Vidalia Onion Stir-fry Sauce

by on August 28, 2014
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Vidalia Onion Stir-fry Sauce

While I was on vacation, I discovered a delicious stir-fry sauce that blends the sweetness of Vidalia onions from Georgia with Asian ginger. It’s a tantalizing fusion of Southern and Asian flavors, and my version doesn’t contain any sugar or thickeners.

Earlier this month, we took our long-awaited family vacation to Asheville, North Carolina, home of smoky mountain views…

Smoky Mountains

rocky streams…

Stream at Montreat

and at least one decadent vegan restaurant:

Cannolo at Plant

Cannolo at Plant

We stayed on top of a mountain in a round house…

Mountain View Lodge

with gorgeous views from a wrap-around deck where we ate breakfast every morning:

Breakfast in the Mountains

Usually when we go on vacation, I cook most of our meals, but this time I wanted to take a little vacation from cooking as well as everything else. So when we rented our cabin, I made sure it was within driving distance of Asheville so that we could sample some of its great vegan and vegetarian restaurants. We had a couple of excellent dinners at Plant and Laughing Seed (for me, Walnut-Crusted Seitan at Plant and raw Spinach-Pesto Manicotti at Laughing Seed) and a very good lunch at Rosetta’s Kitchen (D’s Tempeh Reuben was the highlight). I wound up cooking just two of the nights we were there, and one of the two was this simple stir-fry:


When we had first gotten to Asheville, we stopped for supplies at Whole Foods. Just as we entered the door, a woman was offering samples of a stir-fry made with different sauces. Chinese Southern Belle SauceShe turned out to be the creator of the sauces and founder of Chinese Southern Belle, the company that makes them. She created the sauces using natural ingredients, infusing her family’s Chinese recipes with Southern ingredients. Using a hot plate and a wok, she gave us a demonstration of a two-minute stir-fry using her You Saucy Thing Vidalia Sauce and quick-cooking vegetables: shredded carrots, baby kale, and snow peas. I decided that a quick stir-fry with a pre-made sauce was just the kind of “no cooking cooking” I wanted to be doing on vacation, so we bought a bottle of her sauce, some quick-cooking vegetables, a package of ready-made seitan, and some rice noodles. I stir-fried the vegetables in the sauce, added the seitan and more sauce, and then stirred in the pre-soaked rice noodles and a little more sauce. It was a delicious meal–so delicious that I took a closer look at the bottle and found that the sauce contained 6 grams of fat per two tablespoons and the ingredients included two kinds of oil and tahini paste. Oops! It wasn’t the richest meal we’d had on vacation, but it was higher in fat than I expected it to be. (This is what happens when you read the label just to find out whether a food is vegan or not.)

Still, it was a great sauce, full of the flavors of onion, ginger, and sesame, and I decided to try to recreate it at home without so much fat. I sauteed my Vidalia onion, garlic, and ginger without any oil, and then after adding vegetable broth, I pureed half of the vegetables in the blender. This made the sauce thick without needing any starch. To give the sauce a sweet taste without sugar, I added unfiltered apple cider. I finished it off with a touch of roasted sesame oil, which gave this Vidalia onion stir-fry sauce just the right hint of sesame flavor without a lot of fat.

Vidalia Onion Stir-fry Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I found that using the amounts of red and black pepper given, the sauce tastes very spicy in the jar but much less so when added to vegetables, so use a little more red pepper flakes if you like a spicier stir-fry.
Serves: 10
  • 1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ginger root, minced (about 2 inches ginger root, peeled and minced)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (I used double-strength)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, gluten-free tamari, or coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil (see note)
  1. Saute the onion in a medium-sized sauce pan until it softens, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the broth and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
  2. Spoon about half of the onions and broth into a blender. Cover and begin blending on low, increasing speed until mixture is smooth. Careful–it’s hot! Pour back into the saucepan. (If you prefer a smooth sauce, you can blend all of it.)
  3. Add all ingredients except the sesame oil and cook on low until it reduces slightly, about 10-15 minutes. Add the sesame oil.
  4. Add to “steam-fried” veggies at the end of cooking. I use about a cup of sauce for a large wok full of vegetables and seitan.
Half a teaspoon of dark (roasted) sesame oil gives the sauce a very light sesame flavor which, in my opinion, is essential to the flavor of the sauce. It also contributes about 1/4 of a gram of fat (about 2 calories) per serving. If you’d like, you can leave it out, or if you’d like a more pronounced sesame flavor, you can double or triple it and still have a sauce that contains less than a gram of fat.

The exact amount of calories, fat, and sodium will depend on the vegetable broth used.

The sauce should keep about two weeks in the refrigerator. Freeze it if you want to keep it longer.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/10 of recipe Calories: 26 Fat: less than 1g Carbohydrates: 5.4g Sugar: less than 1g Sodium: 283.3mg Fiber: less than 1g Protein: less than 1g

I hope you enjoy this sauce on your favorite vegetable stir-fry. For more recipes, be sure to subscribe to my NewsBites newsletter.


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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nancy A. August 28, 2014 at 9:30 am

Susan, I just LOVED the pictures and description of your vacation trip, it made me want to go there, too! I can hardly wait to try this stir-fry sauce. Thanks for sharing AND reinventing.


2 Gail August 28, 2014 at 9:35 am

We have a great Asheville Vegans Meetup group here in Asheville. It would have been great to meet you. Next time let us know you’re in town.


3 Susan Voisin August 28, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Thanks, Gail! I would love to get together with the Asheville vegans next time.


4 moonwatcher August 28, 2014 at 10:06 am

Wow, Susan, what an ingenious approach to stir fry sauce! Thanks for sharing this with us–so glad you came across this gal on your vacation, and that you’ve devised a low fat version for us. I have two Walla Walla Sweets from the CSA–our regional Vidalia, so to speak, so I just might try this out. Sounds really good and I like that it keeps in the fridge since it will most likely just be me eating it for more than one dinner.




5 Karen August 28, 2014 at 6:20 pm

I live in Southwest Montana and was thinking Walla Walla Sweets as a replacement for the Vidalias. Thanks for mentioning them Moonwatcher.


6 Marge Evans August 28, 2014 at 10:43 am

as always your photos are gorgeous! like Maria I’ll be using Walla Walla sweets also. Can’t wait to try it.


7 Rita August 28, 2014 at 11:19 am

I am drooling over your vacation and I am talking hubby into an Ashveille getaway.
I will make the sauce and stir fry soon. Thanks for the inspiratuin and recipe.


8 nlh110 August 28, 2014 at 11:55 am

This sounds great Susan. My Dad grows hundreds of Sweet Vidalias every year and I end up freezing so many of them. It will be nice to have another sauce that utilizes these amazing onions.


9 jem August 28, 2014 at 1:45 pm

That sounds interesting. How do you freeze your vidalias? I’ve never done that.


10 nlh110 August 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm

I slice them on a mandolin and then lay them flat and vacuum pack them. Others I chop up in a food processor and vacuum pack in portions as well. I use these for carmelized onions and putting in other recipes. They would not be good as raw onions coming out of the freezer, the taste is amazing though.


11 Maikki August 28, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Sounds delish, thanks for sharing 🙂


12 Christine (The Raw Project) August 28, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Such wonderful vacation pics and write up, I need a vacation now. 🙂 This stir fry sauce looks and sounds wonderful, great flavor combo. Thanks!


13 Lana August 28, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Susan — intrigued by the round cabin. Could you share the rental info?


14 Susan Voisin August 28, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Here’s a link to the rental page:

It’s much bigger inside than it looks in the photos.


15 Ciro August 28, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Next time you’re in asheville please come rafting with us at blue heron whitewater. Love your fat free take on classic Louisiana recipes and Plant is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere. This sauce sounds delicious.


16 Susan Voisin August 28, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Thanks! I’ll have to find Blue Heron the next time I’m there.


17 Brenda W. August 28, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Susan … how neat to learn you were in my “neck of the woods” for your vacation! Isn’t Plant Restaurant simple THE BEST??? I think I’ve had everything on their menu, and that walnut encrusted seitan is definitely my favorite. Did you try their cheese plate?? I’ve taken omnivores there, and no one can believe that cheese plate is all vegan!!

This recipe, as all yours do, looks scrumptious!! Can’t wait to try it.


18 Susan Voisin August 28, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Everything we had was delicious, including the cheese plate. How lucky you are to have sampled the entire menu!


19 Carrie August 28, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Love Asheville!! What joy to see pictures! My husband and I visited Asheville a couple of years ago; it’s now on the short list for warm weather retirement locations. We ate at both Plant and Laughing Seed. SO good! Will be making the stir fry sauce and it will make nice gifts too. Thanks for the memories, Susan!


20 Merrilee August 28, 2014 at 6:36 pm

My brother sent me this recipe and said that it looked good. I agreed and told him that I was going to try it. I’m not vegan, so I used this sauce with my stir fried chicken, vegetables and Top Ramen noodles. I don’t care for ginger, so I used less than you called for. It was very yummy! I’ll definitely make it again. Thanks for sharing!


21 jeananne August 29, 2014 at 7:08 am


I am so excited to read this post (more than usual). My husband & I are going to Asheville in a few days, for the first time. Now I’m delighted to have a list of restaurants to try! The creek looks so relaxing….



22 Kristen August 29, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Silly question…we don’t use apple juice and I don’t want to buy it. What do you think about blending an apple to use in it’s place? Can’t wait to try this!


23 Kathy September 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm

I plan to try this sweet onion ginger sauce, but instead of the sesame oil, I will try the sesame “salt” that I got from a PCRM site or book. It is sesame seeds browned, then ground with a little salt added, which needs to be added with something moist in order to be less gritty, more palatable.

Thanks for the viewing of your vacation.


24 Carol Irving September 2, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Susan, thanks for the great recipe! I found it a little too sour. I’ve been using it as a dipping sauce for the baked eggrolls that I make. I think next time I might add just a bit of sweetner or blended dates.


25 Susan Voisin September 2, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Thanks for the feedback, Carol! Since I didn’t use any sweetener other than apple juice, some people may find it too tart, so it’s a good suggestion to taste it and add sweetener to taste.


26 Texas Ann September 4, 2014 at 5:15 pm

While I enjoy everyone comments and I looking for feedback on the recipe. I made this tonight for dinner. I used mushrooms, red peppers, snow peas, carrots, bok choy and kale. I added more soy sauce at the table. I served over brown rice instead of using rice noodles. It was great! I will make this often. I do love your site and your beautiful photos. Thanks.


27 Jacqueline September 5, 2014 at 10:16 am

I have been looking for a recipe like this & have never found one I liked. Can’t wait to try. Maybe Sunday Football Stir-Fry this weekend.

I have a question I found a recipe that is vegan but it doesn’t give the nutritional content. It sounds great because it uses blueberries & coconut cream. But I’ve been following your recipes for almost as long as you have been on here & I know that great brain of yours could tell me the fat content or find a way to make them even healthier. I know you could whip some thing healthy for us. It appears to be a popular recipe with people. I have included the recipe site below.

Thanks in advance if you can do a low fat version.
Love your site & follow you on pinterest. Keep up the healthy work.

This is the site I finally found the original recipe on


28 Susan Voisin September 5, 2014 at 10:55 am

Jacqueline, it’s usually hard to figure out fat content, but it’s easy with this recipe. Each tablespoon of the coconut cream it uses contains 18 grams of fat (and 190 calories). (I’m not sure how that’s possible–that’s more than straight coconut oil, but that’s what the box says.) The recipe calls for 2 cups of it, which is 32 tablepoons. So 32×18=576 grams of fat in the whole batch. So divide 576 by 18, which is the number of small bars it makes, and you get 32 grams of fat per bar. 32!!! That’s 288 calories just from fat in one little bar.

I wish I could tell you an easy way to make these, but it’s the solidification of the fat that’s holding them together. You could make a pretty frozen bar by making banana “ice cream” with frozen bananas, adding some chopped blueberries, freezing it, and cutting it into bars. No fat! 🙂


29 Jacqueline September 16, 2014 at 10:50 pm

Oh my the fat! I don’t think that is a healthy recipe by my standards. I know some people will think so.

I have never used coconut cream before so I wasn’t entirely sure if there was a healthier option. I do love frozen bananas turned into all kinds of frozen “ice creams.” Can’t thank you enough!

BTW I have talked to a lot of fans of yours who would love to see a month long or at least a two week list of your personal daily food journal to show others how to eat the way you do on a regular daily basis to lose weight & get healthy. Also show how many calories you consume & snacking habits etc. I tell them to search your blog you might have already covered this if not this could make a great blog entry or do I see a book.


30 Bianca September 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm

I’m always looking for a good stir fry sauce! So glad I came across your blog 🙂

Thx for sharing. xx Bianca


31 derek o'neill September 8, 2014 at 8:44 am

This sounds fantastic, anyone got any idea of what European Onions would be closest in flavour to Vidalias or Walla Walla Sweets as we don’t have these in Ireland.


32 Barb September 12, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Love this! I made it today, and was an integral part of dinner. I’ll share it again on Sunday. I’m freezing two small quantities for later – do you it’ll keep well frozen? Thanks for your posts – love it all!


33 Marla Kerr September 13, 2014 at 7:59 am

I don’t enjoy stir fry, and I’m not overly fond of ginger. At least, that’s what I thought. I tried this recipe after having dinner out the night before and feeling that I needed to eat something especially clean and healthful. This not only fit the bill but was fantastic! The fresh ginger gives it a wonderful scent and flavor, and the small amount of sesame oil lends all the toasted sesame flavor with none of the guilt. I made mine as described and chose the full-blend option.


34 Anne E. McGuigan September 20, 2014 at 5:35 am

Hi Susan,
I love the pics and story of your holiday. Thanks for making this sauce your own. I will definitely try it!


35 Laina November 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm

As always, the photography is so beautiful!

I’ve made this three times now and love it! I added some applesauce to tone down the tartness a bit and a couple tablespoons of agave nectar.

I love the ease of grabbing whatever vegetables, fresh and frozen to add to this sauce and it’s oh so delicious!!! And oh so easy to throw together as well.

Also, I’ve frozen the sauce to use later and it’s perfect!

Thanks, Susan for another wonderfully satisfying pleasing delight!

Laina 🙂


36 Laina December 9, 2014 at 8:33 pm

I wanted to also say that my husband loved this and he’s a sad eater. I asked him if he wants me to make this again, and he excitedly said yes. It’s not that often he wants to eat my food. And he even likes the tofu I add as well!


37 Ashlee December 1, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Man oh man, I can’t wait to try this! Stir fry is my go-to dish when I’m lazy and I’m always looking for new sauces to keep things fresh. And I LOVE anything onion : D


38 David Lim December 11, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Hi Susan, Wow! I’m so amazed. I been a fan of your blog since last year. I wonder how you get a lot of ideas to put in your blog? I have learned a lot of good recipes that I have cook for my wife. Thanks so much.


39 Chef Rosey March 27, 2016 at 2:15 pm

great recipe but the sesame oil is really not necessary…..just my opinion


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