As soon as summer vegetables are abundant I love to make this Garlic Lover’s Vegetable Stir Fry with eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash! See tips in the recipe for making this recipe a bit lower in carbs, or for other vegetables you can use.
Are you a fan of garlic and stir-fry cooking? This simple Garlic Lover’s Vegetable Stir-Fry is a recipe I’ve been making for years, and even if you don’t have a wok, stir frying is a simple way to turn out great-tasting vegetables from very few ingredients.
This summer vegetable stir-fry recipe was originally inspired by the last few vegetables I picked from my garden, and when I had a big vegetable garden I used to make this every simmer as soon as I had a surplus of vegetables to be used. Now I buy veggies from the Farmers Market to make this, or sometimes I get garden produce from friends or family members.
I used a combination of eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash, but you can easily make this with just one of those ingredients. And if it’s not garden season, see below about how to vary the recipe to use other vegetables so this can be a tasty way to make a vegetable side dish any time of year!
What ingredients do you need?
(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
Use the Principles of Chinese Cooking for this Vegetable Stir Fry:
I learned how to stir-fry years ago by taking a Chinese Cooking class taught by a visiting professor from China, and once you master the basic technique, you can get good results with many different combinations of ingredients. In the Chinese Cooking class I learned these Five Principles of Chinese Cooking that have helped me make many different stir fry dishes through the years:
- Preheat the wok or pan (before you put the oil in).
- Season the oil (with whole pieces of garlic and sometimes ginger root, which you often remove when you add the food to be cooked).
- Symmetry of cut (all pieces must be cut the same size and shape).
- Have all ingredients cut and sauces mixed before you cook.
- Use very high heat and cook fast.
The only thing that’s slightly different in this recipe is the use of minced garlic, which is left in the finished dish. I used a lot of garlic (!) but if you’re not such a garlic lover, you can use a bit less.
Can you make the vegetable stir fry with other vegetables?
If it’s not summer vegetable season you can definitely make this vegetable stir fry with other vegetables. If you use a combination that includes harder veggies (like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, or peppers) you’ll want to add those to the wok first and cook for a few minutes before you add the softer veggies. Besides the zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant, mushrooms and onions would also be delicious in this. The sauce used here will taste good on a wide variety of different vegetables!
How can you make this vegetable stir fry lower in carbs?
Oyster Sauce (affiliate link) or Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce (affiliate link) is a fairly high-carb ingredient. If you’d like to make a version of this recipe that’s lower in carbs, replace some of the oyster sauce with Soy Sauce or Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (affiliate link).
Can you make this vegetable stir fry without a wok?
I love to use a wok for my stir-fry cooking, but if you don’t want to buy a special pan you can definitely make this recipe in a large heavy frying pan!
Want more ideas for cooking zucchini?
If you have lots of garden zucchini my post with 50 Amazing Zucchini Recipes will give you good ideas for cooking them! You might also like Slow Cooker Zucchini Recipes or Instant Pot Zucchini Recipes found on my Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker site.
How to Make Garlic Lover’s Vegetable Stir Fry:
(This is only a summary of the steps for the recipe; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- These are the very last vegetables from my garden, and this is actually a tiny colander, so some of these were baby veggies, perfect for stir-frying.
- If you make this with bigger zucchini or squash, you should cut away some of the inside where the seeds are, and then cut the vegetables into strips. Starting in back, cut the zucchini into fourths lengthwise, then cut away the inner part of each strip, then cut into strips about 1/2 inch side.
- “Symmetry of cut” in Chinese Cooking means that the food should be cut into pieces that are approximately the same size and same shape so everything cooks in the same amount of time.
- I also cut the onions so they were a similar size and shape as the other ingredients.
- Before you start to cook, have all ingredients cut, have the oil, garlic, oyster sauce, and salt on the counter, and have measuring spoons ready.
- If you don’t have a wok, use the largest heavy frying pan you have. This recipe doesn’t need a lid.
- Start by heating the wok or pan for 1-2 minutes, until it’s too hot to hold your hand over it.
- Add 2 T peanut oil, let the oil heat for about 30 seconds, then add the minced garlic and sliced onion and stir fry 20 seconds, stirring the entire time.
- Then add the vegetables and salt all at once and continue to stir-fry about 4-5 minutes, stirring every 20-30 seconds.
- Cook until vegetables are just starting to soften.
- Then add Oyster Sauce and stir to coat all vegetables with sauce.
- Cook about 2 minutes more, stirring a few times. Serve hot.
More Amazing Stir-Fried Vegetables:
- 1/2 lb. zucchini (see notes)
- 1/2 lb. yellow squash (see notes)
- 1/2 lb. eggplant (see notes)
- 2 T peanut oil (see notes)
- 2 T finely minced garlic (or less)
- 1 onion, sliced top to bottom in strips about 1/2 inch wide
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3 T Oyster Sauce (see notes)
- Cut vegetables into pieces that are the same size and same shape, cutting away the inner seeds from squash and larger eggplants before you cut them into short strips about 1/2 inch wide.
- Get oil, oyster sauce, salt, and measuring spoons out and have ready on the counter near the stove.
- Put wok or frying pan on the stove and heat 1-2 minutes, until it’s too hot to hold your hand over it. (You should be able to almost see the heat shimmering up from the wok.)
- Add the oil and heat about 30 seconds.
- Then add minced garlic and sliced onion and cook 20 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Add the rest of the vegetables all at once, add salt, and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring every 20-30 seconds, or until vegetables are barely starting to soften.
- Add oyster sauce, stirring gently so all the vegetables are coated with sauce.
- Cook about 2 minutes more, stirring a few times.
- Serve hot.
Use any combination of zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant or substitute other vegetables you have on hand. Be sure all veggies are cut in same size pieces. If you substitute other veggies, harder vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower should be added to the wok first and cooked a few minutes before you add the softer veggies.
Peanut Oil (affiliate link) is ideal for stir fry cooking, but you can use any neutral flavored oil that will hold up under high temperatures. Oyster Sauce (affiliate link) is widely available, look for it by the Asian foods in any supermarket. If you need gluten-free, be sure to get Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce (affiliate link). If you want a lower-carb version, switch some of the oyster sauce for soy sauce.
Recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from Cooking from the Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America. (affiliate link)
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 123Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 519mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 2g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This Garlic Lover’s Vegetable Stir Fry is relatively low in carbs, but if you’re making this for strict low-carb eating plans you may want to use my tip of replacing some of the oyster sauce with soy sauce. The recipe would need to have some of the Oyster Sauce replaced with soy sauce for the Original South Beach Diet as well. If your store has several brands of Oyster Sauce, choose the one with the lowest amount of sugar. If you need gluten-free, be sure to get Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce. (affiliate link)
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Check out Stir-Fry Recipes for more recipes like this one! Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on TikTok, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This garlicky vegetable stir fry was first posted in 2012, when I had a big vegetable garden and lots of summer veggies to use up! Now I make it mostly with veggies from the Farmers Market. The recipe was last updated with more information in 2023.
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