Easy vegetarian noodles packed with a rainbow of vegetables, and they’re much healthier than take-out.
First of all, let’s be clear about something: these are noodles. Noodles with an ‘n’.
Not zoodles (zucchini noodles), not toodles (tofu noodles), not koodles (kelp noodles or konjac noodles), not swoodles (sweet potato noodles), not boodles (butternut squash noodles) and not coodles (carrot or cucumber noodles). Nope, they’re noodles.
Actually, that’s a little misleading given that I used spaghetti instead of authentic Asian noodles. But you get the point, right? Spiralized vegetables and gelatinous strings made from Japanese ‘potatoes’ or deep-water algae may be all the rage right now, but they’re either a poor substitute for noodles (at best) or horrendous (at worst).
So today we’re keeping it real – and al dente – by using classic, comforting pasta/noodles, loaded up with vegetables and an easy Chinese-inspired sauce.
These are the noodles I make when I have a craving for Chinese take-out, but would like to avoid the whole ‘face full of grease’ feeling.
I also wanted to avoid buying a bunch of ingredients, only to end up with a ton of sauce bottles just sitting in my fridge or pantry. Honestly, I have enough random ingredients in my kitchen without buying hoisin sauce or rice wine.
So, to keep things simple and pantry-friendly, the sauce for these noodles is made from a handful of easily-available ingredients: vegetable broth (stock), soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, cornstarch (cornflour), ground ginger and red pepper or chili flakes.
Now let’s talk vegetables: there are tons of them. While I don’t hold vegetable ‘noodles’ in high esteem, I do love vegetables! Don’t fret if you don’t have the exact combination of vegetables that I used – realistically, whatever you have on hand should be fine. This is one of those recipes where you can add or remove ingredients without too much drama.
Just don’t go overboard and add too many vegetables (or other ingredients), or else there may not be enough sauce to go around. And that, of course, would be tragic.
If you have leftover noodles, then you’re in luck because you can freeze them! One thing I’ve discovered since starting this blog is that you can freeze almost anything. Slices of cake, enchiladas, muffins, cookies and noodles can all be stashed in your freezer and defrosted when needed.
To make things easy, divide the freeze the noodles in single or double-sized servings (they’ll defrost faster that way). Alternatively, the noodles can be stored in the fridge for up to two days.
Typically I’ll eat these noodles just as they are, but for a more filling and balanced meal, try serving the noodles with your protein of choice – such as spicy tofu, honey shrimp/prawns or plenty of toasted cashews. Whatever works for you.
And one last thing: tomorrow is Bastille Day! Yes, that has nothing to do with these Chinese-inspired noodles. (That being said, until very recently my Dad believed duck à l’Orange was a Chinese dish. Really).
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (cornflour)
- ½ cup (120mL) vegetable broth
- ¼ cup (60mL) soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of red pepper or chili flakes
- 8 oz (230g) spaghetti or noodles
- 1 tablespoon (15mL) olive oil
- ½ medium onion, thinly sliced
- Pinch of salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, julienned
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 cup (90g) chopped baby corn
- 2 cups (80g) sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1 bok choy, sliced
- 1 tablespoon (15mL) sesame oil
- For the sauce: In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, vegetable broth, soy sauce, honey, ground ginger and red pepper (or chili) flakes. Set aside.
- For the noodles: Cook the spaghetti in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 2 minutes less than the time specified on the packet instructions. Drain, rinse under cold water, and set aside.
- In a large, deep skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 3 – 5 minutes, or until the onion is tender and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Turn up the heat to medium-high. Add the bell pepper, carrots, celery and baby corn. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened slightly.
- Add the shiitake mushrooms. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, and then add the bok choy. Pour in the sauce, and cook for another 2 minutes to thicken the sauce.
- Stir in the cooked spaghetti, and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the spaghetti is hot and tender. Add the sesame oil, and gently toss to combine.
- Serve with any desired toppings or side dishes.
Instead of the cloves, you can use 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic or garlic paste
If you can find vegetarian chicken-style broth – also known as stock – that would be ideal (or, of course, use actual chicken broth)
Carrots and Bell Peppers
Julienned carrots = Chopped into matchsticks
Bell peppers are also known as a capsicums
Recipe inspired by Damn Delicious