What is the easiest, most throw-together, last-minute, and fastest dinner? Stir-fry! At the end of the week, it's called "use it up" in my house. Whatever I can gather from my dwindling fresh produce supplies supplemented by my pantry items, that's what we are having for dinner. Usually, leftovers are even gone by the end of the week because we ate them for lunches (also, why you don't see too many "lunch" ideas on my blog - we are eating what we had for dinner usually). So, that means I'm usually working with limited supplies, and stir fry is a great menu choice when that happens! This recipe is a template, then, for you to use on the ingredients (sub what you have on hand for anything I list that isn't in your fridge) and can be used to ensure your food waste is minimal.
Sustainability Spotlight: Reduce is a part of the main (original) tenements of sustainability, and the reduction in food waste by using what you have honors that tried & true ingredient for protecting our resources (both food and reducing the food wastes in our landfill). Did you know that it is estimated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that 24% of our annual municipal solid waste landfill "trash" is comprised of food wastes? That is a lot of waste (almost 1/4th of all the material in a landfill each year). Why is that a problem, you ask? Methane. As food decomposes in the landfill, it contributes to the gases that are building in the landfills; that gas needs to be managed and in many cases vented over time to ensure that the pressure build up is not too extreme and that the lateral migration (i.e. - sideways movement) of the gas does not enter our soils, subsurface or water supply. Yes, to your next thought; the gas can in some cases be utilized as an energy source. However, in many cases, the methane "flare" that you see for landfills is the burning of the excess methane that cannot be used for reasons of overproduction or inability to "connect" to existing utilities to supply alternative energy. In short, keeping our food wastes to a minimum (in this case, by using what we have before it goes "bad") ensures that the long-term efficacy of the landfills are maintained, and our water resources are protected (in some ways). For more information on the management of food wastes visit https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/sustainable-management-food-basics#main-content.com.
2 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 red onion (sliced)
1 package of smokey tempeh; sliced on the bias (I used Light Life "bacon")
1 head of broccoli (florets / chopped)
1/2 cup snap peas (sliced)
1 orange bell pepper - sliced & cut in half
Handful of cilantro (chopped)
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 package of quick cook brown rice, lentils, or other grain (I used 365 Brand of 7-grains)
Hoisin Ginger Sauce:
1 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
2-3 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tbsp brown sugar (or maple syrup for refined sugar-free option)
Salt & pepper (to taste)
Heat a large wok over medium-high heat. Add peanut oil and swirl to coat. Next, add onion and tempeh and saute for 3-5 minutes or until both start to turn golden.
Now, add broccoli, peas and bell pepper; stir fry frequently for 5-7 minutes.
Meanwhile, add all sauce ingredients to a personal blender and blitz until combined.
Once vegetables are crisp tender, add sauce and saute another 3-5 minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly. Stir in cilantro and sesame seeds and remove from heat.
Cook rice (grains) according to package directions and set aside to cool slightly (fluff with a fork once done to prevent clumping).
Put a layer of rice / grains on plates and top with stir-fry and extra sauce. Sprinkle additional cilantro and sesame seeds onto stir-fry and serve warm. I hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as we did (especially for a last minute option); I'd love to hear if you did!
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie