Coat Your Wok In Salad Dressing For Stir-Fry Bursting In Flavor

Many of us have an abundance of salad dressings occupying our fridge doors and pantries, and despite the expansive flavors available — from sweet poppyseed to bold lime and cumin — we tend to use them on leafy greens alone. These convenient sources of flavor actually deserve a larger space in everyone's diets, and what better way to make use of them than in veggie-packed stir-fries?

The ingredients in a good stir-fry must strike the balance between being perfectly crisp and fully coated in a flavorful sauce. While classic soy-based sauces will never do you wrong, there are no rules that say you can't switch it up with something different. A stir-fry sauce and salad dressing are similar in all the ways that matter. You'll find that most salad dressings are made with three main components: oil, vinegar, and an emulsifier like mustard or honey. These add rich fat and bright, tenderizing acid to meats and veggies, and oil and sweeteners are common stir fry sauce players.

When choosing a dressing, stick to one that's thick and creamy. Vinaigrettes do pack a lot of flavor, but their watery yet oily consistency will make your dish soggy and greasy. The right way to add sauce to your stir-fry is to drizzle it around the walls of the wok, allowing it to drip down onto your cooked veggies and protein. Toss the stir-fry and dressing together and serve for a quick and delicious dinner.

What type of dressings should you use in stir-fries?

The great part about using salad dressing for stir-fries is the sheer amount of options you have. One of the best dressings for stir-fries is a ginger-flavored one. There's a reason why this spicy root always finds itself at the center of Asian dishes, beyond its nativity to the continent. It's peppery, sweet, and always gives a bold kick to a simple vegetable stir fry or adds a refreshing note to meat-heavy dishes.

Speaking of boldness, a cilantro lime dressing is exactly what you need for a standout Thai-inspired stir-fry. Lime brings a tropical flair to everything it touches, and is a ubiquitous addition to tons of Thai dishes. Rather than adding a squeeze of lime as the last step, whip up your tofu pad Thai with this zingy and herbal condiment. Although you'll still need tamarind paste or peanut butter, fish sauce, and soy sauce for that classic pad Thai taste, adding in the dressing will ensure that zesty flair is evenly distributed throughout your dish.

If a mellowed out stir-fry is what you're looking for, then try out our roasted pear dressing recipe. Although stir-fries are often associated with spicy, heady flavors, a fruity dressing adds an earthy and sweet tone that lets the main ingredients shine. Made with smoky Bosc pears and butternut squash, its fall-forward flavor enhances the nuttiness of a walnut broccoli stir-fry.