beef stir-fry with peppers + pea shoots

beef stir-fry with peppers + pea shoots | The Clever Carrot

My kids go through these unpredictable phases…

Sometimes it’s sleeping through the night, usually it’s not sleeping at all, and as of late it’s ‘borrowing’ things from the grocery store. Nothing stands a chance. All kinds of random things get stuffed into my bag, forcing me to keep a watchful eye on my little clepto’s. Yesterday, we made it home with an orange bell pepper (what? no fair trade dark chocolate bar with almonds + sea salt?!) and as you can see, it ended up in our dinner.

Hey, at least it wasn’t green.

beef stir-fry with peppers + pea shoots | The Clever Carrot

Keeping things neat and organized is definitely not my forte when making stir-fry’s. Ingredients are splayed out all over the place, and every Asian-stlye condiment known to man wants to join the party. It’s like a scene from Fruit Ninja.

So now, I have rules:

  • 3 ingredient minimum, usually 1 protein + 1-2 veggies.
  • Everything is prepped and ready to go before I start cooking.
  • Stir-fry sauce is made in advance and kept it in the fridge.
  • A ‘garbage’ bowl is kept nearby to collect the scraps.
  • Stir-fry in small batches to prevent the dish from becoming soggy.

Oh, and it is absolutely delicious over quinoa instead of rice.

beef stir-fry with peppers + pea shoots | The Clever Carrotpea shoots | The Clever Carrot

I’ve been re-kindling my love for pea shoots lately, and I have to say that they make an excellent addition. So light and fresh. Also, the mighty cast iron pan is used in lieu of a wok (don’t have one, or the space for it) with great results. The intense heat chars the the ingredients adding a nice smoky flavor. If you have one, I highly recommend giving it a try.

And now my friends, dinner is served.

beef stir-fry with peppers + pea shoots | The Clever Carrot

Tips:

  • For this recipe, I like to use top sirloin (not regular sirloin). You could also substitute with flank steak, however I find that it’s not quite as tender. For best results, thinly slice the flank steak against the grain and marinate the meat in half of the stir-fry sauce, about 10-15 minutes. You will need to double the sauce (recipe below).
  • To thinly slice the meat, a great trick is to pop it in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes, and then slice it with a sharp knife. You will have more control over your portion sizes this way. Let the meat rest before cooking to take the chill off.

beef stir-fry with peppers + pea shoots
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Stir-fry sauce
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • ¼ c. beef stock
  • 1 heaped tsp. cornstarch
Meat + veggies
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. top sirloin, cut into thin ¼" slices*
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled + grated
  • 1 c. chopped snow peas
  • 1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
Garnish
  • pea shoots
* I like to use top sirloin (not regular sirloin). You could also substitute with flank steak, however I find that it's not quite as tender. For best results, thinly slice the flank steak against the grain and marinate the meat in half of the stir-fry sauce, about 10-15 minutes. You will need to double the sauce (recipe below).
** Grate the garlic + ginger using a microplane.
Instructions
  1. In an empty jam jar, add all of the stir-fry sauce ingredients and shake well until the honey is dissolved. You can also whisk everything together in a small bowl.
  2. Warm the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron skillet (or saute pan).
  3. Using tongs, add a portion of the meat to the pan and give it a quick sear, about 1-2 minutes. Do not over crowd the skillet. Remove the meat and transfer to a plate. Continue to cook in small batches to prevent the dish from becoming soggy.
  4. To the pan, add a little bit more olive oil and the grated garlic and ginger. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the snow peas and saute until crisp tender. Remove from the pan.
  6. Add the bell pepper and saute until soft. Remove from the pan.
  7. Add the stir-fry sauce and bring to a quick boil to thicken.
  8. Add the meat + veggies back to the pan and stir to warm through.
  9. Garnish with pea shoots right before serving.
  10. Serve over quinoa or rice.

whole wheat pasta salad with feta + pea shoots

whole wheat pasta salad with feta + pea shoots | The Clever Carrot

Welcome back Spring! We really missed you.

Today was the nicest day we’ve had in a long time. The weather was warm and the sun was shining. I fantasized about trading spots with Nala (my incredibly fat cat) who was basking away in the sun like a diva. Not a worry in the world…

Instead, I spent my morning chasing around 2 little boys who have not played outside since November. It was a beautiful thing. Even better, the lovely weather stayed with us through Easter weekend.

The Clever Carroteaster eggs | The Clever Carrot

When we came inside, we made pasta and peas for lunch. That’s Dillon’s favorite. I fed the boys, and then turned the rest into a make-shift pasta salad. Have you ever tried pea shoots before? I had them once in a pasta salad and I’ll never forget it. They add this unexpected crunch making everything taste light and refreshing, kind of like Spring.

Now, I’m no stranger to this dish. I usually make it when we have BBQ’s because it’s a great crowd pleaser and you can make it in advance (only add the pea shoots right before serving!) It’s one of those salads that get better as it sits. Oh, it’s great with handfuls of parmesan cheese too. I forgot to add some this time around!

pea shoots | The Clever Carrotwhole wheat pasta salad with feta + pea shoots | The Clever Carrot

As I sit here writing this, I’m sure that Spring and all of its glory will be blasted by another foot of snow. Mother Nature likes to play tricks on us. But for now, I’m enjoying the change of pace, new seasonal ingredients, and taking the time to soak it all in (you go girl, Nala!)

* Gluten-free? Try substituting with corn or quinoa pasta for a delicious nutty flavor.

whole wheat pasta salad with feta + pea shoots
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. whole wheat pasta
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 c. peas, fresh or frozen
  • 2 handfuls of pea shoots, trimmed
  • ¾ c. crumbled feta
  • parmesan cheese, to taste (optional)
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. About 2 minutes before it's ready, add the peas. Drain the pasta and spread out evenly onto to a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil (so that it does not stick) and cool to room temperature.
  2. In a large saute pan, warm 1 tbsp. of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the grape tomatoes (whole). Using a microplane, grate in the garlic. Saute until the tomatoes are slightly blistered and begin to release their juice.
  3. For the pea shoots, trim the stems about ½" and discard. Set the rest aside.
  4. In a large bowl, add the cooled pasta, peas, tomatoes (including any pan juices) pea shoots, and feta. Add the juice of ½ a lemon and drizzle with extra olive oil to coat. Add parmesan cheese (if using) and toss gently to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice if necessary.
  5. Serve at room temperature.