This week is crazy busy for me so I’ll keep this post short without skimping on the details or photos of the finished product. This weekend my partner and I went out for a long walk that became super abbreviated about halfway through, thanks to an impromptu rain storm. It didn’t last long but we were proper chilled when we made it back to our place and all thoughts of cold salad were out the window in favor of soup.
I found FRESH wood ear mushrooms and I was so excited to recreate these pickled mushrooms I had at one of the few Asian style restaurants in Ploiesti. But wood ear mushrooms aren’t a meal, especially when you only have 200 grams of them. So then I thought of soup. And then ramen.
And that’s how I ended up with this vegan restaurant style Asian lunch for two.
For the soup: Ginger, garlic, lemongrass, scallions & nori with my waste free broth. Simmered for 20 minutes and then ready to go!
These days I’m loving the mix & match meals that my partner and I have been enjoying. What is a ‘mix & match’ meal, you ask?
Easy, it’s a meal that can actually be two separate meals but you decide to put’em together to create something vegan and delicious. Some people, fancier people than me, might call it fusion but it’s not meant to be a modern statement on any particular cuisine type or anything like that, just a way for the greedy vegan in you to enjoy two things at once.
My hubs wanted Mongolian style vegan beef and fire noodles, and he asked which one would be easier to make and since he was so sweet to ask…I made them both.
The recipe name might not be pretty and to be honest, my photos leave A LOT to be desired. But what you really want to know is, was it delicious?
Hell yeah, it was!
You might think that making two separate dishes is more time consuming, but it’s not. Well, not as long as you do a little bit of prep work.
Step one: Gather your ingredients
I made enough for two adults who eat proper portion sizes, so use that as your best estimate for how much to use, or sign up for Cronometer or any other calorie tracking app. If you’re not there yet, consult the nutrition information on the package.
Step Two: Hydrate the TVP Obviously if you’re using tofu or seitan or tempeh, you can just follow those instructions, but I used TVP so if you do that, I recommend getting it going as early as possible.
Step Three: Cook ginger, onion, chili pepper, garlic & scallions I didn’t use any oil, just a bit of water to get it going before seasoning, but cook your veggies how you like.
Step Four: Add TVP to air fryer I wanted the soy to be nice and crispy before adding it to the vegetables and sauce, if you want it less crispy, drain the TVP and toss it right in once the vegetables are done.
Step Five & Six: Make the SAUCE The Mongolian sauce is soy sauce based with brown sugar and a cornstarch slurry to thicken. I added chili peppers and Korean chili flakes to spice it up, but you can add ketchup or bbq sauce or premade teriyaki sauce if you like.
For the fire noodles, I used Korean chili paste, butter, tomato paste, spicy mustard and water to thin out the sauce just enough that it was easy to toss the ramen noodles with it.
and there you have it, a quick and easy vegan dinner that will satisfy your craving for noodles, Mongolian beef or just Asian food in general. Don’t be afraid to improvise and taste as you go along.
I just love it when we have our Midnight Tokyo Diner nights and my partner chooses something that stomps me…at first. Yeah, I’m not ashamed to admit that his request for sweet potato polenta threw me for a moment but after a few minutes of research, my confidence rose and I was like, “I got this.”
If you’ve never had sweet potato polenta before, I hope this recipe inspires you to add more than vegan butter and nutritional yeast to your next batch of polenta.
Before we begin, I’ll tell you right off the bat that this is a pretty cumbersome ingredient list, but that doesn’t mean that it is a complicated or difficult recipe. It just has several different components that are put together separately before they find their way to the same plate.
Recently I was in the mood for cabbage rolls, but not really, more like spring rolls made with cabbage instead of rice paper. I don’t know why, not really, other than I was reminiscing about some really delicious Vietnamese spring rolls I had once in Wheaton, IL.
Then I was walking down the aisle of a very crowded Lidl and spotted a gorgeous head of Savoy cabbage. I had to have it, knowing it would be great for the wraps, not to mention a vegan soup or two. Maybe even a vegan ramen dish.
The possibilities were endless.
As was the prep time for these vegan cabbage spring rolls. 🙄
The good thing about this kind of vegan recipe is that it’s mostly raw so you’re getting plenty of natural fiber, but also that you can use any of the raw vegetables in your crisper that you just don’t know what to do with. I had a pretty specific idea of what I wanted in my vegan spring rolls, starting with smoked tofu and ending with this beautiful platter you see below.
The ingredient list for the Savoy wraps is pretty straightforward:
Carrots Scallions Bell peppers Cucumber Sprouts (these are radish sprouts) Smoked tofu Savoy cabbage
The most important step is to give the cabbage leaves a quick boil or steam, about 2 minutes. Do it early enough that the cabbage cool and are easy to manage while wrapping. I to roll the first one with the cabbage spine still on it and…it was a mess so I recommend trimming it down but not necessarily cutting it off completely, because that will just make wrapping it harder.
While you wait for the water to boil for the cabbage, preheat the oven or airfryer to 200C and add the seasoned smoked tofu until nice and crispy.
Use the biggest leaves on the Savoy cabbage and wrap them the wide way, across the spine rather than up or down. Trust me, it’ll make the process easier and less annoying.
Take a little of each ingredient and line it up across the leaf, then roll.
If you want to add anything to these vegan spring rolls to fill out the meal, I added soba noodles that I tossed in a mixture of peanut butter, hot water, lime juice, Sriracha and soy sauce. It was easy and delicious..
I also made a quick yogurt sauce for my partner, just in case the smoked tofu had a bit too much tandoor spice on it, which I’m happy to report it did not.
This was a quick (mostly) and easy vegan meal, at least if you make it through the prep work without losing your mind. I rewarded myself for all he prep work with an ice cold beer made without fish belly, thank you very much.
Do you like rolls? How do you prefer to enjoy them?
One of my favorite things to make when it’s cold outside is soup. Or stew, or a delicious combination of the two that I liked to call, stewp.
Give me a bunch of veggies and a handful of grains served with a delicious broth and I am good to go.
At least, that’s what I tell myself. But one day after a particularly grueling workout, I couldn’t decide if I wanted ramen soup (which I LOVE) or lentil soup. They couldn’t possibly go together, could they?
Turns out, just about anything is possible with the right motivation, and what better motivation than hunger?
Don’t be afraid to load your soup up with a small amount of a large variety of vegetables, especially this season when you need all the vitamins and minerals possible to keep you healthy.
When it comes to cuisine, I’d love to say that I have no rules. But I do. A lot, in fact. Except when I want something that goes against the rules, in which case I’m the first to proclaim that the evolution of cuisine always starts with someone doing something they aren’t “supposed” to do.
And you know what, I’m totally fine with that because sometimes you just want what you want, and in this day and age when so many of us are spending more time than ever in the house, less time eating out at restaurants and all that jazz, rules must be broken once in a while.
Or longer…whatever you prefer.
Speaking of, let me introduce you to a Pho Style falafel ball rice noodle soup, my own vegan contribution to the vegan fusion movement. (Is it a movement or am I making that up?)
Let’s start with the falafel balls because they went in the oven and they needed time to cook and crisp up.
Place all the ingredients into a food processor until you get a crumbly mixture. If you’re not sure whether it’s crumbly enough, scoop some into your hands and press it together. If it sticks, it’s good. I recommend you pop it into the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes, but it’s not totally necessary.
Form into uniform balls, whatever size you prefer, and lay out on a baking sheet at 180c/375f for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown & crispy.
You will also need: onion, bell pepper, garlic, mung bean sprouts, tomato paste, soybean paste coconut milk, soy sauce and Pad Thai rice noodles.
Start with a big pot and give the vegetables a light saute for a few minutes and then add soybean and tomato paste, stirring until everything looks kind of messy. Then it’s time to add the broth! Stir well until everything breaks apart and starts to resemble a soup. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the flavors are what you want.
Cook the noodles according to the package and drop them in your bowl first. Top with broth & veggie mixture and then falafel balls and you are–technically–ready to put it in your belly.
But you can also add garnishes such as jalapeno peppers, basil leaves, lime juice, Sriracha & soy sauce.
And there you have it, my own little twist on vegan fusion food and Asian fusion although I guess it should be vegan Asian-Middle Eastern fusion? That’s a mouthful but not as much as this delicious soup, which I will totally add to the rotation, using all kinds of vegan ball varieties.
I know, I know, you’re shocked to see yet another noodle dish from me.
Cue: your shocked face!
Seriously though, with everything going on in the world sometimes you just want a dish that brings you comfort and for me that is usually Asian noodles. They are versatile so you can get super fancy with it or do it up as simple as you like. This particular dish is a play on char siu, but obviously we’re not going to be using adorable pigs in our vegan meal, so we relied on good ol’ TVP to get the job done.
This vegan dish is all about the seasoning (and the noodles) but mostly the seasoning.
I don’t know about where you guys are–feel free to tell me where you are while reading this in the comments–but even if we were eating out these days, the suburbs of Bucharest aren’t exactly a haven for vegan cuisine, which means I can get all the Asian food I want right here in the comfort of my kitchen.
Now, you can too!
What you’ll need:
Chow Mein noodles
Cook the TVP as indicated, same with the noodles.
Drain the TVP and season it, then pop it into the air fryer, oven or just fry it in a skillet, the choice is yours.
Add peanut oil to a pan or skillet and cook onion, bok choy, ginger and garlic until done, about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how you like it. Add soy sauce and hot sauce, then toss with crispy soya.
Serve on a bed of your favorite noodles and garnish with fresh, thin sliced scallions.
This quick and easy vegan meal should take you 30 minutes or less in the kitchen, but if you’re feeling like going there, feel free to share your fancier version of vegan Char-fu!
Can we all just agree that it is incredibly difficult to rename dishes you’ve been using for a lifetime? It is probably one of the most difficult parts of writing this blog, and I constantly find myself using too many descriptors or not enough. Or you end up with the redundancy of saying “vegan” everything. But when it came to this particular meal, the name almost wrote itself.
Beyond Meat is only one of two vegan meat alternatives that are available to me here in Romania, the other is a local brand, Verdino and they only make mici, deli slices and salami. That made it pretty easy to use the word ‘meatball’ and have it accurately apply. But that’s enough about the name of this dish, right? Let’s get down this incredibly delicious vegan noodle recipe.
This is an easy vegan recipe that you can make in less than 30 minutes and you can use whatever you have in your fridge and pantry.
Start with the Beyond Burgers and just add: minced garlic and ginger, smoky paprika, Ancho chili flakes and soy sauce. Use vegan Worcestershire if you have it, but I am currently waiting on a shipment of items that include vegan Worcestershire…still. My brand comes from the UK but if any of you have recommendations, drop them in the comments section!
Mix everything together in a bowl and form into small-ish, bite sized cruelty free meatballs.
I was feeling lazy so i popped them in the oven on 225°C for about 15 to 18 minutes and as you can see, they became nice and crispy without losing any of that signature juiciness that defines them.
The soup part of the equation was simple: my new favorite thing, waste-free vegan broth! You might need to add a little of this and a little of that to get the right flavor profile, but it shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.
As you can see, I made Udon noodles for my husband and Ramen noodles for myself because we have different tastes and it was no big deal to make two types. Cook the noodles according to the package, just using broth instead of plain old water.
Garnish with fresh scallions, lime juice and Sriracha and voila, a quick and easy vegan lunch guaranteed to satisfy your appetite.
Healthy tip:If you love Ramen noodles the way I do, then you probably REALLY love how calorie friendly they are, right? Well you’ll have to weigh the Ramen after you cook them to get the most accurate calorie count. Those little 60 gram packages total up to about 150 grams once cooked. Don’t take my word for it though, invest in a food scale. This is the one I have. It’s basic but it gets the job done. Oh, and it’s battery operated.
And if you’re feeling a little grown up, add a cocktail. I totally just used this opportunity to break out the new rum, though. It wasn’t completely necessary but appreciated and satisfying.
This was just ice cold rum with lime zest and brown sugar on the rim. It was delicious and refreshing, especially if you like a little heat with your favorite Ramen noodle soup.
One of life’s greatest gifts, as far as this home chef is concerned, is noodles. Asian noodles or pasta, you name it and I love it. Crave it. Make it often.
Noodles, in general, are an easy go to for a lazy or busy vegan. Just add veggies and you’re good to go!
For this particular meal, I took a quick but flavorful route.
My plan started out simple enough: get a good oil-free caramelization on the leeks, ginger and garlic, toss with udon noodles and sauce. Top with pickled carrots & scallions. The End. Somehow the soya strips got added and here we are, so this is what you do.
What you’ll need:
Udon noodles (I prefer Sukina brand fresh noodles but use what you can find), TVP or tofu or your favorite protein, carrots, ginger, garlic, scallions, lemons, leeks, curry and seasonings.
When it comes to choosing ingredients for your noodle dish, stick to what you like and what you know…and do NOT be afraid of your vegetables! I had intended to keep this simple, no soya pieces but somehow they ended up in the dish anyway.
Shave the carrots & thinly slice the scallions and toss into a small bowl. Add salt, black pepper, lemon juice (at least 1, maybe 1.5 lemons’ worth), agave syrup or other sweetener, cider or rice vinegar. Toss until coated and set aside, giving it a good mix every now and again for an even quick pickling.
Next, take the leeks, ginger and garlic and saute until done, about 10 minutes, adding herbs and spices like curry, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne, garam masala, during the cooking process. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions and toss with leek mixture.
Top with pickled carrots and extra scallions and you’ve got a quick vegan lunch and a pretty awesome carb fix on your hands!