Easy AIP Stir Fry with Chicken and Vegetables (Paleo, GF)
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This healthy AIP stir fry recipe is a simple, fast option for busy families on busy nights and can be prepped ahead of time. It’s gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and full of flavor. It brings together chicken, brussels sprouts, carrots, and broccoli in a sweet lemon ginger sauce. It’s a fairly flexible dish, so you can sub in various vegetables based on what you have and what fits your taste.
Tips for Making the Perfect AIP Stir Fry
- Prep your veggies, meat, and sauce before you begin cooking
Cooking goes pretty quickly so it’s easiest to have it all ready to go before you turn on the stove.
- Use Dry Veggies
Make sure your veggies are dry after you wash them. If they are wet when you add them to the pan, it could make your stir fry mushy and soggy.
- Cut All Your Ingredients About the Same Size
This helps to ensure that everything finishes cooking at about the same time and at the same rate.
- Slice the Meat and Vegetables (vs chop)
This allows for maximum surface area and faster cooking. Slice the meat against the grain to increase the tenderness. I ended up cutting my chicken sort of in cubes when I did this recipe, but I will try it with slices next time.
- Use an Oil With a High Smoke Point
Since stir fry should be cooked quickly and at a relatively high temperature, it’s important to use an oil that can tolerate the heat. Avocado oil is the best AIP compliant choice for this. If you don’t have avocado oil, coconut oil and olive oil are good choices too.
- Add Ingredients According to Length of Cooking Time
This is why in this recipe, we remove the chicken from the pan while we cook the vegetables- this keeps the chicken from getting overcooked. This is also why we add the water chestnuts last- they require very little cooking and basically just need to be warmed up. Most of the veggies in this stir fry require about the same amount of time to cook but if you were doing a different recipe, you might need to add some denser, longer cooking veggies like sweet potatoes or carrots before adding less dense ones.
- Use hearty Vegetables
Good choices include:
- Carrot sticks
- Cauliflower florets
- Broccoli florets
- Fennel wedges
- Kohlrabi wedges
- Asparagus spears
- Sweet Potatoes
You’ll start off with medium-high heat and then adjust the heat down as needed. Every stove is different so just keep an eye on things and adjust down if you feel things are cooking too quickly.
Best Type of Pan for Stir Fry
The ideal type of pan to use for a stir fry is a wok. If you don’t have a wok, a cast-iron skillet or frying pan is the next best option. I don’t have a wok or cast-iron skillet, so I just used a large frying pan. Woks and skillets function similarly to frying pans but woks and skillets cook things slightly faster. The cooking times for this recipe are made as if you’re using a frying pan so if you use a wok or iron skillet, just be aware that your cook times may be a little shorter.
A Note About the Stir Fry Sauce
The AIP stir fry sauce for this recipe is made with coconut aminos, honey, garlic powder, fresh ginger, lemon juice, salt, and arrowroot starch. The arrowroot starch allows the sauce to thicken slightly so it sticks to the meat and vegetables. If you like a very saucy stir fry, consider doubling the sauce recipe. The amount of sauce in this recipe is just enough to lightly coat everything.
AIP Stir Fry Meals are Perfect for Easy AIP Meal Prep
Planning ahead is critical in being successful at the AIP diet and keeping it sustainable. Stir fry meals are a fantastic meal for doing meal prep ahead of time and it’s a very versatile meal so you can do it many different ways.
In general, you’ll want to cut everything up and make the sauce before you start cooking but you can actually do these things the day before or even a couple of days before you actually cook the meal. Just store the ingredients in the fridge in tightly sealed containers or zip lock bags until you’re ready to use them. Then you can just throw everything together quickly for an easy weeknight meal.
How to Freeze Stir Fry for Later Meals
Stir Fry works great for AIP freezer meals. You can completely cook this whole meal in large batches and then store it in the freezer to be thawed and reheated in a pan or even in the microwave for later meals. This makes for a very fast meal when you need it.
Alternatively, you can make stir fry kits that can be frozen and thrown together later. This involves pre-cutting all your meat and veggies and putting them in separate bags or containers. You’ll also make the sauce ahead of time and put that in its own bag or container as well.
Here are a few specifics on how to make Stir Fry Freezer Meal Kits:
- Slice the meat into 1” long strips (about ¼ inch thick).
- Lay the strips out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and freeze.
- Put the frozen chicken pieces in an airtight container or large zip lock bag.
Blanch your vegetables before you freeze them.
This just means you will put them in boiling water very briefly. This will help stop enzymatic reactions that cause loss of flavor, color, and texture in the freezer. It also softens the veggies slightly so they will cook faster when you are ready to add them to your stir fry.
- You’ll use about 1 gallon of water per pound of fresh veggies. Add the vegetables to a large pot of boiling water.
- Boil the veggies for 2-4 minutes (count your blanching time from the time the water returns to a boil).
- Quickly drain the hot water and add the veggies to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process- this part is extremely important for keeping your veggies bright and preserving the texture.
- Once the veggies have cooled, drain the water really well, then transfer the veggies to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and put it in the freezer.
- Allow the veggies to freeze, then put them in an airtight container (preferably glass) or a large zip lock bag. This step is really important for keeping the vegetables from freezing together in one big clump which would be a pain to deal with later when it’s time to make your stir fry.
Make Your Sauce
To freeze the sauce portion of your meal, simply make it according to the recipe instructions and free it in an airtight container or zip lock bag. When you’re ready to use it, thaw it in the fridge or in a bowl of warm water.
How to Serve This Meal
This stir fry is great served over steamed cauliflower rice. You can double up on the sauce recipe if you’d like and then save some of it to drizzle over the meal once it’s cooked. You can also garnish with citrus wedges or fresh herbs like cilantro, mint, or basil.
For more meal planning ideas, you can check out my 7 Day AIP Meal Plan for Busy People.
Also, if you're interested in a meal planning service I recommend trying Real Plans (affiliate link), which is a paid web and app-based meal planner that has AIP meal plans. Meal plans can be customized based on family size, dietary restrictions, and schedule. It does have a 10-day money-back guarantee if you want to check it out.
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I hope you love this recipe. If you tried it, leave a comment below and let me know what you thought. What are some ingredient combinations you like to see in stir fry dishes? I’d love to hear your ideas!
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @foodcourage for the latest AIP/Paleo recipes and Food Courage happenings!
Easy AIP Stir Fry with Chicken and Vegetables (Paleo, GF)
- 1-2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup sliced brussels sprouts
- 8 oz sliced mushrooms
- 8 oz can of sliced water chesnuts
- 1 tsp sea salt
Serve Stir Fry with:
- 5 cups steamed cauliflower rice
- Cut all your vegetables and meats before turning on the stove. Also, mix the sauce before starting.
- In a large wok or frying pan over medium-high heat, heat 1-2 tbsp oil and add diced chicken. Cook for about 3 minutes, allowing it to brown and then flip the pieces over and do the same on the other side.
- Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pan and set aside in a bowl or on a plate.
- Using the same pan, over medium-high heat, add another 1-2 tbsp oil and then add all the vegetables except the water chesnuts. Saute for about 5-7 minutes while stiring frequently, until vegetables are tender.
- Add the water chestnuts, chicken and sauce to the pan. Stir the mixture until the sauce is well incorporated. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes allowing the sauce to thicken, then cool slightly, spoon over cauliflower rice and serve.