Easy Egg Roll Stir Fry

By Ann Fulton

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The classic takeout appetizer is reinvented as a complete, one pan meal that comes together quickly with ground beef, pork, or your favorite plant-based alternative. 


For several years when her children were young, one of my good friends hosted an annual Chinese New Year’s party. Her youngest child was adopted from China, and the yearly festivities were a way to celebrate and honor her heritage.

At that point, I knew little more than what animal year was being ushered in. (More on that soon.) But those celebrations put the holiday on my radar and provided a fun excuse to serve my own Chinese-inspired meal for my family in subsequent years.

The holiday, celebrated in China and beyond, marks the first day of the lunar New Year with decorations, parades, fireworks, and big family meals. The event is steeped in centuries-old traditions and myths, and I thought it would be fun to share a few of them as we usher in the year of the Rooster.

According to the Chinese zodiac’s 12-year cycle of animals, the year of the Monkey will transition to the year of the Rooster on January 28. For those who may be wondering, the 12 animals in order of occurrence are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

It’s believed that people born in a certain animal year share traits typical of that animal. Similar to our zodiac signs, the thought is that these attributes can help or hinder a relationship, romantic or otherwise. (For a little fun, go to chinahighlights.com to determine your Chinese zodiac sign, complete with corresponding characteristics, lucky numbers, days, colors and more.)

As with Christmas and Hanukkah, people often exchange gifts over the Chinese New Year celebration. The most traditional gift, typically given to children and retired adults, is a red envelope containing money. Beyond the obvious monetary gift, the hope is that the envelope will bring good luck to the recipient.

There are countless legends and superstitions surrounding the holiday; the following list offers an abbreviated list of New Year’s Day taboos:

  • No porridge for breakfast: it brings poverty
  • No hair or clothing washing: it washes away good luck
  • No taking medicine: it could mean a year of poor health
  • No unlucky words: saying “death” could bring death, for example
  • No needlework should be done: it depletes wealth (this includes the use of knives and scissors)
  • No sweeping or taking out trash: it sweeps away wealth and symbolizes dumping out good fortune from the house
    source: chinahighlights.com

Though fish and dumplings are considered traditional Chinese New Year fare, the following twist on an eggroll is a dinner that my family enjoys in the spirit of the holiday and throughout the year. The flavorful meal includes both protein and veggies and cooks quickly in a single pan. It tastes a lot like an egg roll—just without the roll! 

The classic takeout appetizer is reinvented as a complete, one pan meal that comes together quickly with ground beef, pork, or your favorite plant-based alternative. Ground pork (below) is more traditional, but ground beef (above) tastes great too.

Over the years, I’ve also made this meal with ground turkey, and most recently, ground chicken, shown below. 

The classic takeout appetizer is reinvented as a complete, speedy, one pan meal..with lots of options.

I’d love to know if you try this recipe. Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @fountainavenuekitchen on Instagram and Facebook. Your feedback is always appreciated.

Easy Egg Roll Stir Fry 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
I usually keep the add-ins simple, but you could add sliced mushrooms, red bell pepper, and even shelled edamame. If you opt for lots of extras or would like to serve the stir fry over rice, you may wish to double the sauce recipe.

Yield: 4 servings
For the Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) soy sauce (I use low-sodium; use a gluten-free option if needed)
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) sriracha sauce
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) toasted sesame oil (see notes for options with this and other ingredients)
For the Stir Fry:
  • ½ a medium head green cabbage (~16 ounces or 5-6 cups once shredded)
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots
  • 3 green onions
  • 2 teaspoons peanut, olive, or oil of choice
  • 1 pound ground pork (may use ground beef, turkey, or a plant-based alternative)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • Optional for serving: toasted sesame seeds, peanuts, cashews, or toasted sliced almonds; chopped cilantro; additional sriracha sauce; hot cooked rice
  1. Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, sriracha, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the veggies so they are ready when needed: Cut the whole cabbage in half and save one half for another recipe. Slice the remaining half in half again, remove the core, and then shred or thinly slice. Next, peel and shred the carrots, and then slice the green onions. Place the cabbage, carrots, and onions in a large bowl. The garlic and ginger should be minced but placed together in a separate small bowl.
  3. Cook: Heat the oil in a large (12- to 14-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground pork and cook until no longer pink, breaking it up as you go. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook another 30 to 60 seconds or until fragrant.
  4. Add the cabbage, carrots, and green onions to the skillet, and cook, stirring to rotate the mixture, until the cabbage is slightly wilted. (I let the bottom layer sear, toss to get the top layer down to the bottom, let that sear, and repeat until the cabbage is cooked but not too soft.) Drizzle in the prepared sauce and stir to thoroughly incorporate.
  5. Top: Sprinkle with nuts or seeds of choice and fresh cilantro, if desired, and pass sriracha at the table for those who like a little extra kick. For a little more heft to the meal, serve with rice.
Notes & Options:
  • One teaspoon (7 grams) of honey may be used instead of the brown sugar.
  • If you don’t have sesame oil or someone in your family has a sesame allergy, simply omit this ingredient. The dish will still taste great without it.
  • For extra easy preparation, you may replace the fresh garlic and ginger with a level ½ teaspoon each of garlic powder and dried ginger. Simply stir them into the sauce ingredients.
  • For visual appeal, I sometimes mix red cabbage in with the green cabbage. In this case, I keep the bulk of the cabbage (about two-thirds to three-quarters of it) green and “accent” with the red.
  • A 16-ounce bag of pre-shredded cabbage mix may be used, however, I think the texture is a bit better when you slice the cabbage yourself.
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  1. Dixie

    I made this tonight and it was so good! It was really easy and made enough for lunches the next day. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  2. Judy Nichols

    Made this last Sunday and it was easy to make and so delicious! Throughout the week I had it for lunch and added some roasted veggies!

  3. Abby Post author

    I made this last night for the first time and it was quite simply terrific. Easy to make and a delight to eat. And my kids loved eating cabbage! Who would have thought?!