I found myself with a handful of leftover vegetables in my fridge this week, so you know what that means—STIR FRY TIME! I went extra tropical this time, to escape these winter blues, with a spicy coconut and peanut sauce, complete with fresh lime and cilantro. This Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry is fully adjustable for heat and whatever vegetables you have on hand, so read below for modifications!
Adjust the Heat
I used a full 2 Tbsp of sriracha in my coconut sauce, which gave it a good medium-level heat. If you want a slightly spicy sauce, use only 1 Tbsp sriracha, and if you want a sauce with zero heat, simply leave the sriracha out.
As I mentioned above, I jut used a mix of vegetables that were lingering in my fridge, freezer, and pantry. If you don’t have any vegetables on hand, this would be a great opportunity to take advantage of a grocery store salad bar. Grab a handful of 4-5 different vegetables, about 4-6 cups of vegetables total, and you’re good to go. And, if in a pinch, you can always use a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables.
Add a Protein
If you want to add a dedicated protein to this meal, this Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry is very versatile. You can add chicken, shrimp, tofu, or tempeh. Just sauté your protein in the skillet first, then remove it before adding the vegetables (to avoid over cooking the protein), then add the protein back in when you add the spicy coconut sauce.
Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry
Spicy Coconut Sauce
- 4-6 cups mixed vegetables ($1.93)
- 1 Tbsp high heat cooking oil of choice ($0.04)
Optional for Serving
- 4 cups cooked rice (or 8oz. noodles) ($0.70)
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts ($0.12)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro ($0.22)
- 1 lime (cut into wedges) ($0.22)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, peanut butter, sriracha, brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, minced garlic, and grated ginger. If needed, gently heat the sauce in the microwave or in a sauce pot to help the peanut butter melt into the coconut milk. Taste the sauce and adjust the heat (sriracha), salt (soy sauce), sweetness (brown sugar), or tartness (lime juice) to your liking.
- Chop your vegetables, if not pre-chopped. Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add the vegetables to the skillet in order of hardest to softest to allow harder vegetables, like carrots, more time to cook and to avoid over cooking softer vegetables. Stir fry the vegetables only for about 1-2 minutes, or just until they begin to soften on the edges because they will cook further once the sauce is added. If using a tender green, like spinach, wait to add it to the skillet until after the sauce has been added.
- Pour the prepared spicy coconut sauce over the vegetables, stir to combine, and allow the sauce to heat through (about 2 minutes). If you are using a tender green, like spinach, stir it into the hot sauce and stir just until it has wilted.
- To serve, spoon the vegetables and sauce over a bowl of hot rice, or add pre-cooked noodles to the skillet and toss with the vegetables and sauce until combined. Top with chopped peanuts, cilantro, and serve with a wedge of lime to squeeze over top.
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How to Make Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry – Step by Step Photos
First, make your spicy coconut sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk together one 13.5oz. can of full-fat coconut milk, 1/4 cup natural style peanut butter, 2 Tbsp sriracha, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp lime juice (about one lime-worth), 1 clove of minced garlic, and 1 tsp of grated fresh ginger. If you have a difficult time getting your peanut butter to incorporate into the coconut milk, you can gently heat the sauce in the microwave or a sauce pan to help it melt in (I did not need to do so).
You can use anywhere from 4-6 cups-worth of mixed vegetables. I just grabbed some things that I had in my fridge, but you can also get a mix of pre-chopped vegetables from the salad bar at the grocery store, or use a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables.
Heat 1 Tbsp high heat cooking oil of your choice in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, begin adding the vegetables, starting with the hardest vegetables first and adding the softest vegetables last. Stir fry only for 1-2 minutes, or just until they begin to soften on the edges. The vegetables will cook even more once the sauce is added and you don’t want them to be completely limp at the end, so err on the side of under cooked during this step. If you’re using a tender green, like spinach, wait to add that until after the sauce has been added.
Next add the prepared spicy coconut sauce…
Stir to combine the sauce with the vegetables, then allow it to heat through. It should heat through very quickly in the hot skillet. Once the sauce is hot, add any greens if you’re using them and stir just until they wilt in the hot sauce.
Top with chopped peanuts, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime, if desired. To serve the Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry you can spoon the vegetables and sauce over rice, or add cooked noodles to the skillet and toss to combine with the sauce.
I went the rice route today (jasmine rice, specifically), and it was super delish!