Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spicy Noodle Bowl with Mushrooms and Spinach

Continuing with my mushroom theme, tonight I decided to go with a Japanese-style noodle bowl made with shiitakes and enokis.

  • 12 ounces Match pork
  • 8 cups vegan beef broth (prepared from Not Beef bouillon)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 6 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
  • 4 ounces somen
  • 3 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 and 3/4 cups enoki mushrooms*
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Thaw and cook the pork ahead of time, as it will be added to the soup already-cooked.  Grilling and sauteeing both work well to cook Match meats, and I chose the latter.  I recommend cutting the 12 ounces into 6 or so smaller pieces and flattening into 1/4-inch thick patties before cooking, so they heat all the way through.  Thinly slice the cooked pork and set aside until ready to make the rest of the soup.

2. Combine the beef broth, water, ginger, and crushed red pepper in a Dutch oven and bring to a simmer.  Add the shiitake mushrooms; continue to simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in the somen; cook for 2 minutes, until the noodles are tender.

3. Stir in the cooked pork, spinach, enoki mushrooms, green onions, and salt; cook for a final minute.  Sprinkle with the cilantro.

Because the soup is light, go ahead and serve alongside something hearty; right now I can't get enough of the vegan dumplings from Macro Vegetarian.

*Enokis are a wild looking mushroom - long and thin like a needle.  I have the best memory of eating fried enokis at a restaurant in Thailand - delicate and indulgent all at once.  

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (1 and 3/4 cups), Calories 232

Tasting Notes:
One bite and I swear I thought I was dining in a Japanese restaurant.  Lusciously salty broth redolent with the ginger, green onions, cilantro, and red pepper.  The mushroom, pork, and noodles were delicious little bits floating about just waiting to be slurped up.  Use both a spoon and chopsticks, otherwise you risk leaving all those noodles behind in the bowl.  Excellent. 


Vegan Extra:
Want even more mushroom ideas?  No need for anything fancy; there are dozens of ways to gobble up this plant-based source of vitamin B12.  Here are just a few:

Button mushrooms - saute and season in more ways than you can count; cumin, curry, chipotle chile powder, lemon, and onion are all flavors that work great with this versatile little fungus.

Cremini mushrooms - actually the baby version of portobello.  Saute them or roast them with a little bit of garlic, thyme, and balsamic vinegar- yum.  Or just serve them raw with your favorite dip - yum yum.  Equally delicious marinated.

Morels - you'll probably have better luck finding these dried than fresh, but luckily the dried version reconstitutes well in hot water.  Serve with Gardein beef in a red wine sauce, stirred into pasta with (soy or nut) cream sauce, or for a decadent brunch with scrambled tofu - add the Vegg for authentic yolky flavor.

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