Published May 1, 2006.
Stir-fried vegetables make a great side dish, but can they step up to the plate as an entree? Casting our carnivorous doubts aside, we raided the produce aisle.
Without meat, vegetable stir-fries can devolve from a one-dish meal into a side dish.
We wanted to make a satisfying, filling meal out of stir-fried vegetables--without meat.
We chose hefty, meaty portobello mushrooms as the main vegetable, first cutting them into wedges and removing the gills to keep them from tasting leathery and raw. Then, replacing the usual chicken or beef with the meaty portobellos, we followed our tried-and-true procedure for stir-fries: Cook the mushrooms in batches and set them aside (we added a glaze to boost the flavor); steam-sauté the longer-cooking vegetables (such as carrots and broccoli) and set them aside; stir-fry the softer vegetables (such as celery, bell pepper, greens, and aromatics); then add everything back to the pan along with a flavorful sauce. We also realized that portobellos were not the only flavorful meat substitutes that could anchor a stir-fry--eggplant needed only an egg and cornstarch coating to prevent mushiness and tofu a simple cornstarch coating to give it a crisp exterior while maintaining a creamy interior.list of recipes