Get Baked: Deceptively Impressive Vegetable Stir Fry

This is the type of vegetable stir fry that looks (and tastes) much more impressive than it actually is. In other words: this is the best kind of stir fry.

The original recipe called for green beans, which is why they're in this photo, but they tasted weird with everything else, so they're not actually in this recipe.

The Type of Vegetable Stir Fry that Looks (and Tastes) Much More Impressive Than it Actually Is


1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp chill oil, or to taste (optional)
2 smallish onions, sliced into thin wedges
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, sliced lengthwise into long pieces
2 zucchini, cut in half and then sliced lengthwise into long pieces
2 cups smallish broccoli florets
2 cups snow peas, trimmed
1 3/4 Tbsp oyster sauce
1/4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves (or a sprinkle of the dried stuff, but really, it’s spring, get thee to the produce section)
1/4 cup roasted unsalted cashews
udon noodles (optional)


1. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the oil(s), onions, five-spice powder, and garlic, and cook for two minutes or until the onions start to soften. If you do not currently own five-spice powder, go get some immediately, because it is delicious and useful and you are Missing Out. (Maybe turn the stove off first. While you’re out, get some more oyster sauce for later. You can substitute it entirely with soy sauce, but it’s better if you don’t.)

2. Add the broccoli. When it starts to feel tender, add the pepper, zucchini, and snow peas. Stir-fry for about five minutes, until tender. If you want to add some sort of noodle situation, now’s the time.

3. Remove from heat and toss with the oyster sauce and basil. If you don’t expect leftovers, sprinkle the cashews over everything and serve. If you do expect leftovers, sprinkle the cashews over your individual plate — the sauce will make them mushy by lunch the next day. Serve.

Adapted from Donna Hay’s salads + vegetables.

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Ryan Yates

Ryan Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, The Daily Beast, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Ryan has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Ah, Donna Hay. I think she’s like Australia’s Jamie Oliver.

    This looks awesome. I’m just popping in to say that veg*ns can get oyster sauce made from mushrooms if that is a concern for anyone.

    • also oysters are not actually sentient, they’re basically boogers. I read somewhere that they are Actually Legit Vegan Food.

    • I think ** is a bit strange, but I kind of see where she’s coming from. As an Asian-Australian, I always find it really weird when ‘Asian’ food is lauded as new and unusual. The ‘type of stirfry that looks and tastes better than it actually is’ kind of quietly reminds me that the implied audiences is white. I don’t need to have stir frys made accessible to me, as stirfrys, for me, are pretty neutral and generally all taste good, unless you have a rubbish recipe. (For the record, this one also looks pretty inoffensive and rather tasty. I have no issue with the recipe itself; only the writing.)

      And yes, there is a lot more appropriation of culture out there and stirfrys are hardly the worst of it, but I think it’s important to pay attention to the little things — like the words surrounding the appropriation — as well as the big stuff, because the little things make up my experience as a lesbian of colour. My whole life has been full of people telling me that my food is Different (Different and Weird; Different and Awesome… still Different, though).

  2. Chinese 5-Spice is the bomb. That is all I have to say about this recipe, except green beans, ew.

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