The key to churning out meatless meals that actually taste good is having a few ingredients on hand that can immediately boost your recipes, like this vegan stir-fry paste. Blend a bunch of aromatic ingredients, including garlic, Thai basil, and lemongrass; freeze into cubes; and then add one or two to the pan the next time you’re making dinner. Instead of fish sauce, ubiquitous in a lot of Southeast Asian cuisine, this recipe uses Golden Mountain seasoning sauce, a savory vegan alternative. The end result? A complex stir-fry base that gets dinner started in seconds.

Vegan Stir-Fry Paste

(Makes 20 cubes)

Recipe Notes: Add to soups, noodles, stir-fries, and rice dishes for a quick boost of deep, fresh flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup garlic cloves, root ends removed
  • 1/4 cup sliced lemongrass
  • 1/2 jalapeño, sliced
  • 4 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup Thai basil, packed
  • 2-inch knob ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Golden Mountain seasoning sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons of a neutral, high-heat oil, like light olive oil or canola oil

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients except oil to the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Pulse until ingredients are uniformly chopped. Then, with the blade running, drizzle in oil until the mixture is a loose paste in texture.
  3. Spoon the stir-fry paste into an ice cube tray. Cover and freeze until solid.
  4. Transfer cubes to an air-tight container or zip-top bag. Store in the freezer, and use within 6 months.

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(Recipe and photos via Justina Huddleston/Brit + Co)