Earlier this week, I needed something to go with two salmon filets I was baking. Since I was craving some carbs, and it was a little too late to whip up a batch of bread … and I wasn’t patient enough to wait for brown rice to cook, I decided pasta was the way to go. The salmon was marinated in a sesame-soy concoction, generally Asian inspired, so I was excited when I spotted some udon noodles in the cupboard (to keep with the theme of course!).
I literally threw the noodles together with a simple veggie saute I created, and it turned out to be the star of the meal. We both agreed that the noodles had a Ramen-esque flavor, taking us back to the MSG-rich days of our childhoods. Obviously, I used a fair dose of sodium, between the wee bit of soy sauce and those few dashes of salt, but I dare say the dish was pretty healthy overall.
After the success of that throw together dish, my cravings lingered on … so much so that I had to attempt a re-creation just two nights later. Don’t misunderstand, this is a very basic dish, not earth-shattering in creativity by any means. But as mentioned before, it is often the simple flavors that get me most!
I ate this as a meal, it was rather filling, but yes, no “protein.” Sometimes I just crave veggies and carbs. If you want to add some protein, be my guest … meat, eggs, tofu, sliced almonds, chopped peanuts, whatever works for you! Hmm, I didn’t think to sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds, that might be nice too.
Easy Veggie Udon
This recipe is Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Protein-Free, and Optional Gluten-Free
- 8 Ounces Udon Noodles (may substitute other noodles in a pinch; for gluten-free I recommend Eden’s all buckwheat soba noodles or rice noodles)
- 3 Tablespoons Sesame Oil, divided
- 3 Carrots, peeled into large shreds using a vegetable peeler
- 3 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
- 12 Ounces Mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 1 5-Ounce Bag Baby Spinach Leaves
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce or Wheat-Free Tamari, divided
- 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
- Salt to taste (I used around 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, but I would start with a dash or two and work your way up)
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste or a Few Pinches of Crushed Red Pepper
Cook the noodles according to the package directions.
While those are boiling, heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil over medium-low heat (I do a lower heat to protect the flavor of the oil, but you can up it to medium if you are really hungry).
Add the carrots and saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute just until the mushrooms begin to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the spinach and 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce, and saute for just a couple of minutes, until those leavese start to wilt.
Turn off the heat, and stir in the noodles, garlic powder, remaining 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, and any add-ins (see below), tossing well to ensure everything is coated with those flavors. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in big bowls.
Add-ins: I steamed 12 oz of broccoli florets (about 7 minutes; until crisp tender) and tossed them in along with the noodles. The second time I made it, I also added about 1/2 lb of steamed baby carrots, merely because I didn’t have any whole carrots to shred. I recommend the peeled or shredded carrots (in the recipe) over the steamed chunks, but personal preference.
Yields 3 meal-sized servings