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Easy Sweet and Sour Broccoli

Vibrant fresh veggies, stir-fried until tender-crisp, tossed in a translucent red-brown sauce, and finished with golden roasted peanuts–this Sweet and Sour Broccoli stir-fry takes less time to cook than a pot of rice. Quick and easy, chop, prep and quick-sauté, you’ll be dishing in 15 minutes after you begin cutting the broccoli and peppers!

Easy Sweet and Sour Broccoli with Peanuts on rectangular platter with spoon

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We’re not in much of a broccoli habit around here. We eat plenty of its relatives, like cabbage, kale, and collard greens, but broccoli, not so much. Is that true for you? If there’s a veggie and dip platter in front of you—do you go for the carrot stick or the raw broccoli flower?

Oh, go ahead and choose the raw carrot stick—you likely agree that broccoli is better served cooked. But not overcooked! The trick with broccoli is to barely cook it—Do NOT overcook broccoli–you want it to still have some crunch! We’re talking 3 to 5 minutes to perfection.

Easy sweet and sour broccoli is very good way to change a not-broccoli habit. When you quickly stir-fry broccoli, and sauce it all sweet and sour, ginger and garlicky delicious, this green vegetable becomes easy to love.

About the sauce. Salty-caramel tamari, apple and tomato juices, cider vinegar, and nutty dark toasted sesame oil–such a beautiful delicious marriage. With a bit of arrowroot or cornstarch, the sauce quickly thickens into a silky sweet and sour glaze. This is a go-to sauce, not just for broccoli, but for all kinds of stir-fried veggies.

broccoli, red pepper and ginger for Easy Sweet and Sour Broccoli with Peanuts

You probably already know that broccoli is one of the world’s healthiest foods. Sweet red peppers also pack nutritional punch, and the chopped roasted peanuts sprinkled on top–fantastically beneficial. Easy sweet and sour broccoli is a wholesome habit. If you don’t have a broccoli habit, this recipe will change that. It did here at Casa Flatt.

Kitchen notes for Easy Sweet and Sour Broccoli with Peanuts:

  • For best flavor, choose organic broccoli–in my experience organic broccoli tastes less grassy, less bitter.
  • I found raw blanched shelled peanuts in the grocery store bulk bin. (Here’s an Amazon link.) Roast shelled raw peanuts at 300°F. until golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. If you can only find salted peanuts, rinse off the salt and set them aside to dry on a baking sheet.
  • Peanut allergy? Substitute cashew nuts.
  • Arrowroot is a starch-like white powder ground from root tubers of the tropical arrowroot plant. It’s completely neutral in taste and translucent clear when cooked–an excellent sauce thickener. It’s a teensy more nutritious than cornstarch and is often used in gluten-free flour blends.

Easy Sweet and Sour Broccoli with Very Brown Rice, plated closeup

  • Increase the protein in your vegetarian stir-fry meals; serve with Lentil Very Brown Rice.
  • I like this particular broccoli habit because I get to use my even-heating carbon steel wok–perfect stir-fries. Carbon steel woks are not very expensive and will last a lifetime.

Are you a broccoli lover or avoider?

Here’s another broccoli recipe to try–Barley Pilaf with Leeks and Walnuts.

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5 from 1 vote
Easy Sweet and Sour Broccoli with Peanuts
Easy Sweet and Sour Broccoli with Peanuts
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Silky sweet and sour sauce glazing perfectly tender-crisp veggies—awesome! Let this sauce become your go-to dress-up for every stir-fry, not just broccoli. Makes about 6 servings.

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: broccoli, sweet and sour, stir fry
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 246 kcal
Author: Letty Flatt | Letty's Kitchen
Ingredients
  • 1 (1-inch) chunk fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ pound head of broccoli, florets and stalks separated
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup unsalted peanuts, lightly toasted and chopped (see note)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped canned tomatoes or tomato juice
  • ¼ cup tamari soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch (see note)
Instructions
  1. Cut broccoli head into small florets, about 1 ½-inch. Trim and peel the tough outer layer of skin from the broccoli stalks. Slice stalks into ¼ to ½-inch batons.
  2. Slice red pepper into strips.
  3. Mix tamari, maple syrup, vinegar, and apple juice with the arrowroot. Set aside.

  4. Heat oil in a wok or large wide skillet over high flame.
  5. Add ginger and garlic and stir about 15 seconds.
  6. Add broccoli and red pepper; toss and stir until coated with oil. Add water and tomato, continuing to toss/stir until broccoli is tender-firm, about 3 minutes.
  7. Add tamari arrowroot mixture and cook, stirring, until sauce thickens, about 1 minute.
  8. Transfer to serving platter or bowl. Sprinkle with the toasted peanuts. Serve immediately, with steamed basmati brown rice or Lentil Very Brown Rice.
Recipe Notes
  • Toast shelled raw peanuts at 300°F. until just golden, about 10 minutes.
  • If you can only find salted peanuts, rinse off the salt and set them aside to dry on a baking sheet.
  • Peanut allergy? Substitute cashew nuts.
  • Arrowroot is starch-like white powder ground from root tubers of the tropical arrowroot plant. It’s completely neutral in taste and translucent clear when cooked and is an excellent sauce thickener.

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2 comments

  • I always wondered what the real difference was between cornstarch and arrowroot, which I keep around because I prefer it when making fruit desserts. I’m not sure what it is about broccoli that makes it so ideal for a sweet and sour treatment. I love your recipe flavorings of the maple syrup and apple cider vinegar/juice, and I think my kids will, too.

    When I’m not making broccoli for my kids, I love to roast it to the edge of a char with olive oil and serve it with chopped preserved lemon or olives. Reply · 16 March, 2016

    • Thanks Lynne. I too prefer arrowroot with fruit desserts–it doesn’t cloud like cornstarch. I have a quart jar of preserved lemons and will be serving roasted broccoli with the chopped jewels next time I buy broccoli. Thanks for the idea! Reply · 16 March, 2016

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