Broccoli, Green Bean and Lettuce Stir-Fry with Soy-Tahini Sauce
Have you ever eaten cooked lettuce? Stir-fried lettuce is surprisingly delicious, the leaves melt into silky pools, the ribs and stems turning warm and tender like bok choy . I had broccoli, green beans, and red leaf lettuce in the fridge and they turned out to be an excellent combination for a stir-fry. The broccoli got charred and caramelized, the green beans stayed green and crunchy, and the lettuce collapsed a bit for a nice contrast of textures. I drizzled a soy-tahini sauce on top, which ended up being a perfect way to use up the remainder of a jar of tahini.
The Rough Recipe
This feeds 2 people, roughly, and takes about 20 minutes.
For the stir-fry:
- A wok or large skillet, with a lid that (mostly) fits on top
- Neutral oil
- 1 cup or so of broccoli (stems peeled and sliced thinly), cut in bite-size pieces
- 1 cup or so of beans, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup or so of lettuce, or another leafy green
- Liquid of choice - water is easy; I used a splash of soy sauce, or you could use Veggie Stock).
For the soy-tahini sauce:
- A few tablespoons of tahini sauce (this is the perfect use for the almost-end of the jar), and also works perfectly with peanut butter
- A few tablespoons of soy sauce
- A splash of rice vinegar or another neutral vinegar
- A splash of sesame oil
- Water, to taste
To make the stir-fry, prep your veggies into bite-sized pieces and have them ready by the stove. Generously coat the surface of your pan with oil and heat over medium high-heat until shimmering. Add the longer-cooking veggies like broccoli and let them dry-fry in the oil for few minutes. Dry-frying is a Chinese technique that's basically frying without sauce. Wait until the broccoli has a bit of char, then add the green beans and stir-fry for a minute or two. Once the green beans turn bright green, add a splash of liquid and quickly (and carefully) cover the pan. The liquid hitting the oil creates steam, which gets trapped by the lid, and helps cooks the vegetables. Remove the lid after two minutes or so, as the steam dies down, and then add the lettuce and toss to combine. Turn off the heat and let the lettuce wilt, then transfer to a serving bowl.
To make the sauce, mix all the ingredients except the water (I never measure them), then taste. If it's super strong or too thick, add some water. If you want it saltier, add more soy sauce. If it's too thin, add more tahini or peanut butter (if you only have a bit left in the jar, add less of all the ingredients). Adjust to taste!
Drizzle on the sauce or another sauce of choice (a splash of soy sauce and sesame oil is also a very easy option), toss to coat, and eat!
P.S. After taking the above photo, I sat down next to a bag of tortilla chips. Crunch is always good to add texture to dishes, so I crumbled some on top. In case you're wondering, it was excellent.