So, I've had mega cravings for all sorts of Asian inspired recipes lately and that's mostly what I've been eating. I pulled out a copy of 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of the East this past grocery day and I've picked out a couple of recipes to make from it. I'm definitely going to be making some Pad Thai (I have't had any of that in awhile!), and the Tofu with Lemon Sauce sounds glorious. The only little problem that I'm running into is that I can't find any Szechuan pepper. It's so ridiculous! I live in a CITY of 80000 people (yes, four zeros there) and none of our grocery stores carry any sort of Szechuan anything. I mean, I could understand if it was something obscure, like pomegranate molasses or berbere or something, but it's not!!! It's a famous Chinese spice blend. My HyVee carried it a couple months ago, but magically, when I want it, it's gone. Ok... rant over...
Le Sigh. I'm still hoping I can find it somewhere. I have one more place to look. If I can't find it, I'm not going to make Kung Pao anything (or Lemon Tofu anything). It'll just have to wait. And yes. I am that ridiculous. This is one of those occasions where a substitute will not suffice! I'm going to Whole Foods next week and I will definitely spend some time browsing the spice aisle (along with pretty much every other aisle...).
Anywho, when I was at the grocery store picking out my maple syrup fix, I looked over my shoulder to see some "soybean spaghetti" from a brand called Explore Asian.
Being intrigued, and deciding that soybean spaghetti might be quite alright, I picked up a bag. Vegan... Organic... Gluten-Free.... 20.5 grams of protein a serving?? For reals?? And I then proceeded to toss that baby in my shopping cart. Today, when lunchtime rolled around, I knew that this was what I would be crafting my meal around. The noodles are kind of thin, but I like them like that, and they would make a good gluten-free substitute for udon or ramen (even though they're not nearly as thick as udon). Since everything was getting all noodle-y up in my kitchen and I was running short on time, I decided to made a quick lo mein. When I opened the package, I thought they smelled a little different and it caught me off guard, but I mean, they didn't smell bad or anything, just like soybeans, I suppose!
My Lo Mein turned out perfect, even though I forgot to oil up the drained noodles and they wound up sticking to each other. The noodles themselves had a pleasant flavor and a good texture (actually, I liked the texture a lot. It reminded me of my beloved, much-missed ramen) and even though I ate lunch at 1:30-ish, I was still satisfied until 5:30. I work second shift and I usually take a "fruit break" (instead of a smoke break) around 4:00 when I start feeling a little snacky, but I wound up working through it because I wasn't ready for my fruit break yet! So, I guess these high protein noodles do a pretty good job of filling me up and keeping me satisfied! I will definitely be buying them again.
Note: The spaghetti takes six minutes to cook, so brown the tofu first while bringing the water to a boil. If you add the chopped veggies to the tofu at the same time you add the spaghetti to the boiling water, everything will come out around the exact same time (just be sure to have the sauce mixed and the veggies prepped!).
High-Protein Lo Mein:
1/2 a tub (9 oz.) of firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed for 15 minutes, drained, and cut into cubes
1/2 a package of soybean spaghetti
1 tsp. walnut oil (or oil of choice)1/2 yellow onion, cut into chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
3 stalks celery, cut diagonally (just for fanciness)
1/2 c. sliced mushrooms (crimini, shittake, white, or a mixture)
2 c. baby spinach, packed
1 1/2 Tb. Bragg's liquid aminos or soy sauce/tamari (keep it gluten-free to make this recipe GF)1 1/2 Tb. sherry (or mirin if you have it)
2 tsp. peanut oil (or oil of choice)
1 tsp. toasted seasame oil1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Big pinch of dried pepper flakes
2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
1. Sauté tofu cubes in a skillet sprayed with nonstick over medium-high heat until golden brown.
2. Meanwhile, boil spaghetti according to package directions (it takes six minutes).
3. Once the tofu, is golden, add the onions, bell pepper, celery, and mushrooms and sauté about 5 minutes.
4. Drain the spaghetti and toss it with the walnut oil. Set aside.
5. Add the baby spinach and the sauce (already mixed together and ready to go) to the tofu mix and sauté everything together for another minute or two until the spinach is wilted. Turn off the heat and add the drained noodles. Toss everything together real good and...
...voila! You now have a quick and easy, high protein lo mein!
This recipe makes two servings. Each serving has about 450 calories and around 14 grams of fat (slightly dependent on how much oil you decide to use), almost 25% of your daily calcium (muy importante!), and 35 grams of delicious, clean, vegan protein. If you can find soybean spaghetti near you, I suggest you give it a try. It's a little different, all gluten-free pastas are, but I like it a lot. Enough to make it my long noodle-y pasta of choice!
Ok, and just to let you all know, I'm pretty much out of school, so be prepared! I have a lot of recipes that I've been piling on my "to make" list and now that I don't have to devote the front half of my day and spare time to school, I can FINALLY start cooking and baking delicious things again. And first things first, I've got a vegan, ALMOND JOY LAYER CAKE to make. My graduation ceremony is Saturday (the 17th) and I decided I wanted a nacho party (with all the fixins') and a cake at home with my family and boyfriend. I'll let you know how that cake turns out (and I hope to do another step-by-step layer cake tutorial, since I have a better camera to take pictures with this time).
Have a great afternoon!