Stir-fries probably aren't what come to mind when most people think of comfort food, but for me, there isn't much that's more satisfying than a steaming hot plate of tender-crisp veggies smothered in gingery sauce.
I especially enjoy my stir-fries in the colder months, though coming up with a nice mix of veggies can be a bit more challenging this time of year, since there's less variety available than during the summer. However, I will say this: the veggies that are readily available during the winter, namely root vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, and mushrooms, actually make a seriously satisfying stir-fry that's perfect for a cold winter evening.
With that in mind, I created this winter vegetable stir-fry with a favorite from each category. Carrots as my root veggies give the dish a hint of sweetness, broccoli florets add some crunchy texture, and button mushrooms add a savory note. You can swap these out with your favorite winter veggies if you like. For some guidance, check out our guide to stir-frying without a recipe.
I'm all about adding veggie protein into my stir-fries, and tofu is often my protein of choice. Since my goal here was to make something seriously satisfying and delicious, I cooked it up using my favorite crispy tofu cooking method, which also happens to be super easy. Just dredge tofu cubes in cornstarch and pan-fry in oil until deliciously crispy. This method does require a bit of oil, since the cornstarch tends to suck it up. It's totally worth it in my opinion, but if you're cutting down, feel free to try pan-frying the tofu without cornstarch, or even baking the tofu, which can be done without any oil at all.
For the sauce:
- ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce optional, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
For the stir-fry:
- 1 14 ounce package extra firm tofu, drained and pressed at least 30 minutes
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ to ⅓ cup canola oil or another high smoke point oil, divided
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms cleaned and stemmed
- 2 scallions chopped, white and green parts separated
- 2 medium carrots sliced
- 1 medium broccoli crown broken into florets
- Cooked rice
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Begin by making the sauce. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce or tamari, rice vinegar, maple syrup, water, sriracha sauce, cornstarch, garlic and ginger. Set aside.
- Next, make the stir-fry. Place the cornstarch into a medium bowl. Add the tofu cubes and toss a few times, to dredge the tofu cubes in cornstarch. Set aside the bowl, leaving the tofu cubes sitting in the cornstarch.
- Coat the bottom of a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of canola oil and place over medium heat. When oil is hot, add mushrooms in a single layer. Cook until they begin to brown on the bottoms, about 5 minutes, then flip and cook until browned on opposite sides, about 5 minutes more. Remove the mushrooms from the skillet and transfer to a plate.
- Coat the skillet with another 2 tablespoons of oil and raise heat to medium-high. Remove the tofu cubes from the cornstarch mixture, gently shaking off any excess cornstarch. Add the tofu cubes to the skillet in an even layer, cooking for about 10 to 12 minutes, and flipping 2 or 3 times to achieve browning on multiple sides. You can add a bit more oil to the skillet if it becomes too dry while the tofu cooks. Once tofu has finished cooking, remove it from the skillet and transfer it to a paper-towel lined plate.
- If the skillet is dry at this point, add a dash or two of oil. Raise heat to high and add carrots and white parts of scallions, then stir-fry for 1 minute. Add broccoli, and continue to stir-fry until the veggies are tender-crisp and have brightened in color, about 3 minutes.
- Add sauce to the skillet and cook just until it thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the green parts of the scallions, and return the mushrooms and tofu to to the skillet. Flip a few times to coat everything in sauce.
- Immediately divide onto plates and serve with rice and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds.