never mind a little repetition if it means efficient cooking and eating where nothing goes to waste.
This cashew veggie stir-fry is inspired by my childhood Chinese restaurant favorite, cashew chicken (or shrimp). Except I make it vegan, so it is a lighter version with a less heavy sauce. Anything you make at home is so much easier to guarantee will be healthier than what you order off a menu.
I go classic with the combo of broccoli and red peppers along with mushrooms. The best stir fry vegetables have a mix of flavors and textures. You certainly can make swaps and substitutions depending what you have in you kitchen, but always think about the sizes you are cutting everything and if these veggies will sauté in the same amount of time. It’s ok if you have to give a vegetable a head start before the rest of the group.
Other veggies I love in stir-fries include green beans, snow peas and snap peas. Don’t be shy about throwing in a few extras. It’s a fantastic way to use up whatever you might have in your fridge.
Ingredients & Substitutions
This is what you need for this vegetable stir-fry recipe:
The stir fry sauce is blend of ingredients that I like to keep in my pantry and fridge just so I am prepared when that stir-fry or fried-rice craving hits. I intentionally skip cornstarch to thicken it because I want it to turn out as if the veggies are dressed in the sauce and not fully coated.
Soy sauce is the base. Make sure to use low-sodium soy sauce because it is less salty. Otherwise it can be too overpowering with the balance of everything else.
Hoison is a sweet and tangy sauce made from fermented soybean paste, chilies, garlic, vinegar, oil and sugar.
Rice vinegar has a nice acidity. It’s made from fermented rice.
Sesame oil is a bit nutty to enhance the flavor of the cashews.
Maple syrup adds a touch of sweetness. If you don’t mind if the dish is not vegan, you can use honey instead.
Salt and pepper: With all these flavorful ingredients, I use a minimal amount of salt and pepper for seasoning.
This stir-fry is seriously nutty. Never one to be shy about my love of cashews, they are the feature protein for me instead of tofu, which you can add if you want.
Cashews: I recommend using unsalted roasted cashews. This puts the seasoning in your control while still getting that roasted flavor.
Broccoli: Look for broccoli with tight clusters and avoid any with yellow flowers. I like buying heads of broccoli and cutting them into florets myself, but you can get them precut.
Peppers: Yellow, orange and red bell peppers are crisp and sweet. I skip green because I think they have a tendency to be bitter.
Mushrooms: Choose white or cremini mushrooms.
Scallions add a nice green onion flavor. I sauté the white parts with the ginger and garlic, and garnish the final dish with the sliced greens.
Garlic is part of the trio of aromatic ingredients in this stir-fry.
Ginger: Minced fresh ginger adds its distinct taste that’s wonderful with this combination of nuts, veggies and other ingredients.
Oil: For stir-fries, I use a non-GMO vegetable oil for it’s neutral flavor and high smoke point.
How To Make This Cashew Veggie Stir-Fry
Make the sauce. Whisk together the soy sauce, hoison sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Toast the cashews. Place a skillet or wok on the stove over low to medium heat to toast the nuts. In 2-3 minutes, they will turn golden brown. After that, remove them from the skillet.
Stir-fry the veggies. Heat the oil in the skillet over high heat. Sauté the white parts of the scallions with the minced garlic and ginger until fragrant. Then add the broccoli, peppers and mushrooms. Keep cooking them and moving them around the pan for 3-4 minutes. They should be cooked and warmed through but still crisp-tender.
Pour the sauce into the veggies. Let the mixture bubble for a few minutes, folding the veggies into the sauce.
Stir in the toasted cashews and sliced green scallions.
Serve with brown rice.
What To Serve with Stir-Fry
Since this is such a quick recipe, I like to make the rice the night before and just warm it in the microwave. That’s because it takes far longer to cook the rice than it does the stir-fry, and I don’t want it to be the reason why I have to wait to eat.
This easy cashew veggie stir-fry is loaded with a mix of vegetables including bell peppers, broccoli and mushrooms. Serve it with brown rice.
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoison sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts separated
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cups broccoli florets
2 red peppers, diced
1 cup sliced cremini or white mushrooms
Brown rice for serving
For the sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, hoison, rice vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
Toast the cashews in a large skillet over low to medium heat until browned in spots, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the cashews and set aside.
Increase the heat to high and add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Sauté the white parts of the scallions, garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli, peppers and mushrooms, sautéing for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are cooked but still bright and crisp.
Pour in the sauce and let it bubble and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring around the vegetables.
To finish, stir in the green scallions and cashews.
Serve with brown rice.
Store leftovers in an airtight container the refrigerator up to 4 days.