This stir fry with spicy black pepper sauce is one of our favorites.
An incredibly delicious way to clean out the fridge!
Michael and I do regular date nights. We both like getting a few hours away from home together to talk and relax and eat. But we are both terrible at decision making when it comes to restaurants. Almost every week it’s like the vultures from Jungle Book:
“Whatchu wanna do?”
“I dunno. Whatchu wanna do?”
“I dunno. Whatchu wanna do?”
“Now, don’t start that again!”
The problem is a very wonderful problem to have. We both like to eat All The Things and we happen to live within easy driving distance of a LOT of delicious restaurant choices. So it’s not a matter of not caring where we eat so much as not being able to decide between excellent choices. So we do the weekly dance of trying to be decisive.
But–blessedly–once every once in a while, one of us will get a specific craving. “I want to go to that place with the amazing BLT with candied bacon and jicama-fennel slaw” (me), or “I want something with brown sauce” (Michael).
“I want something with brown sauce” has become somewhat of a joke for us. That’s Michael-code for wanting something like beef and broccoli or Mongolian beef or chicken in spicy black pepper sauce. His favorite Asian restaurant faves all mostly involve a brown sauce of one kind or another. That carries over to my meal planning at home. Sometimes he’ll just request “something with brown sauce” and I know what to do.
We make pretty regular stir fries, so I just play with the ingredients in my sauce and add whatever vegetables we need to use up in the fridge. It’s always a delicious adventure. This is our latest incarnation of “brown sauce.” It’s easy and delicious, which are two of my favorite things. I love the addition of spiralized zucchini noodles, but any veggies you have on hand will do–broccoli, snow peas, bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots, whatever!
Notes on the recipe:
This is a REALLY flexible recipe. Be sure to read the notes in the recipe. It’s great whether you’re gluten free or not, vegan or paleo, etc. Make it your own!
Not a zucchini noodles fan? No problem. This sauce works well with regular rice noodles, too. Cook about 8oz of rice noodles according to the package directions and stir them in right at the end.
Don’t have a spiralizer? No problem. I really like our spiralizer, but it is definitely not as versatile a kitchen tool as, say, a food processor. In this instance, I’d say to just slice or dice up some zucchini and add it to the stir-fry with the other veggies.
Want to add a little protein? You can absolutely add some chicken or beef to this recipe. We do regularly. You can either add something cooked on top (grilled chicken or steak is nice), or slice/dice some up and stir-fry it before you add the veggies. You’ll probably want to make a 1.5 or double batch of the sauce to accommodate the extra volume, but who in the world has ever said no to more sauce? (no one, is the answer.)
Like this recipe? You might also like…
- Zoodles with Tomato Basil Olive Sauce (paleo, gluten free, vegan)
- Chipotle Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls (paleo, gluten free, vegan)
- Chinese Chicken Salad (paleo, gluten free)
- 3 medium zucchini, spiralized (squeeze out some of the liquid with paper/kitchen towels)
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 1 cup snow peas (or snap peas, or broccoli)
- 1 green onion, sliced
- 2-3 Tbsp fresh cilantro (optional)
- coconut oil
- ½ cup gluten free tamari (or soy sauce or coconut aminos)
- ¼ cup water
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (or cider vinegar)
- 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup or honey (optional)
- ½ tsp black pepper (or more, to taste)
- ½ tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced
- 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder (can use 1 Tbsp cornstarch instead)
- Mix up the sauce ingredients in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Taste sauce and add additional black pepper or syrup as desired.
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add a little coconut oil (about 1 Tbsp) to the pan and heat.
- Add the carrots and bell peppers to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes.
- Add snow peas, green onion and zucchini noodles and cook 2-3 minutes longer.
- Stir in the sauce and continue to stir while the sauce thickens (this should only take a minute or two). Immediately remove from heat and serve with fresh cilantro, if desired.