If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. That’s what my mom always told me. Maybe you’ve heard the same from your mom. Over the past week, as I’ve been confronted by some ugly aspects of my own personality and the food blog world, I’ve gone quiet. Insecurities and income instability have me questioning my every move.
I was struggling to find words worth sharing this morning when my phone beeped at me. “Pool day?” it asked. Those two little words reminded me that I have some sweet friends and the freedom to take off work for an afternoon. All is not lost!
I’ve already enjoyed stir-fry leftovers for breakfast today. This dish is a relatively quick weeknight meal that features a healthy dose of kale and some of my favorite Thai flavors.
Feel free to throw in any thinly sliced vegetables that you might have in the fridge, too. Red bell pepper is lovely, as are chopped Brussels sprouts. I bet thinly sliced carrots would be great, too. I actually intended to include bell pepper in the final photos like you see in the prep photos, but my second store-bought bell pepper was moldy on the inside. That’s probably what I deserve for buying an out-of-season pepper from who-knows-where. Guilty as charged.
I found the base recipe for this stir fry in an awesome new cookbook that recently landed on my doorstep, courtesy of a PR rep. It is appropriately titled, Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables.
Brassicas are the cruciferous family of vegetables that include kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and other less trendy ingredients, like bok choy and turnips. Did you know that arugula is a brassica? That was news to me. Brassicas help prevent cancer, reduce inflammation and promote liver detoxification, so needless to say, they are a worthy (and delicious!) addition to your plate.
The book’s original recipe for spicy kale fried rice was really tasty, but I couldn’t help adding some complementary flavors. While I was savoring my first test run, I remembered how great lime and cilantro go with kale in my burritos. Then I recalled Heidi Swanson’s amazing kale and coconut flake salad. I added all of the above to my second try and loved it even more.
I thought scrambled eggs might be too weird to include with the coconut flakes, but eggs and coconut make a marvelous pair. The big, toasted coconut flakes are savory and remind me of bacon. We all know that bacon and eggs belong together, so today, I present to you a healthier, vegetarian option. You could take this dish a step further and throw in coconut bacon at the end of cooking, but I just incorporated the coconut flakes into the cooking process. Hope you’ll take my word for it and try it!
Spicy Kale and Coconut Stir Fry
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 10 mins
- Yield: 2
- Category: Main
- Cuisine: Thai
A vegetarian weeknight stir fry with sautéed kale, coconut flakes and rice. The dish is finished with Thai flavors like lime, cilantro and sriracha. For best results, cook your rice in advance and refrigerate until you’re ready to start cooking (see note). This dish comes together very quickly—be sure to have your ingredients prepped ahead of time and placed near the stove, along with a big empty bowl for the cooked components. Recipe yields 2 servings.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or quality vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, beaten with a dash of salt
- 2 big cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ¾ cup chopped green onions (about ½ bunch)
- Optional: 1 cup thinly sliced vegetables, like bell pepper, carrot or Brussels sprouts
- 1 medium bunch kale (preferably Lacinato but curly green is good, too), ribs removed and leaves finely shredded
- ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- ¾ cup large, unsweetened coconut flakes* (not shredded coconut)
- 2 cups cooked and chilled brown rice**
- 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or sriracha
- 1 lime, halved
- Handful fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Heat a large (12-inch or wider) wok, cast iron skillet or non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles on contact, add 1 teaspoon oil. Pour in the eggs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggs are scrambled and lightly set. Transfer the eggs to your empty bowl. Wipe out the pan if necessary with a paper towel (be careful, it’s hot!).
- Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and add the garlic, green onions and optional additional vegetables. Cook until fragrant or until the vegetables are tender, stirring frequently, for 30 seconds or longer. Add the kale and salt. Continue to cook until the kale is wilted and tender, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Transfer the contents of the pan to your bowl of eggs.
- Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan. Pour in the coconut flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the flakes are lightly golden. Add the rice to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is hot, about 3 minutes.
- Pour the contents of the bowl back into the pan. Add the tamari, chili garlic sauce and juice of ½ lime. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Slice the remaining ½ lime into wedges, then divide the stir-fry into individual bowls. Garnish with wedges of lime and a sprinkling of torn cilantro leaves, with jars of tamari, chili garlic sauce and/or red pepper flakes on the side, for those who might want more.
Recipe adapted from Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables by Laura Russell.
*Where to buy coconut flakes: Look for them in the baking section at Whole Foods, health food stores or well-stocked grocery stores. The brands I see most often are “Let’s Do Organic” (green package) and Bob’s Red Mill.
**Rice notes: Stir fries always work best with chilled rice. You’ll need to cook about ⅔ cup dried rice to yield 2 cups cooked. If you’re in a hurry, spread the cooked rice on a rimmed baking sheet and place it in the fridge or freezer to cool.
Make it vegan/egg free: Skip the eggs by heating the pan and then start cooking with step 2.
Make it gluten free: Make sure to use a gluten-free soy sauce, like tamari.
Storage suggestions: The dish tastes great the next day, whether reheated or served at room temperature.