Fast-Cooking Stir-Fries and Sautés
Heat up a pan good and hot, and make dinnertime sizzle with fun, lightning-fast cooking.
Adding new varieties of mushrooms is an easy way to give old standby recipes new life. This is a basic chicken stir-fry, but the addition of shiitake and oyster mushrooms, plus the deep savory flavor of oyster sauce, makes it something wholly unique. Try whatever fresh mushrooms you like for easy variations on this dish.
Hot! Hot! Hot! That is exactly how your wok should be before the food goes in so that you get the crispy, browned edges you want. Get the thinnest slices of meat by using a serrated knife or by freezing for 30 minutes.
Inspired by the classic Vietnamese dish Cha Ca La Vong, these wraps are a fun way to serve up stir-fry. Swap black cod for tilapia if you prefer a heartier fish.
This recipe is ridiculously fast. It takes literally six minutes to cook, start to finish. It's a complete meal, too—lean protein from shrimp, freshness and crunch from bell pepper and snow peas, and Asian flavor from sesame oil, ginger, and soy sauce. Who says home-cooked meals are time consuming?
Tilapia's a great fish―inexpensive, mild-flavored, and easy to find at any supermarket―and a great way to add lean protein to your diet. This recipe coaxes nice, balanced flavor from a six-ingredient dressing that's as great on the fish as on the salad greens over which it's served.
All the fresh flavors of summer are here in one bowl, minimally seasoned to highlight the tastes of the vegetables themselves and containing only 90 calories per hearty serving. Fresh corn and okra are best, of course, but if you're craving hot-weather flavor when it's snowing, both are available frozen year-round.
A takeout favorite gets a superfast (and healthy) makeover that everyone will love. Savory sirloin gets a splash of vibrant green and kick of fresh flavor with broccoli florets and sliced green onions. Serve over white rice for a delicious and satisfying meal.
This ultra-simple three-ingredient recipe takes less than 10 minutes but results in surprising South American flavor. Using somewhat ripe plantains adds a sweet tinge to the starchy fruit, and sautéing gives the pieces a caramelized, slightly crispy exterior.
Fresh clams are an inexpensive and fast way to add variety to your weeknight meal schedule, and they're available at the fish counter of most supermarkets. They cook in a bit of lemon juice for just eight minutes here, opening and releasing their juices to create a briny broth that begs for pasta or bread to sop it up. The easy topping of Parmesan cheese and herbs completes the meal.
Here's an easy recipe for heat lovers: quick-cooked tender flank steak with a spicy sauce of ginger, vegetables, and chile paste. You can adjust the heat to your family's liking by reducing or increasing the chile paste, but be sure to serve more on the side in case anyone wants an extra kick.
The acidity of tomatoes and white wine and the slight bitterness of spinach make a nice counterpoint to mild-flavored snapper in this simple-but-elegant dish. Many kinds of fish make great substitutes here―cod, halibut, even salmon. Pair with a lightly dressed or sauced pasta for an easy Mediterranean meal.
This recipe marinates chicken, stir-fries it, makes a pan sauce, and puts together a salad, all in just about eight minutes. What more could you want for an easy weeknight dinner?
Though often used as a salad green, escarole benefits greatly from a quick sauté in this light main-dish salad. With white beans for body (and a big nutritional punch), pancetta for meaty flavor, and zucchini and corn for freshness, this dish makes a great choice for a home-cooked dinner on a busy night.
Honey and fresh orange juice brighten this dish, which also adds chile paste for an unexpected but wholly welcome heat. It can be served over rice for a full meal in a bowl or on a plate, or try udon or somen noodles for a different but just-as-easy twist.
Here's a great Thai version of a quick stir-fry. Curry spice meets coconut-milk creaminess to flavor perennial-favorite pork tenderloin, fresh snow peas, and sweet mango. This dish makes it super-easy to bring something a little exotic to your weeknight table.
The almost meaty flavor of shiitakes really complements the firm, flaky texture of sautéed bass here. A few simple pantry ingredients―sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce―provide a nice Asian note to balance and unify the dish.
Asian-style stir-fry recipes abound, because they're fast, provide so much flavor, and come in so many varieties. This one pairs tender steak and vegetables with the sweet spice of hoisin sauce and the moderate heat of chili garlic sauce. The colorful result looks great on a bed of white rice, and nobody has to know it took less than 15 minutes.
This recipe is a model of versatility for a quick weeknight dinner. You can swap out the shrimp for chicken, steak, or even tofu, and replace the broccoli with any other quick-cooking vegetable you like (yellow squash, pea pods, or eggplant are all great choices). The easy cornstarch-thickened sauce will go with just about any stir-fried veggies or meats as well, with its balanced blend of tart rice vinegar, salty soy sauce, and nutty sesame oil.
This dish incorporates the four tastes that make up classic Thai flavor: hot from Sriracha, sour from lime juice, salty from fish sauce, and sweet from coconut milk. With quick-cooking chicken, these ingredients come together in a flash for a simple dinner served over rice that's ready in less than 10 minutes.
A bumper crop of squash can challenge the inventiveness of the most dedicated cook. Use these tasty summer veggies in pasta dishes, soup recipes, and more.
Get fresh flavor in about five minutes with this dish. Quick-cooking baby squash (you can substitute sliced regular squash or zucchini) combines with basil and salty feta for a side that can match all sorts of dishes―try it with everything from grilled salmon to pasta.
This recipe produces an elegant dish that nobody will know took about 15 minutes to make. Brown and crisp on both sides but tender and flaky within, tilapia fillets are topped with a bright, lemony sauce highlighted by the piquant spice of green peppercorns. This is a dish you can serve to company, but it's just as comfortable at the weeknight family table.
Hoisin sauce is an often overlooked item that really deserves a place in every pantry. It adds big flavors with very little effort, and a little goes a long way, keeping recipes healthful. It also matches lots of different foods very well, whether meats or vegetables. Here, it gives ample flavor to a simple combination of pork, snow peas, and bell pepper.
Using frozen green beans in a high-heat stir-fry gives you an as-good-as-fresh crispness without having to take the time to snap all those ends.
Though the chewy texture of Chinese egg noodles is fantastic, you can substitute rice sticks or linguine. Omit or decrease the amount of chile paste if serving to kids.
Look for seitan—also called wheat gluten—in Asian markets or the refrigerated sections of health food or specialty stores. It makes a great base for vegetarian dishes because it’s high in protein—a 4-ounce serving contains 24 grams.
All the tasty take-out flavors you crave come together with fresh ingredients for a quick 25-minute meal. Chop or slice chicken for fastest possible cooking. Bonus: More exposed surface area allows the chicken to absorb flavor from sauces or other high-flavor ingredients.
The great thing about stir-fries is that they're so open to variation. Out of pork? Use chicken, beef, or tofu. Don't like zucchini? Try mushrooms instead. No matter which meats and veggies you choose, the sweet-spicy sauce will complement them well.
This is the ideal weeknight meal. You can prep all your ingredients earlier in the day, and then it takes 10 minutes for it to come together. Center-cut loin pork chops are very lean, so they cook quickly and are a great alternative to chicken, but boneless, skinless chicken breast can certainly stand in for pork, if you’d like. Serve with steamed jasmine or brown rice to round out the meal.
Take your stir-fry up a notch with this butterflied shrimp and veggie variation. A paring knife is essential for deveining and butterflying the shrimp, while a chef's knife takes care of cutting the vegetables, garlic, and ginger.