Vegetable stir fry with orange sauce is a healthy recipe that is perfect for your busiest weeknight meals.  This easy one pot meal is served over rice and is vegetarian and vegan friendly.  When you're craving Chinese, make this quick and simple stir fry for your family to enjoy.

Prep Time: 35 minutes
person holding a spoonful of vegetable stir fry
Vegetarian Main Course, Veggie Side Dishes

Vegetable Stir Fry with Orange Sauce

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This recipe was originally published on January 19, 2018.

Craving stir fry takeout?  Forget the restaurant, and make up your own batch of our vegetable stir fry with orange sauce.  Once the veggies are prepped, this stir fry cooks in only 10 minutes flat.  This one skillet dinner will save your sanity on your busiest weeknights.

person holding a bowl of vegetable stir fry

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What is a foolproof formula for stir fries?

  • Rice: Start by cooking the rice, since this takes some time.
  • Meat: Slice as thin as possible, cutting against the grain.  Marinate for the best flavor.
  • Protein: If using, rinse and drain the chickpeas, chop up the tofu, or add cashews.
  • Veggies: Cut them thinly, or use quick cooking vegetables.
  • Aromatics: Slice the ginger, mince or smash the garlic, or chop the scallions.
  • Thickener: Make a cornstarch and water slurry with a 1:1 ratio.
  • Spicy Heat: Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes, chop up the red chilies, or pour in the sriracha.
  • Sauce: Make a homemade sauce; it’s easier than you think.

How do you make a homemade sauce for stir fry?

  • Base: soy sauce, tamari (gluten free), or coconut aminos (paleo-friendly)
  • Liquid: chicken stock or orange juice
  • Aromatics: grated ginger, minced garlic, orange zest
  • Sweetener: sugar, honey, agave nectar
  • Vinegar: Rice vinegar
  • Sauce: Oyster or hoisin
  • Oil: If using, use sesame seed oil or homemade chili oil
  • Spices: if needed, white pepper and or a pinch of salt

plate of vegetable stir fry with chopsticks

What oils are best for stir fry?

Since stir fries are cooked at a high heat, use an oil that has a high smoke point.  Some popular choices are:

  • Soybean oil (450 F)
  • Peanut oil (450 F)
  • Light/refined olive oil (465 F)
  • Safflower oil (510 F)
  • Grapeseed oil (420 F)

What vegetables are best for stir fry?

  • Quick Cooking Vegetables: snow peas, asparagus, green beans, bok choy, zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers
  • Longer Cooking Vegetables: broccoli, carrots, mushrooms
  • Aromatics: yellow and red onions, scallions, garlic and ginger root

bowl of vegetable stir fry with a bowl of rice

What can you serve with stir fry besides rice?

If you don’t want rice for dietary reasons, try one of the following ideas.

  • Quinoa
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Zoodles (noodles made from zucchini)

Can stir fry be made ahead of time?

Yes, it most certainly can, but undercook the broccoli, so it won’t be mushy when you reheat it.  If you want your stir fry to be at its freshest, follow these guidelines for meal prep.

  • Cut all the vegetables and place in bowls, then cover and place in fridge.
  • Zest the orange, then squeeze the juice.  Cover those and place in the fridge.
  • Make up the orange sauce.  Place it in a mason jar and refrigerate it.
  • When ready to make, follow the recipe instructions below and it enjoy eating it in 10 minutes.

How to Make Vegetable Stir Fry

Gather all the ingredients for making the brown rice: filtered water, salt, brown rice, and butter.

uncooked brown rice, butter, salt, and water

Pour the water into a pot.  Cover it and bring the water to a boil over medium high heat.

person pouring water into a pot

Add the salt, and stir it until it dissolves.

person adding salt to a pot of boiling water

Stir the brown rice into the water with a large wooden spoon.  Reduce the temperature to medium low and cook the brown rice with the lid askew for 35 minutes or until done.

person stirring brown rice into a pot of boiling water

Remove the pot of rice from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes.  Fluff it with a fork.

person fluffing cooked brown rice with a fork

Stir in the butter to add a bit of flavor to the brown rice.

person stirring butter into a pot of cooked rice

Gather the ingredients to make the orange sauce: soy sauce, orange juice, orange zest, cornstarch, and sugar.  Sesame seeds are in the photo as well, if you want to use them as a garnish later.

ingredients for the orange sauce

Pour the orange juice, soy sauce, and sugar into a medium sized bowl, then add the cornstarch.

person adding cornstarch to a bowl of soy sauce

Whisk the ingredients together.

person whisking the orange sauce for the stir fry

To finish the orange sauce, add the orange zest.

adding orange zest to the orange sauce

Gather the ingredients for the vegetable stir fry.  Prep the broccoli, red pepper, zucchini, carrots, and green onions.  The sesame seeds are in the photo in case you want to use them as a garnish.

raw vegetables in glass bowls

Heat the olive oil in two large, heavy-bottomed skillets set over high heat.  Divide the carrots between the two skillets, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

cooking sliced carrots in a skillet

Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for 6 minutes, stirring constantly.

cooked vegetables in a skillet

While it’s still in the bowl whisk the orange sauce, then make a hole in the center of the vegetables, and pour it in.  Let the sauce bubble for a few seconds.  It will thicken up.

cooking the orange sauce with vegetables in a skillet

Carefully mix the orange sauce with the rest of the vegetables and cook for one more minute, stirring constantly.

cooked vegetables coated in orange sauce

Serve over warm brown rice.  Garnish each plate with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and take out those chopsticks!  This dish is steaming and ready to enjoy. 

person sprinkling sesame seeds on a bowl of vegetable stir fry

Pro Tips

  • Want to serve this with rice?  Start the rice first, so it’s done at the same time.
  • Need this to be gluten free?  Use arrowroot and tamari.
  • Want this to be vegan?  Replace the butter in the brown rice for vegan butter or your oil of choice.
  • Want this to be spicier?  Add crushed red pepper flakes or minced red chili.
  • Want to add a meat?  Try 2 cups of chicken thighs, pork, beef, or shrimp, but marinate it first in some of the orange sauce for 20 minutes.
  • Want to add a protein?  Add chick peas, tofu, or nuts.
  • Want more add ins?  Try water chestnuts and baby corn cobs.
  • Want other ideas for garnishes?  Try chopped green onion, toasted sesame seeds, orange zest, or orange slices.

person picking up a sliced bell pepper with chopsticks

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools

  • Emeril Lagasse Skillet: this deep, heavy-bottomed skillet is our favorite for almost every recipe.
  • Set of 3 Whisks: these stainless steel whisks will be a go-to in your kitchen for sure!
  • Bamboo Spoon: this sturdy bamboo spoon is great for mixing and stirring veggies.
  • Microplane Zester: we love this sharp zester and grater for zesting citrus in a breeze.

Want some other Asian or Polynesian recipe ideas?  Take a look at these recipes.

holding a forkful of Asian chicken thighs chicken and broccoli stir fry on a plate person holding a Hawaiian meatball on a fork

The pleasure of a 5-star review for this vegetable stir fry would be greatly appreciated.

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person holding a spoonful of vegetable stir fry

Vegetable Stir Fry with Orange Sauce


  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

Vegetable stir fry with orange sauce is a healthy recipe that is perfect for your busiest weeknight meals.  This easy one pot meal is served over rice and is vegetarian and vegan friendly.  When you’re craving Chinese, make this quick and simple stir fry for your family to enjoy.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Brown Rice

  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice (336g)
  • 4 cups water (945 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (14g)

For the Orange Sauce

  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce (177 ml)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (120 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (20g)
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 4 teaspoons sugar (17g)

For the Stir Fry

  • 1/4 cup light olive oil (60 ml)
  • 3 cups red bell pepper, cut in 1 inch slices (295g)
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and cut in thin diagonal slices (270g)
  • 3 cups broccoli florets (190g)
  • 1 green onions, cut in 1 inch diagonal slices (45g)
  • 2 zucchinis, sliced in 1/4 inch coins (500g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds, for garnish

Instructions

Cooking the Rice

  1. Put the water in a 2-quart pot, cover, and bring to a boil.  Stir in some salt until dissolved, then mix in the rice and reduce the heat to medium low.  Cook for 35 minutes with the lid askew, or until all the water is absorbed.
  2. Take the pot off the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes.  Fluff the rice with a fork and stir in 2 tablespoons of butter.

Making the Orange Sauce

  1. Whisk together the soy sauce, orange juice, cornstarch, sugar, and orange zest in a small bowl until blended.

Cooking the Stir Fry

  1. Heat the oil in two large saucepans or a wok over high heat.  Add the carrots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for 6 minutes.  Always stirring as you want to keep the vegetables moving so they don’t burn.
  2. Whisk the orange sauce, as the cornstarch will settle to the bottom of the bowl.  Make a hole in the middle of the vegetables and pour the orange sauce into the hole.  Let it bubble and thicken up for a few seconds.
  3. Mix the orange sauce in with the rest of vegetables and cook for 1 minute while constantly stirring.
  4. Serve the stir fry hot over warm brown rice.  Garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Notes

  • Make this recipe perfectly the first time.  Check out the step-by-step photos and pro tips before the recipe card.
  • The pleasure of a 5-star review for this vegetable stir fry with orange sauce would be greatly appreciated.
  • 👩🏻‍🍳 Want to see our latest recipes?  Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian

Keywords: healthy vegetable stir fry, what vegetables go in stir fry

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4 thoughts on “Vegetable Stir Fry with Orange Sauce

  1. This orange sauce tastes good on top of all the soft veggies. 🍚 I like the orange carrots and broccoli. There is so much flavor in this stir fry–it just makes you want more. I could easily have two servings of this divine stir fry! 🥕

  2. The vegetables are really tasty with the orange 🍊 sauce on top of the rice 🍚. The peppers and the carrots 🥕 and the broccoli are still firm and the sesame seeds add a neat touch.

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