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Spring sesame ginger asparagus stir-fry

Spring sesame ginger asparagus stir-fry

Sesame stir-fry sauce:

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 cup water or vegetable broth

1 tablespoon minced ginger root

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1/4 cup dry sherry

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

Stir-fry vegetables:

1 tablespoon peanut oil

2 bundles medium-thick asparagus, stem ends trimmed, spears cut into 2-inch-lengths on the diagonal

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

8 scallions, sliced into 2-inch lengths

Makes 4 servings.

To make sauce: Dissolve the cornstarch in the water or broth. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.

To make vegetables: Heat oil over high heat in a large saute pan or wok. Add the asparagus, red peppers and scallions. Stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sauce and continue to stir-fry 4 minutes until asparagus is crisp-tender and a sauce forms and thickens in pan.

Steve's tip: If you add 1 pound cubed firm tofu as you stir-fry the asparagus, this becomes a protein-filled main dish. The Asian condiments can be found in supermarkets or Asian grocery stores. Serve with brown or basmati rice.

Per serving (without tofu): 133 calories, 49 percent calories from fat, 7 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, .24 milligram cholesterol, 14 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams total fiber, 7 grams total sugars, 11 grams net carbs, 4 grams protein, 291 milligrams sodium.

Per serving (with tofu): 228 calories, 49 percent calories from fat, 12 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, .24 milligram cholesterol, 17 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams total fiber, 7 grams total sugars, 12 grams net carbs, 14 grams protein, 295 milligrams sodium.

If you have questions about a vegetarian ingredient or recipes you would like Steve Petusevsky to make meatless for you, send them to Vegetarian Today, Sun-Sentinel, 200 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-2293. Or send an e-mail with your full name, address and telephone number to dhartz@sun-sentinel.com with "Vegetarian Today" in the subject line.

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