Need To Use Up Summer Veggies? Try Stir-Fry!

By Kari Hartel, RD, LD
Program Coordinator, Cooking Matters, Operation Food Search

Have you found yourself inundated with a generous amount of beautiful produce given to you by friends, purchased at a local farmers’ market, or simply from your own garden? Well, there is no quicker way to enjoy the season’s bounty than with an easy, healthy stir-fry. Additionally, it’s a great way to try delicious herbs, spices and sauces, which heighten the flavors of all those nutritious veggies. An added bonus of stir-fry dishes: they’re very quick and easy to prepare – perfect for busy individuals and families who don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen preparing meals during the activity-packed summer months. Plus, stir-fry dishes are great leftovers.

Here is a delicious recipe that incorporates whole-grains, makes use of lots of seasonal vegetables, and contains less sodium, fat, and sugar than most take-out Chinese stir-fry dishes.

Chinese Veggies & Rice
Serves 8, Serving Size 1 1/2 cups


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 pound broccoli
  • 2 medium celery stalks
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 small jalapeño
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 6 ounces boneless chicken pieces or firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger


  1. Cook rice following package directions. Set aside, cover to keep warm. While rice is cooking, make veggie mixture.
  2. Rinse and chop broccoli and celery. Peel, rinse, and chop carrots. Rinse and mince jalapeño. Peel and finely chop garlic.
  3. If using chicken, remove any skin. Cut chicken into small pieces.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, and cornstarch. Add 1 tsp of the minced jalapeño and stir. Set aside.
  5. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add ground ginger and stir. Add chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned and starting to cook through, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add chopped veggies and garlic. Stir frequently. Cook until veggies are tender and chicken is completely cooked but not dry, about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Add soy sauce mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
  8. Serve over warm brown rice.

Chef’s Notes: You can use any combination of vegetables in this recipe.
Nutrition Facts: 330 calories, 9 grams of fat, 13 grams of protein, 50 grams of carbohydrate.

Many children are already back in school this month. It’s hard to concentrate and learn on an empty stomach. Nutrition is provided over the weekend through Operation Food Search’s Operation Backpack program so that children in need can receive the nourishment they require to start their school week refreshed and ready to learn!

To learn more about the backpack program or to make a donation, visit www.OperationFoodSearch.org.