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.

curried quinoa and asparagus salad

curried quinoa and asparagus salad | theclevercarrot.com

I am on a mission.

When my kitchen is stocked with food, I can never think of what to make.

But when my kitchen is completely empty that’s when I come up with the best meals.

For the next couple of days, my mission is to make as much as I can from scratch using only what I have in the house.

No food shopping. No special ingredients. No take out.

curried quinoa and asparagus salad | theclevercarrot.com

So, I made a quinoa and asparagus salad.

Do you know how I feel about quinoa? I’ll put it in pretty much anything.

In the beginning of the week, I like to make a big batch in the morning and use it quick meals. It’s great to have on hand for salads and side dishes.

curried quinoa and asparagus salad | theclevercarrot.comcurried quinoa and asparagus salad | theclevercarrot.com

For the salad, I tossed some precooked quinoa with chickpeas and dried cranberries from the pantry.

From the fridge, I added carrots, cilantro, and asparagus. And then from the freezer, I used frozen ginger as a base for my curry vinaigrette.

I wasn’t sure where I was going with this, but once I started it was hard to stop!

And it was good.

curried quinoa and asparagus salad | theclevercarrot.com

My little off-the-cuff creation was a surprisingly delicious.

From my rations, I fed the 2 of us, gave some to my parents, and even had leftovers (my kids wouldn’t go near it). It’s great as a main salad or served on the side with fish or chicken. And the best part- I saved myself a couple of bucks and a trip to the grocery store!

Tips:

*For this dish, you can either buy shredded carrots or julienne them yourself. I use this quick & efficient hand-held julienne peeler. It makes life so much easier!

curried quinoa + asparagus salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
For the salad
  • 1 c. tri-colored quinoa, uncooked*
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1'' pieces on a diagonal
  • 1x 14 oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, roughly chopped
  • handful of dried cranberries
  • 1 diced apple (optional)
  • salt & pepper
Ginger curry vinaigrette
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 heaped tsp. madras curry powder
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • ½ inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • ½ clove of garlic
  • ½ c. olive oil
* Substitute with any color quinoa for this dish.
Instructions
  1. Make the quinoa: In a large pot, cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. When it's finished, spread out onto a rimmed baking sheet. Cool to room temperature. You can even pop it in the fridge if you're impatient!
  2. Make the vinaigrette: In a blender (or food processor), blitz the first 6 vinaigrette ingredients. Slowly stream in the olive oil to emulsify. Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and extra curry powder is desired. Set aside.
  3. Make the asparagus: In a large saute pan, add a splash of olive oil and warm over moderate heat. Add the chopped asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and saute until crisp tender. The time will depend on the size. It's best to slightly under cook the asparagus as they will continue to cook once removed from the heat.
  4. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, add the cooled quinoa, warm asparagus, chickpeas, and julienned carrots. Add the chopped cilantro, cranberries and apples (if using). Drizzle a little ginger curry vinaigrette over the salad and toss well.
  5. Serve the salad at room temperature with extra vinaigrette on the side.