Easy Breezy Noodle Bowls

I. Love. Noodles. I know that I have argued that tacos and burritos are the world’s best foods, but noodles put up a very good fight for that title. Noodles are versatile AF! There are a million different kinds, all of which are the most fun to eat. There is nothing glamorous to slurping down a big bowl of noodles—perhaps it is the great equalizer we have all sought. Maybe noodles will bring world peace at last.

noodles1
gimme these right now!
A note on terminology: I don’t know if this is actually correct, but to me, a noodle is derived from rice, and pasta is derived from wheat. When people call pasta products “noodles”, I get a mild aneurysm, but then again, I never said I wasn’t compulsive.

I grew up a ramen fanatic, and I never grew out of it. I did, however, grow out of that MSG life. Health nuttiness and packaged food ne sont pas les choses qui vont très bien ensemble, très bien ensemble. I’ve been listening to Rubber Soul a lot lately, can you tell?

Unnecessary and ill-advised Beatles reference aside, my life’s mission is to eat noodles daily, and this is my go-to recipe when I come home from a long day at work and just want to gorge on something that won’t give me heart disease or diabetes #pieloverforlife. This recipe is also one of many in my personal give tofu a chance crusade, the sword I have chosen to fall on. Enjoy, my loves!

Easy Breezy Noodle Bowlsserves 2

prep time: 10 mins / cook time: 10 mins

  • 1 pkg udon noodles
  • 2-3  c. chopped broccoli florets (the broccoli shrinks when cooked!)
  • 1 pkg firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • soy sauce or tamari
  • sriracha
  • sesame oil
  • rice vinegar
  • cornstarch
  • sesame seeds
  • coconut oil for frying
  • agave, optional
  • ginger paste, optional
  • garlic, chopped, optional
  • chopped nori, optional
  • matchstick carrots, optional
  • matchstick cucumber, optional

To start, set a pot of lightly-salted water on to boil. When it reaches boiling, cook your noodles according to package directions. I buy frozen, so it usually takes about 4-minutes of cooking. Drain noodles and set aside.

Next, whisk together your soy sauce mixture. I use a few tablespoons of soy sauce, a squirt of sriracha, and a dash of sesame oil. Optionally, you can add ginger, garlic, and/or agave to this mixture to add more flavor to the final product. But this is the basic 10-minute version of this recipe, so fancy ingredients be damned!

Drain your block of tofu. Press out as much of the water as humanly possible, and then chop into cubes. This is a great guide to pressing tofu! Once cubed, toss the tofu in some cornstarch and pan fry in the oil of your choice—I like to use coconut for this. Fry the tofu until it’s golden on all sides—do your best with this, it’s hard to flip that many little pieces evenly! Then pour your soy sauce mixture over the tofu, toss in the pan until evenly coated, and then remove from heat. Save a little bit of the soy mixture—you’ll want to toss the broccoli in it later!

While the tofu is frying, get out your wok (if applicable) and start cooking your broccoli! I like to cook the broc in sesame oil, because it has such a great flavor. Heat the oil over medium heat, add the broccoli, and stir-fry! I like to let it cook in the oil for a few minutes, and then squirt in a little rice vinegar to help soften the broc (I’ve seen Hibachi chefs do this, so it must be the proper way, right?) After the broccoli has reached your desired texture, drizzle the soy sauce mixture over it, toss, remove from heat, and then proceed to assemble your bowls! Start with noodles, add broccoli, and top with tofu! Sprinkle the whole bowl with sesame seeds, and grab some chopsticks! You’re ready to eat a passably nutritious meal that kicks take-out’s ass any day of the week!


My favorite way to eat this is with an additional sprinkling of chopped nori and some cold matchstick veggies on top (carrots or cucumbers are the way to go). Also, everything tastes better if you eat it with chopsticks, so don’t skimp!

***

That’s it, honeys! I usually have all of these ingredients on hand, so this is a common throw-together lunch in my household. This is also a great starter dish for anyone who is looking to cut a little bit of meat from his or her diet. It’s packed with protein (and probiotics if you add the nori). The above method of preparing tofu ensures a nice crisp on the outside that will have even the most adamant tofu naysayer begging for seconds.

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Homemade Ramen

I grew up a ramen junkie. Granted my lily-white mom called it “Oodles of Noodles” but regardless—I was hooked on that Japanese elixir. Chicken, Shrimp, Oriental—whatever flavor that weird atomized msg dust called itself, I was in.

My father (the main culprit of feeding us ramen) tried to “health it up” with frozen veggies, sesame oil, and dried seaweed, but at the end of the day, ramen-from-the-packet is basically death soup. Exactly nothing about it is nutritious…

UNTIL NOW.

I made this last night and was amazed at how delicious it was. Even better than the packets, with the added bonus of ginger and miso!

Homemade Vegan Ramen

3-5 cloves garlic, chopped (your preference)

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

4 cups veggie broth

2 cups water

2 tbsp miso paste

2 cups chopped broccoli florets

3 organic carrots (cut to matchsticks)

4 oz rice noodles

chopped scallions

sesame seeds

Roasted Tofu Topping

1 pkg tofu

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil

2 tsp sriracha

The tofu topping is easy, so start with that. Preheat oven to 400. Drain extra firm tofu, press out excess liquid. Dice tofu, and lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Drizzle on sesame oil, soy sauce, and sriracha. Bake/roast (depending on your oven) in 5-10 minute intervals, flipping to ensure even cooking. The goal with the tofu is that they’re all evenly coated in flavoring, crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside. Cook for approximately 25 minutes total. Set aside.

To make the ramen, sauté the garlic & ginger in the sesame oil for a few minutes until it smells like heaven in your kitchen. Add the chopped broccoli and carrots. Sauté for a few more minutes, making sure everything gets coated in the sesame oil. If the mixture gets a little dry, drizzle some soy sauce in there. Next, add the broth, water, soy sauce, & miso paste. Mix around until the miso dissolves. Let everything simmer for a few minutes so the carrots can soften. Next, add your noodles. Depending on what type of noodles you have simmer for 5-10 minutes until the noodles are thoroughly cooked. Turn off the heat and add the scallions & a squirt of sriracha.

Ladle into bowls and add the tofu & sesame seeds as a topping. Enjoy!

Do you make from-scratch versions of your favorite junk foods?

—DellaBites