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Sweet & Sour Veggie Stir Fry (Oil-Free)

Stir-fries are so easy to make and a terrific way to use up some of those veggies in the refrigerator that need to go quickly. This Easy Veggie Stir-Fry with sweet and sour sauce is a great recipe for that, and any vegetables you prefer can be used.

close up of sweet and sour vegan stir fry in wok with spoon

This is such a beautiful and colorful dish that can be ready in about 40-minutes, or even less if you use precut vegetables. It makes it so easy on those busy days to get dinner on the table fast.

I normally use mushrooms, broccoli, celery, carrots, onions, garlic, and red bell peppers, but any veggies you prefer would be great in this recipe. Serve over rice or noodles for a full delicious meal.

wooden bowl filled with rice and stir fry with chopsticks

You’ll love this stir-fry because it’s…

  • Packed with veggies, and you can use any variety preferred
  • Tangy & sweet with a sweet and sour sauce that can be made in minutes
  • Ready in only 40-minutes or less
  • Healthy, vegan, gluten-free, low-fat, and delicious

How to make veggie stir-fry

It’s hard to believe, I know, but stir-fries can be made without using a drop of oil and still be delicious without any added fat. You’ll never miss the oil in this tangy-sweet veggie stir-fry.

Make the sweet and sour sauce

Begin by making the sweet and sour sauce which can be done by simply mixing the sauce ingredients in a bowl. You’ll need to mix in the fire-roasted tomatoes, apple juice concentrate, soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free), rice vinegar, basil, and cornstarch or another thickener. Once it’s whisked together well, set the sauce to the side.

sweet and sour sauce ingredients in clear bowl with whisk

Next, dice up the vegetables to be used. If you really want to speed the process up, buy pre-cut veggies. Personally, I always buy bags of broccoli florets that have already been chopped up to save time cooking.

diced veggies on wooden cutting board

Once everything is diced and chopped, set them to the side while you toast the sesame seeds.

Toasting sesame seeds

Place the sesame seeds in a hot wok or pan and cook over medium heat until the seeds become fragrant and begin to pop. This takes about 2-3 minutes. Once they begin to turn a light brown, remove them from the heat immediately or they will begin to burn. Pour them into a bowl and set them to the side.

sesame seeds browning in frying pan

Place the wok back on the stovetop and add approximately 3 tablespoons of veggie broth or water to the pan then add the onions and garlic and saute for about 2-minutes. Add a little more veggie broth as needed to prevent sticking.

stainless wok with vegetables and red spatula

Next, toss in the other vegetables–broccoli, celery, carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, or others that you are using–along with 3/4 vegetable broth and cover with a lid and cook for about 3 minutes.

I like to add seitan, tofu, or tempeh to this stir-fry to make it even more hearty. If you aren’t sure what seitan is, it’s a terrific little vegan meat replacer that you can buy already cooked or make your own at home. I like to add it to many different recipes.

wok filled with broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, onions, tomatoes

Stir in the sauce mixture and continue to cook until the sauce thickens. This should only take about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, top with the toasted sesame seeds, and serve over rice or noodles.

sweet and sour mixed vegetables in wok

The recipe comes from The Cancer Survivor’s Guide by Dr. Neal Barnard.

*Originally published February 2016.

Your veggie stir-fry questions answered:

  • Q: What vegetables go with a stir-fry? Some of the most common veggies used are broccoli, onion, celery, carrots, bell peppers, mushroom, baby corn, and water chestnuts. However, you can use any veggies preferred.
  • Q: What to add to a stir-fry to make it better? It’s all about the SAUCE! The sweet and sour sauce used in this recipe is great, and I have other Stir-Fry Sauce Recipes that will work as well.
  • Q: Do I have to add the vegan meat replacers? No, not at all! This stir-fry is delicious on its own with just the vegetables.
  • Q: Can I use regular diced tomatoes? Yes. I like the fire-roasted tomatoes because they add even more flavor, but diced tomatoes will work well too.
  • Q: Where will I find apple juice concentrate? This can be found in the freezer section of your grocery store. It is very common and should be easy to find. However, you can substitute apple juice if needed.
  • Q: How long will this keep? In an airtight container, it should last about 5-7 days in the refrigerator. It freezes well too.
white bowl half filled with rice and other half stir fry

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wooden bowl filled with rice and stir fry with chopsticks

Sweet and Sour Veggie Stir-Fry

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Stir-fries are so easy to make and a terrific way to use up some of those veggies in the refrigerator that need to go quickly. This Easy Veggie Stir-Fry with sweet and sour sauce is a great recipe for that, and any vegetables you prefer can be used.

Ingredients

Stir-Fry

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 cup onion, sliced into crescents
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup celery, diagonally sliced
  • 1 cup carrot, diagonally sliced
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 6 ounces seitan strips, tofu, or tempeh (optional)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1/4 cup crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup apple juice concentrate
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple packed in juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1.5 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil

Instructions

  1. Begin by making the sweet and sour sauce which can be done by simply mixing the sauce ingredients in a bowl. You’ll need to mix in the fire-roasted tomatoes, crushed pineapple, apple juice concentrate, soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free), rice vinegar, basil, and cornstarch or another thickener. Once it’s whisked together well, set the sauce to the side.
  2. Next, dice up the vegetables to be used. If you really want to speed the process up, buy pre-cut veggies. Personally, I always buy bags of broccoli florets that have already been chopped up to save time cooking.
  3. Once everything is diced and chopped, set them to the side while you toast the sesame seeds.
  4. Place the sesame seeds in a hot wok or pan and cook over medium heat until the seeds become fragrant and begin to pop. This takes about 2-3 minutes. Once they begin to turn a light brown, remove them from the heat immediately or they will begin to burn. Pour them into a bowl and set them to the side.
  5. Place the wok back on the stovetop and add approximately 3 tablespoons of veggie broth or water to the pan then add the onions and garlic and saute for about 2-minutes. Add a little more veggie broth as needed to prevent sticking.
  6. Next, toss in the other vegetables–broccoli, celery, carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, or others that you are using–along with 3/4 vegetable broth and cover with a lid and cook for about 3 minutes.
  7. I like to add seitan, tofu, or tempeh to this stir-fry to make it even more hearty. If you aren’t sure what seitan is, it’s a terrific little vegan meat replacer that you can buy already cooked or make your own at home. I like to add it to many different recipes.
  8. Stir in the sauce mixture and continue to cook until the sauce thickens. This should only take about 2-3 minutes.
  9. Remove from the heat, top with the toasted sesame seeds, and serve over rice or noodles.

Notes

Your veggie stir-fry questions answered:

  • Q: What vegetables go with a stir-fry? Some of the most common veggies used are broccoli, onion, celery, carrots, bell peppers, mushroom, baby corn, and water chestnuts. However, you can use any veggies preferred.
  • Q: What to add to a stir-fry to make it better? It's all about the SAUCE! The sweet and sour sauce used in this recipe is great, and I have other Stir-Fry Sauce Recipes that will work as well.
  • Q: Do I have to add the vegan meat replacers? No, not at all! This stir-fry is delicious on its own with just the vegetables.
  • Q: Can I use regular diced tomatoes? Yes. I like the fire-roasted tomatoes because they add even more flavor, but diced tomatoes will work well too.
  • Q: Where will I find apple juice concentrate? This can be found in the freezer section of your grocery store. It is very common and should be easy to find. However, you can substitute apple juice if needed.
  • Q: How long will this keep? In an airtight container, it should last about 5-7 days in the refrigerator. It freezes well too.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 120Total Fat: 2gCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 8g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Did you make this recipe?

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photo collage of vegan stir fry for pinterest

Sheri Kash

Friday 20th of July 2018

Tried this the other night. Love the sweet and sour flavor. Didn’t use the seitan. I added almonds.

Ginny Bennett

Monday 15th of January 2018

Sietan is the protein? I have never seen this. How do we buy this?

Valerie

Saturday 27th of February 2016

Yum! I have a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables from Costco in my freezer now, just made a batch of seitan sausage and am thinking it's perfect timing to make this for dinner (I usually take the mushrooms out and slice them up before cooking because they are too tough to enjoy whole (the way they come in the package)

EatPlant-Based.com

Saturday 27th of February 2016

Sounds fabulous! Enjoy! :)

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