I’m six years young, standing over the kitchen counter on my stool, wiping off dirt from mushrooms and chopping zucchini. They are ready now for the sizzling cast iron pan. I left the peeling of crying onions for my Mom to cut and preparing the slimy okra for boiling. Dinner vegetables found themselves on the stove top, either sautéed in oil or occasionally steamed and seasoned with shoyu (soy sauce). I remember snapping off asparagus ends just at the perfect bend and breaking green beans stems. Crunchy carrots and crispy romaine and purple cabbage–the only remaining raw veggies for our simple salad with sesame oil and vinegar dressing.
My Mom always started dinner prep with the aroma of caramelizing onions. Everything she cooked went with yellow, sweet onions like her chicken teriyaki, or ground beef tacos, or Japanese curry, and every root veggie you can think of. So now, almost every meal I make starts with my cast iron pan because that’s the cookware my Mom always used. I slice my onions and add them to olive oil and wait for the white pearly strings to turn translucent. Now the first step of dinner is done!
Here is my simple go-to veggie stir fry. I’ll make a batch of it for the week to use in curries, salads or paired with chicken for a quick dinner. It’s also a great addition to an egg bake for an easy breakfast dish! Some people think that veggies lose their nutrients when they are cooked but actually certain vitamins are enhanced through cooking and easier to digest. Onions and sweet potatoes are high in vitamin c when cooked. Where as, raw garlic is best (crushing the cloves and adding it to a dish toward the end). Raw garlic contains an enzyme called allicin which helps to fight the common cold and sore throats! But that’s for a later post, so back to the veggies 🙂
1 medium onion (yellow are sweeter)
1 large sweet potato
1 large zucchini
2-3 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
5-6 garlic cloves (or more!)
sea salt & cracked pepper to taste (I’ll add sage & rosemary for savory flavor or cayenne pepper & smoked paprika for heat! If you are looking for an asian style stir fry, why not try coconut aminos & curry powder!)
Chop all the veggies. Heat cast iron pan to medium and add oil. Sauté onions first until caramelized (about 5-10 minutes). Add sweet potatoes half way into cooking the onions. Place a lid on pan and let sweet potatoes cook for 10 minutes until soft. Next add the zucchini (I add the “soft” veggies near the end because they don’t take as long to cook and I like them a little crunchy!)
Note: You can use several different kind of veggies on hand to stir-fry. I like adding beets, kale and broccoli too!