A delicious stir fry recipe that uses any meat or vegetable you have on hand with an easy sauce, and served on crispy baked noodles – a healthier version of pan-fried noodles.
One of my favorite meals is a good stir fry that uses lots of vegetables as well as any meat or seafood I happen to have on hand. Our teenaged kids? Uh, not so much. I’m hoping with lots of exposure they’ll eventually cave and like it. What do you think – possible?
Regardless, it’s such a great way to use up any vegetables I have in the fridge, as well as whatever meat or seafood I need to use up. I like to keep it pretty simple with a sauce of basic ingredients like soy sauce, honey, broth, and of course a bit of Sriracha to spice it up.
You’d find this easy weeknight dinner on our menus if you were to see them over the years, but realized I’ve never posted my basic recipe. I think it’s about time, since it’s one of those “back pocket recipes” we all need to have in our repertoire.
Stir Fry on Baked Noodle Pillows
Most of the time, I don’t measure or plan stir fry out, I literally just start pulling vegetables out of the fridge usually after deciding what type of protein I’d use. For this stir fry pictured I used:
- sweet red pepper
Other vegetables that are good include cauliflower, sliced carrots, cabbage, and chopped kale.
And the noodle “pillows?” Well, while rice is the typical accompaniment to stir-fry, I’m a fan of pan-fried noodles and when I discovered this idea in Sunset magazine I thought it would be an easier – and healthier – version of pan-fried noodles.
I was right – they add a nice crunch and can be made with either wheat or thin rice noodles.
Making the noodle pillows is as easy as cooking the noodles, mixing them with a bit of sesame oil and then plopping them into circles on a lined baking sheet.
When they’re done, the outsides will be lightly browned and they will hold together for serving.
While there is one more step than rice, it’s still easy to make on a weeknight. Start the noodles boiling and gather your vegetables and start chopping. When the noodles are done, drain, toss them in the oil, and add them to a baking pan to start baking while you finish the stir fry.
To serve, simply use a spatula to transfer one of the pillows to a plate, top with the stir-fry and garnish with a few sesame seeds. The sauce from the stir-fry coats the noodles after it’s added, softening some while leaving a bit of crunch towards the edges.
And those Chinese restaurants who charge extra for pan-fried noodles? Well, now you can have them at home, too – at no extra charge.
Other Easy Weeknight Dinners to Try:
- Healthy Lemon Vegetable & Fish Foil Packets (Grill or Oven Bake)
- Garlic Shrimp and Green Bean Pasta -A 30 Minute Meal
- Sriracha Beef and Vegetable Rice Bowls
Stir Fry on Baked Noodle Pillows with Vegetables & Shrimp, Chicken, Pork, or Beef
- 1/2 pound spaghetti noodles (or udon, rice, or other long noodle)
- 1 pound peeled shrimp (or thinly sliced chicken, pork, or beef)
- 1 head broccoli cut into florets*
- 1 onion cut in half and sliced*
- 1 sweet red pepper cut into 1 to 2-inch slices*
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms*
- 3 cloves garlic minced (divided)
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger or 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger, but add to the sauce if not using fresh
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup chicken or beef broth
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil divided
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons peanut oil for stir-frying or other high-smoke point oil like expeller pressed sunflower oil
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- Cook noodles according to manufacturer's directions. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a large baking sheet with a silicone liner, parchment, or even tin-foil in a pinch.
- While noodles are cooking, prepare meat or seafood and set aside (when using meats, I will usually season them after cutting with soy sauce or just a bit of salt and pepper).
- Trim and cut all the vegetables, garlic and ginger and set aside.
- In a 1-cup glass measure, combine the remaining ingredients, except peanut oil, and whisk well to make sure the arrowroot/cornstarch is dissolved.
Shape and bake the noodle pillows:
- Drain noodles, return to pot, add 1 tablespoon sesame oil and stir well to coat all the noodles. Use tongs or a pasta server to scoop out noodles and place on baking sheet in 4-5 rounded shapes, dividing evenly. Adjust noodles so that most of the ends are pushed into the circles (not only does it help the shape, but loose ends burn easier).
- Place in oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until browned on the outside of the noodle circles, rotating the pan at the halfway mark.
Make the stir-fry:
- Meanwhile, heat a wok or heavy skillet over high heat, add 1 tablespoon peanut oil and 1 minced garlic clove, let it warm, and then add the seafood/meat. Stir-fry until cooked through and opaque - about 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness (shrimp will be done when it turns pink). Remove to a clean plate.
- Heat another tablespoon of peanut oil and add onion; stir-fry 1 minute before adding remaining garlic and ginger. Add the next hardest vegetable (broccoli in this case, but could be carrots, cauliflower, etc.) and cook another minute. Add red pepper and mushrooms (or other vegetable that needs only light cooking: cabbage, pak choi, snow peas...) and cook another couple minutes until everything looks bright and crisp-tender.
- Working quickly, add the cooked meat/seafood back to the pan, give the sauce a stir and then pour it over the contents of the pan. Stir well over the heat to incorporate everything together and thicken the sauce, leaving the stir-fry nicely coated. Remove from heat.
- Place a noodle pillow on each plate and top with an even portion of the stir-fry. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top and serve - preferably with extra Sriracha sauce, if you're anything like us!
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