I love the weeks in late summer and early fall when the fridge is bursting with vegetables and dinner is usually a big stir-fry combo. You can’t really go wrong with a medley of vegetables, some fresh herbs and some pasta or rice. I chose rice this meal because I was in the mood. Pasta would be equally excellent in this dish.
Any kind of diced meat is also good in these stir frys, whether it’s leftover or cooked with the vegetables. I didn’t have anything quick so I settled for the emergency backup all-time favorite: bacon. Cuz we always have bacon! And bacon adds a nice salty-smoky touch without much effort.
The most complicated thing about stir fry meals are the chopping and dicing time. Yes, your nifty knife skills are going to get some practice! My P.S. (Partner in Slicing/hubby) keeps my knives fairly sharp with a complicated sharpener Santa brought him for Christmas one year. He also taught me how to straighten the blades with a sharpening steel. That’s the long rod you swish, swish your blade on to straighten it occasionally. I call it my sharpening sword.
So I don’t mind chopping and dicing and all those knifely things. It’s best to have all of the vegetables chopped ahead of time, ready to add when the time is right. I goofed and totally forgot to add onion to the stir fry! I chopped it quick, fried it in some evoo in a separate skillet while I turned the heat down on the large skillet. No problem, it was able to join its fellow veg when it was lightly browned and translucent.
I’d fried the bacon for a few minutes, then added the sprouts, carefully laying them cut side down to get golden brown. When they were browned I turned them and added the zucchini, green pepper, beets and green beans. I also added fresh thyme and tarragon from the garden and some minced garlic (from a jar because I dislike mincing garlic). I added a drizzle of olive oil since my bacon wasn’t very greasy. I salted the vegetables but with a light hand as the bacon would provide plenty of salt on its own.
I let the vegetables cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then I had to lower the heat when I discovered I’d forgotten onions, but you wouldn’t do that would you? I fried the onions, as I mentioned above, until they were browned around the edges and translucent.
I tossed the translucent onions into the skillet along with the cherry tomatoes and let them cook about 3-4 minutes. We just wanted the tomatoes heated through, not mushy. I stirred in 1/2 cup water to make some broth and loosen all of the bits that might have been stuck to the bottom. Time to taste test again for seasoning, and I added more salt and some black pepper. Doing well, almost done!
I’d cooked jasmine rice, it being closest at hand in my kitchen. Brown rice or long grain white rice would work just as well. When it was cooked I fluffed it and added 3 heaping cups to the skillet.
I stirred the rice into the vegetables, cooking them together for a few minutes to allow the rice to absorb those heavenly juices I’d just made.
The rice turned a lovely golden color from the vegetables and it smelled like a vegetable riot. It was hard to decide what smelled best!
We had dinner and our plates of delectable vegetables and rice were SO delicious! The beautifully browned vegetables, the seasonings, the flavorful rice- it was a feast of healthy garden goodness. And yes, there were other vegetables I could have added but restrained myself. There’s always another day, another stir fry!
Garden Vegetable Rice Fry
6 slices thick cut bacon; diced
12 Brussels sprouts; halved
1 small zucchini; halved and sliced
1/2 green pepper; diced
1/2 cup beets; diced (I used golden beets)
1 cup fresh green beans; cut into 1″ pieces
1 onion; diced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
drizzle of olive oil if necessary (if your pan mixture seems dry)
24 cherry tomatoes; halved
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups jasmine rice; cooked
Fry bacon in a large nonstick skillet on medium high heat for 3-4 minutes. Push bacon aside and lay Brussels sprouts cut side down in skillet. Fry 4-5 minutes until they are very browned. We want that deep cooked flavor!
Add zucchini, green pepper, beets, fresh green beans, onion, thyme, tarragon, garlic and salt. Fry 8-10 minutes or until zucchini is mostly browned.Taste test, adding salt and pepper as desired.
Stir in cherry tomatoes and water and heat through, cooking another minute or two.
Add rice, stirring to break it up and evenly integrate it with the vegetables. When the liquid is all absorbed into the rice taste test one last time adding seasoning as desired.