Ramen Noodle Bowls

This is the product of a family dinner where the theme was ramen. Competing next to my meat-eating family, I knew the trick would be in the broth.

I think this is an easy recipe that doesn’t require a ton of prep.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • vegetable broth (2 boxes)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (cut in half)
  • 2 tablespoons crushed/chopped ginger
  • 1 jalapeno (sliced, remove seeds if you want to limit heat level)
  • 2 lime leaves (if you can’t find that, squeeze in lime juice to taste)
  • healthy dash of soy sauce, or salt to taste
  • sesame oil
  • 4 baby bok choy (sliced)
  • 2 boxes shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 bag bean sprouts
  • 2 generous handfuls snow peas (trimmed of the stringy spine)
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced white onion OR chopped scallions/green onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup cubed tofu (you can leave plain or marinate and saute)

Hardware

  • Large stainless steel or enamel cast iron soup pot
  • Slotted spoon
  • Wooden spoon
  • Pasta spoon/fork
  • Large bowl
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Small bowls for soup toppers

Method

  1. In your pot drizzle the sesame oil to coat the bottom. Put over medium-high heat and saute the bok choy and mushrooms.
  2. Once bok choy and mushrooms are cooked through, turn off heat and remove the veggies with your slotted spoon and set aside in the large bowl.
  3. Drizzle a touch more oil in your pot and return to medium-high heat.
  4. Bash the lemongrass pieces with the back of your knife to break it up a bit. This will help all the yummy smells and flavors some out.
  5. Saute the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and lime leaves until your kitchen smells like heaven.
  6. Crank up the heat to high and add all the liquid (broth plus water) and a few slices of jalapeno. The more you add the spicier your broth will be so feel free to go crazy or be wimpy like me. You can dash in a bit of soy sauce or salt at this point. Don’t go crazy since the flavors will intensify as the broth reduces while simmering.
  7. Bring this puppy to a boil (feel free to cover to expedite this process). Once you hit a boil, turn the heat down to medium low and let it simmer for at least 10 minutes. If you can go longer, please do, it’ll help bring out flavors and make your brother super tasty.
  8. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, get your toppings prepped in little serving bowls to create a toppings buffet. If you didn’t use much, or any, jalapeno, this is a good time to have it available for those who want to “kick it up a notch”. Shout-out Emeril. If you want to fry or saute your tofu, now’s the time.
  9. After the simmer is done, toss back in the bok choy and mushrooms and add your ramen noodles.
  10. Once noodles are done, serve up in bowls and go down your toppings line and add all the yummy crunchy things you want.

Pro Tips

  • Use bottled or tubed garlic and ginger – huge time saver
  • Use the noodles from store-bought ramen packets in the soup aisle. You know, that stuff you lived on in college. Toss the flavor packet in the trash (that sh*t is full of nastiness). Bonus – they are stupid cheap.
  • Use pre-shredded carrots. Seriously, who has time to shred carrots?

Bahn Mi Sandos

This phenomenal recipe is courtesy of Love & Lemons

Recipe type: main dish
Serves: 3-4 sandwiches
Ingredients
  • 1 14oz. pkg. extra firm tofu (see notes)
  • olive oil, for the pan
  • fresh baguette, sliced into sandwich sized portions
  • good quality mayo, or vegan mayo
  • a few sprigs of cilantro per sandwich
  • sriracha, to taste
Pickled Veggies:
  • 1 small daikon sliced into matchsticks
  • 2 small carrots, sliced into matchsticks
  • ½ a small cucumber, de-seeded & sliced into matchsticks
  • ½ jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • ¼ (or more) cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ (or more) cup rice vinegar
  • a few pinches of sugar
  • a few pinches of salt
Tofu Marinade:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
  • juice of ½ lime + a little zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • generous amounts of freshly cracked pepper
Instructions
  1. Make ahead (for reals, try to marinate the tofu and pickles a day ahead): Place thinly sliced daikon, carrots, cucumbers, and jalapeños in a medium jar with white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, sugar and salt. If the liquids don’t cover the veggies, add about 2 tablespoons of water and more vinegar if necessary (the amount you need will depend on the size of your jar). Let chill for at least an hour, or store in the fridge for at least a week.
  2. Drain tofu, slice it into approx. ½ inch slices. Place on a towel and gently pat dry to remove excess water.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, tamari, lime, zest, garlic, ginger, and freshly cracked pepper.
  4. Place tofu in a shallow pan and pour the marinade on top. Flip the tofu so that it coats (if it doesn’t coat fully in your pan, add a bit more tamari until all tofu is coated). Let the tofu marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Heat a nonstick skillet to medium-high heat. Add a little oil to the pan and place tofu pieces with enough space between each so that they’re not too crowded (you can cook them in batches). Let the tofu cook (without moving it around too much) for a few minutes per side until they’re deeply golden brown and caramelized (almost blackened) around the edges. Remove from heat. Taste a little piece and add more salt & pepper if necessary.
  6. Assemble sandwiches with mayo, tofu slices, pickled veggies, cilantro and serve with sriracha.
Notes

For seared tofu, use extra firm. Everything else is generally too watery.

For the pickled veggies: if you can’t find daikon, just skip it. And if you’re sensitive to spice, go light on the jalapeños.

Other ideas: add sautéed shiitake mushrooms or slices of avocado. – Yo, this is a MUST, not a suggestion. I also vote for toasting your rolls before schmearing with mayo.