Meat is often the star of a stir fry (beef and broccoli, anyone?), but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of stir fry recipes where vegetables take center stage. Mushrooms seem to be especially good for stir-frying, from spicy maitakes to wild mushrooms stir-fried with celtuce tops. You can branch out to okra, papaya, or even garlicky greens. Or you can go with the classic (and always delicious) spicy eggplant. No matter what you throw in the wok, you’re bound to find a good vegetable-only stir fry with these recipes.
Fragrant with star anise, chiles de árbol, and cilantro, these mushrooms brown to a crisp on the outside while remaining tender inside. Get the recipe for Maitake Mushrooms with Red Chiles and Cilantro »
When writer VK Sreelesh visits his in-laws’ house in the south Indian state of Kerala, papaya thoran is almost always on the table. Thoran is usually a dried dish that is mixed and eaten with rice; its ingredients can range from cabbage to beans to carrots to beets. For this papaya version, minced green papaya is first steamed and then mixed with robust coconut and chile paste, and spiced with cumin seeds, garlic, and turmeric. Get the recipe for Papaya Thoran (Keralan-Style Fried Green Papaya) »
Chewy rice cakes bring delightful texture to this spicy vegetarian stir-fry. Get the recipe for Shanghai Stir-Fried Rice Cakes (Chao Nian Gao) »
Bacon and shiitake mushrooms are cooked with hearty stem-lettuce leaves in this simple stir-fry from Lillian Chou. Get the recipe for Stir-Fried Celtuce Tops with Wild Mushrooms »
Steaming eggplant, as opposed to deep-frying it, lightens this fragrant stir-fry adapted from a recipe in Grace Young and Alan Richardson’s The Breath of a Wok (Simon & Schuster, 2004). Get the recipe for Chinese Spicy Garlic Eggplant (Yu Xiang Qie Zi) »
Okra is cooked until crisp for this dish flavored with garam masala. Get the recipe for Bhindi Masala (North Indian Okra Stir-Fry) »
If you can’t find choy sum, whole baby bok choy makes a fine substitute in this recipes. Get the recipe for Asian Greens with Garlic Sauce »