Smart people practise healthy living, and all the scientific research shows that eating lots of vegetables is a simple but vital way to boost your wellbeing. Vegetarian recipes don’t have to be complicated, and the excuse that they take too much time out of busy schedules just doesn’t wash. For a super-fast, ultra-delicious and all-round perfect meat-free meal, you can ’t go wrong with a stir fry that will take you hardly any time at all.

For a classic stir fry a wok is the ideal piece of kitchen equipment – and it’s a great thing for all sorts of other recipes. But you can stir fry in other pans, as long as you can get them hot enough. For stir frying a gas stove that gives high instant heat is best. The great thing about a wok is that you can cook yourself up a storm in a matter of minutes. That means that you’ll save on fuel costs, unlike meals that need long, slow oven cooking.

One of the great things about stir frying is that you can use delicious vegetarian recipes to whip up fantastic meals with the great flavour that all frying gives to food, and you can keep the crunch too. Fast cooking at a high heat also means that you’ll retain most of the nutrients that are lost by being boiled or even microwaved.

All sorts of vegetables are suitable for stir-frying. They’ll taste great just with a bit of seasoning and a splash of soy sauce, but they can also be the base for creating a little culinary sensation. Great vegetables for stir frying include onions and garlic, red and green peppers, and crispy green or red cabbage. For that oriental stir-fry feel, supplement them with traditional eastern ingredients. Water chestnuts stay wonderfully crunchy and have a delicate flavor. Bean sprouts are another classic ingredient for stir fries, and they’re absolutely simplicity itself to grow yourself in a jar in your kitchen.

For extra flavor, the secret is in the oil and the sauce. Oils need a high smoke point for high heat frying. Flavored oils will add a distinctive flavor. Peanut oil is traditional in Chinese cuisine. A few drops of sesame oil will add a fabulous nutty flavor, but it’s too strong to use alone. But the finishing touch to a delicious stir fry is the sauce – and here the choice is huge.

Check out the commercially available stir fry sauces. You can give your stir fry exotic magic with all sorts of flavors. Think Chinese: hoisin, plum, black bean, sweet and sour or spicy Szechuan. Think Japanese teriyaki. Think Thai curry flavor or peanut satay sauce. From rich tomato sauces to fresh lemongrass, basil and ginger, the humblest vegetables go from good to fabulous.

Once you’ve found your favorite flavors, most sauces are easy to make yourself from scratch. It’s a great way to use up almost any vegetables, even frozen ones. For healthy living that saves time and energy, stir frying is an all-round winner. Not only do stir fries taste amazing, you’ll also have only one pot to wash up.

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