Anyone who enjoys a good stir-fry knows there’s something about cooking in a wok that just can’t compare to a regular old pan.
“Woks are a great kitchen tool for making fast and flavorful meals,” says Mia Syn, RD. “Using a wok results in tender-crisp vegetables, which allow them to retain more nutrients than if they were boiled.” So in case you needed yet another reason to invest in a wok (if you don’t already have one), there you go.
It’s also a total myth that woks require you to use a ton of oil. “Keep in mind that we do need a good amount of fat in our diets and many oils provide heart healthy fats,” says Maxine Yeung, RD. “But if you’re worried about the amount of oil in a recipe, [you can] always think about using less.”
Yeung also suggests using a high smoke point oil, like avocado oil, to cook with, as opposed to refined oils like canola. If you cook with an oil that’s been heated past its smoke point, you can destroy the food’s beneficial nutrients. Cooking with oils with a higher smoke point can prevent this.
Aside from prepping super tasty meals, Syn also says that woks are designed to help cook food faster, thanks to their high sloping walls that allow you to easily move food around without spilling it out. “Constantly stirring food helps it cook faster because it brings new surfaces of food into contact with the hot parts of the pan while also releasing steam, both of which speed up the cooking process.” A quick and tasty meal? That’s a win-win.
Ready to eat? The base of any wok meal is pretty simple. Grab your fave protein, like shrimp or chicken, add some veggies, and you’re good. But if you want to get a little fancier here’s a list of delicious wok recipes you’ll need to make ASAP.
1 Egg roll in a bowl
Egg rolls are delicious, but if you want to avoid the deep fried flour skin, try this meal. Salty soy sauce, strips of fresh veggies, and fresh garlic and ginger give this dish a crunch and flavor you won’t be able to get enough of.
Per serving: 281 calories, 15 g fat (4 g saturated), 13 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 3 g fiber, 27 g protein
A classic Korean dish of stir fried glass noodles, japchae is as healthy as it is delicious. This recipe uses beef, carrots, mushrooms, and sesame seeds for fiber, protein, and vitamins.
Per serving: 509 calories, 4 g fat (3 g saturated), 82 g carbs, 10 g sugar, 1226 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 12 g protein
3 Chinese Braised Chicken With Mushrooms
This recipe is super simple, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly tasty—the braised mushrooms caramelize together for a sticky meal you won’t be able to stop eating, while the chicken adds in the protein.
Per serving: 285 calories, 19 g fat (4 g saturated), 8 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 480 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 16 g protein
4 Tofu Stir Fry
Who needs Chinese takeout when you can make this healthy option right at home in less than 20 minutes? Consisting of melty tofu and an assortment of rainbow veggies, it’s perfect for the vegans at your table.
Per serving: 133 calories, 4.3 g fat (0.9 g saturated), 15 g carbs, 8.2 g sugar, 1144 mg sodium, 2.8 g fiber, 11.3 g protein
5 Zucchini Mushroom Chicken
This low-carb, veggie-filled dish will give you the most tender pieces of chicken you’ve ever tasted, while the zucchini soaks in the sauce like a pro. Add some rice and greens to create a complete meal.
Per serving: 265 calories, 14 g fat (7 g saturated), 8 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 1583 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 28 g protein
6 Mirin and Maple Tempeh Stir Fry
The unique mirin and maple glaze gives this dish a sweet-salty flavor you won’t be able to get enough of. The recipe also uses maple syrup, instead of the sugar that most stir fries usually have, which results in a yummy meal sans the sugar crash.
Per serving: 323 calories, 9.2 g fat (1.6 g saturated), 43 g carbs, 27.5 g sugar, 884.4 mg sodium, 8.7 g fiber, 16.6 g protein
7 Easy Chow Fun
Hello, umami! This easy chow fun recipe includes fresh vegetables, chewy noodles, and a tangy sauce filled with vegetable broth, oyster sauce, garlic, and ginger. You can also add your protein of choice—such as shrimp, chicken, or tofu—to make it more filling.
Per serving: 517 calories, 14.6 g fat (11.3 g saturated), 85 g carbs, 8.5 g sugar, 914.9 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 10.7 g protein
8 The Garlic Diaries
Don’t think being on a paleo or Whole30 diet means you have to give up your favorite stir-fry. This dish uses arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch to make it more paleo-compliant, while the rich sauce containing coconut aminos and sesame oil adds a touch of spice.
Per serving: 416 calories, 18 g fat, 22 g carbs, 7 g sugar, 544 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 42 g protein
9 Kimchi Fried Rice
This delicious recipe uses bold kimchi—a.k.a. probiotics galore!—to give you a tangy dish full of flavor and nutrients. The fermented veggies are rich with good bacteria that’ll keep both your gut and tummy happy.
Per serving: 289 calories, 8 g fat (0 g saturated), 46 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 2 g fiber, 6 g protein
10 Fried Rice With Shiitakes and Asparagus
An easy vegan spin on egg fried rice, this dish is filled with crunchy veggies and can be recreated using any leftover grains you have. (Yes, even quinoa.)
Per serving: 289 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated), 53 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 819 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 9 g protein
11 Pad See Ew
Chinese broccoli is the star of the show in this delicious noodle dish, which is a Thai street food delicacy. The dark soy adds a strong flavor, while the thick, flat noodles are chewy and yummy.
Per serving: 510 calories, 13.2 g fat (2 g saturated), 73.4 g carbs, 2.9 g sugar, 406 mg sodium, 1.6 g fiber, 25.1 g protein
12 Beef Tenderloin and Vegetable Stir Fry
The winner in this tenderloin recipe? The marinade. Since the recipe calls for coating the beef overnight in a unique mix of hoisin sauce and Chinese cooking wine, the result is a tender dish packed with protein, iron, and vitamins. An easy weeknight dinner if there ever was one.
Per serving: 358 calories, 9.9 g fat, 14.2 g carbs, 4.6 g sugar, 1534 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 51.9 g protein
13 Healthy Pad Thai
Guess what? Homemade pad thai tastes even better than takeout. This dish uses monk fruit sweetener, fish sauce, and tamarind paste for a low-sugar option that still has all the flavors you need—think sweet, salty, and sour.
Per serving: 443 calories, 11 g fat, 57 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 27 g protein
14 Pork Stir Fry With Sugar Snap Peas
This simple pork stir fry recipe provides a fun twist on tradition, using honey and serrano chilis for a mouth-watering mix of sweet and spicy. Feel free to substitute the veggies for anything you may have left to use up in the fridge.
Per serving: 506 calories, 25 g fat (6 g saturated), 31 g carbs, 17 g sugar, 799 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 42 g protein
15 Lotus Root Stir Fry
Okay, it may seem strange, but lotus root is actually chock full of nutrients, including fiber and vitamin C. This cool recipe uses mushrooms, scallions, and red bell peppers to up the nutrition ante, while the oyster sauce and white wine vinegar stimulate your taste buds.
Per serving: 161 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 21 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 416 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 4 g protein