March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.
Stir-fry — often associated with Asian cooking — is frying small pieces of food quickly over high heat in a large skillet or wok, stirring constantly. Not only is stir-frying a lower fat cooking method, it also helps fresh vegetables retain their nutrient-rich benefits, bright colors and crisp textures.
1 pound fresh broccolini
2 medium carrots
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger root
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups (6 ounces) fresh snow peas, ends trimmed, strings removed, or 1 (6-ounce) package frozen snow peas, thawed
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 green onions, cut in 2-inch lengths
½ cup water
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine (sake), optional
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons chopped cashew nuts
- Cut the broccolini tops in florets; set aside. Cut the broccolini stalks and carrots in matchsticks.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large non-stick skillet over high heat.
- Add the broccolini stalks, carrots, ginger root and garlic. Stir-fry (or cook and stir continuously) for 1 minute.
- Add the broccolini florets, snow peas, mushrooms and green onions. Toss gently to mix ingredients.
- Combine the water, soy sauce, rice wine, if desired, and sugar in a small bowl. Stir into the vegetable mixture. Cover; cook for about 2 minutes, until vegetables are fork tender. Remove from heat.
- Drizzle the sesame oil over vegetables; toss gently.
- To serve, sprinkle with cashew nuts.
- If broccolini is not available, substitute 1 pound fresh broccoli with the woody stems removed.
- Adding cubes of firm tofu or tempeh adds protein and turns stir-fried vegetables into a vegetarian main dish.
- In place of any of these vegetables — or in addition to them — use sliced bell peppers, carrots, green beans, summer squash or zucchini. Dried Chinese mushrooms (soaked) or portobello mushrooms can be used in place of shiitake mushrooms.
Serving size: ¾ cup
Calories: 130; Calories from fat: 70; Total fat: 7g; Saturated fat: 1g; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 160mg; Total carbohydrates: 12g; Dietary fiber: 3g; Sugars: 3g; Protein: 5g