Kalyn's Kitchen

Garlic-Lover’s Vegetable Stir Fry

I made Garlic-Lover’s Vegetable Stir Fry with eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash, but make it all year with vegetables you have on hand. 

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Garlic-Lover's Vegetable Stir Fry top photo

Are you a fan of stir-fry cooking? This simple Garlic-Lover’s Vegetable Stir-Fry is one of the Top Ten Most Popular Low-Carb Zucchini Recipes on Kalyn’s Kitchen, and I’ve making it to use up garden zucchini for years now. Even if you don’t have a wok, stir frying is a simple way to turn out great-tasting vegetables from very few ingredients.

This stir-fry dish was inspired by the last few vegetables I picked from my garden. I used a combination of eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash, but you can easily make this with just one of those ingredients. And if it’s not garden season, you can vary the recipe to use other vegetables so this is a tasty way to make a vegetable side dish any time of year!

If you use a combination that includes harder veggies (like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, or even peppers) you’ll want to add those to the wok first and cook for a few minutes before you add the softer veggies like zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant. But most any kind of vegetable can be cooked this way, and the sauce used here will taste good on a wide variety of different vegetables, so please experiment!

I learned how to stir-fry years ago by taking a Chinese Cooking class taught by a visiting professor from China, and once you master the basic technique, you can get good results with many different combinations of ingredients. In the Chinese Cooking class I learned these Five Principles of Chinese Cooking that have helped me make many different stir fry dishes through the years:

Principles of Chinese Cooking

  1. Preheat the wok (before you put the oil in).
  2. Season the oil (with whole pieces of garlic and sometimes ginger root, which you often remove when you add the food to be cooked).
  3. Symmetry of cut (all pieces must be cut the same size and shape).
  4. Have all ingredients cut and sauces mixed before you cook.
  5. Use very high heat and cook fast.

The only thing that’s slightly different in this recipe is the use of minced garlic, which is left in the finished dish. I used a lot of garlic (!) but if you’re not such a garlic lover, you can use a bit less. The use of Oyster Sauce with vegetables in this recipe was inspired by Cooking from the Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America (affiliate link) , a great cookbook that I received as a review copy from the publisher back in the days when I still accepted review books. 

How can you make this recipe lower in carbs?

Oyster Sauce (affiliate link) or Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce (affiliate link) is a fairly high-carb ingredient. If you’d like to make a version of this recipe that’s lower in carbs, replace some of the oyster sauce with Soy Sauce or Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (affiliate link).

Garlic-Lover's Vegetable Stir Fry process shots collage

How to Make Garlic-Lover’s Vegetable Stir Fry:

(Scroll down for complete recipe including nutritional information.)

  1. These are the very last vegetables from my garden, and this is actually a tiny colander, so some of these were baby veggies, perfect for stir-frying.
  2. If you make this with bigger zucchini or squash, you should cut away some of the inside where the seeds are, and then cut the vegetables into strips. Starting in back, cut the zucchini into fourths lengthwise, then cut away the inner part of each strip, then cut into strips about 1/2 inch side.
  3. “Symmetry of cut” in Chinese Cooking means that the food should be cut into pieces that are approximately the same size and same shape so everything cooks in the same amount of time.
  4. I also cut the onions so they were a similar size and shape as the other ingredients.
  5. Before you start to cook, have all ingredients cut, have the oil, garlic, oyster sauce, and salt on the counter, and have measuring spoons ready.
  6. If you don’t have a wok, use the largest heavy frying pan you have. This recipe doesn’t need a lid.
  7. Start by heating the wok or pan for 1-2 minutes, until it’s too hot to hold your hand over it.
  8. Add 2 T peanut oil, let the oil heat for about 30 seconds, then add the minced garlic and sliced onion and stir fry 20 seconds, stirring the entire time.
  9. Then add the vegetables and salt all at once and continue to stir-fry about 4-5 minutes, stirring every 20-30 seconds.
  10. Cook until vegetables are just starting to soften.
  11. Then add Oyster Sauce and stir to coat all vegetables with sauce.
  12. Cook about 2 minutes more, stirring a few times. Serve hot.

Garlic-Lover's Vegetable Stir Fry square thumbnail image

More Zucchini Recipes You May Like:

The BEST Slow Cooker Zucchini Recipes ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
The Top Ten Low-Carb Zucchini Recipes on Kalyn’s Kitchen

Garlic-Lover's Vegetable Stir Fry top photo

Garlic-Lover's Vegetable Stir Fry

Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Garlic-Lover's Vegetable Stir Fry is the perfect way to use garden vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash, but you can use any vegetables that you have.


  • 1/2 lb. zucchini (see notes)
  • 1/2 lb. yellow squash (see notes)
  • 1/2 lb. eggplant (see notes)
  • 2 T peanut oil (see notes)
  • 2 T finely minced garlic (or less)
  • 1 onion, sliced top to bottom in strips about 1/2 inch wide
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 T Oyster Sauce (see notes)


  1. Cut vegetables into pieces that are the same size and same shape, cutting away the inner seeds from squash and larger eggplants before you cut them into short strips about 1/2 inch wide.
  2. Get oil, oyster sauce, salt, and measuring spoons out and have ready on the counter near the stove.
  3. Put wok or frying pan on the stove and heat 1-2 minutes, until it’s too hot to hold your hand over it. (You should be able to almost see the heat shimmering up from the wok.)
  4. Add the oil and heat about 30 seconds.
  5. Then add minced garlic and sliced onion and cook 20 seconds, stirring constantly.
  6. Add the rest of the vegetables all at once, add salt, and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring every 20-30 seconds, or until vegetables are barely starting to soften.
  7. Add oyster sauce, stirring gently so all the vegetables are coated with sauce.
  8. Cook about 2 minutes more, stirring a few times.
  9. Serve hot.


Use any combination of zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant or substitute other vegetables you have on hand. Be sure all veggies are cut in same size pieces. If you substitute other veggies, harder vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower should be added to the wok first and cooked a few minutes before you add the softer veggies.

Peanut Oil (affiliate link) is ideal for stir fry cooking, but you can use any neutral flavored oil that will hold up under high temperatures. Oyster Sauce (affiliate link) is widely available, look for it by the Asian foods in any supermarket. If you need gluten-free, be sure to get Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce (affiliate link). If you want a lower-carb version, switch some of the oyster sauce for soy sauce.

Recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from Cooking from the Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America. (affiliate link)

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 123Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 519mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This Garlic-Lover’s Vegetable Stir Fry with Eggplant, Zucchini, and Yellow Squash is relatively low in carbs but if you’re making this for any phase of the South Beach Diet or other low-carb eating plans you may want to use my tip of replacing some of the oyster sauce with soy sauce. If your store has several brands of Oyster Sauce, choose the one with the lowest amount of sugar. If you need gluten-free, be sure to get Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce. (affiliate link)

Find More Recipes Like This One:

Check out Stir-Fry Recipes for more recipes like this one! Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Pinterest image of Garlic-Lover's Vegetable Stir Fry

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    34 Comments on “Garlic-Lover’s Vegetable Stir Fry”

  1. Wow! I tried this today, and it was incredibly tasty! I've never stir-fried before either, and it came out incredibly well. I will definitely be making this again soon.

  2. All meals are rich in vitamin a garlic flavor and adds a natural antibiotic and he is good in my swine flu

  3. Kalyn,
    Your beautiful and delicious stir-fry is very tempting. Having moved to Australia, I started to love eating zucchini (we seldom have it in Hong Kong), that goes really well with minced garlic indeed. Yeah, I'm a big garlic lover. I'd add minced garlic in every stir-frying dish. 😛

    Your 5 principles of Chinese stir-frying are very helpful that would definitively ensure the best result.

  4. As soon as I find Japanese eggplant at the store, I'm making this with all eggplant. The eggplant was teh best part!

  5. I keep saying how tired of eggplant,I am and I keep finding these great recipes that are tempting me so I am using your blog to announce, I am not really tired of eggplant. It is too good to get tired of.

    Love this stir fry.

  6. Looks like what I fry up for breakfast. Great combo of veggies.

  7. I could eat things like this for every meal! Beautiful Kalyn!

  8. Waw ! It would be useful for food lovers, of course for me too. Thanks for the

  9. This is such a simple recipe and I like that it really lets the ingredients shine. Great tips on stir-frying!

  10. I love everything about this dish.

  11. I always love learning something new. I wish I had viewed your recipe yesterday. I stir fried large yellow squash with the seeds intact and it turned out a mushy mess. The zucchini was fine. I still have half the yellow squash left for tonight…thanks for the tip, Kalyn.

  12. This looks delicious and sounds wonderful and fresh. I haven't had a good stir fry in months. I'll have to put it on the calendar. Thanks for the recipe.

  13. thanks for the rules on stir fries! I love how you combined my favorite summer veggies with my favorite herb. There is no why this can be bad.

  14. I always have basic Chinese condiments in my pantry, and with those — soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, chili paste with garlic — I can stir-fry almost any combination of ingredients. Throw some rice in a rice cooker before you begin to prep your stir-fry ingredients, and a whole meal comes together in minutes.

  15. It's been a long time since I've stir-fried – it's one of the reasons I'm switching to a gas stove. A wok and an electric range just don't work! This is a beautiful dish, and the tips you've included are great.

  16. I am going on a hill walk this afternoon and was looking for something quick and healthy to throw together afterwards…this is it!

  17. Karina, I agree completely! I think it keeps the fresh flavor in the food compared to so many cooking methods!

    Kara, hope you like it.

    Lyn, it really is something where the technique is so important. I'm excited that I've encouraged you to try again. Such a great way to cook, once you've mastered it you can whip up something tasty in no time.

  18. I have never mastered stir-frying. I gave up years ago, but you've inspired me to try again!

  19. Excellent., I LoVe trying new dishes….thanks for the details on the stir fry, it is good to be reminded…

  20. Stir-fry can save your life. Seriously. It's the one dish I can manage even if I'm bone tired. And it's always tasty. And I always think, Why don't I make stir-fry more often?