Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Asian Vegetarian Noodle Bowl Hits the Spot!

Even though it's summer, I seem to be on a soup craze! That's what air conditioning is for, right? My friend told me her father, who was from the South where it's quite muggy, always wanted to eat chili in the summer because he said the heat from the chili made him feel cooler. I don't know if it's true, but it's worth a try.

For tonight's dinner, I was inspired by lots of fresh ginger and Napa cabbage that I got in my produce box. I made a Tofu, Veggie Soba Noodle bowl. I used mushrooms, Napa cabbage, fresh ginger, and chopped cilantro at the end. Soba noodles are Japanese buckwheat noodles are a complex carbohydrate with fiber, ideal for slow-burning energy. Check out this Cooking Light recipe for additional info on Soba noodles and quick summer salad entree idea - Soba Noodle Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

This quick recipe is really easy because you can take advantage of pre-made soup and sliced mushrooms from the store. Tofu only needs a quick chop and it's ready to use. This hearty, vegetarian meal is packed with nutrition of the fresh ingredients and though it doesn't have meat, your not going to miss it!

Tofu, Veggie Soba Noodle Bowl (about 4-6 servings)

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8oz pre-sliced mushrooms (cut smaller, if desired)
  • 8 leaves Napa cabbage, stems sliced separately and leaves reserved
  • 14oz container of extra firm low-fat tofu, drained and chopped
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cups water
  • 32oz container of prepared miso soup (prefer Whole Foods 365 brand)
  • 8oz Soba noodles (Japanese buckwheat noodles)
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • Preheat large stockpot or dutch oven to medium heat. Chop onion and slice Napa cabbage stems. Reserve leaves. I cut on an angle, like a triangle along the line of the stem.
  • Add olive oil to pot and onion and cabbage stems with crushed garlic. Saute for 2 minutes, then add chopped mushrooms. Grate fresh, peeled ginger over the vegetable mixture. The vegetables will be very fragrant, which helps flavor the tofu.
  • Drain and chop tofu into bite-size pieces. Add to the vegetable mixture when the mushrooms have released their moisture, about 4-5 minutes.
  • To the pot, add 3-4 cups water and miso soup. Increase the heat to high to bring to a boil.
  • After water is up to a boiling temperature, add soba noodles and reduce heat to medium-high. After 5 minutes, add sliced cabbage leaves and chopped cilantro.
  • When the noodles are tender, the noodle-soup bowl is ready to serve. Use tongs to serve the noodles in the middle of a large shallow bowl and then the soup ladle to grab broth and veggies.
Optional Seasoning: instead of adding salt, add low-sodium soy sauce or my favorite, Liquid Aminos, which adds soy sauce-like flavor without adding lots of sodium. You can buy it at health food stores and for the best price, Whole Foods.

Nutrition Information (estimates using The Daily Plate): 386 calories, 5g fat, 20g protein, 68g carbs, 8g fiber, 900mg sodium, and 0g cholesterol.

NOTE: This meal may need to be balanced with lower sodium foods throughout the day. Miso soup has a lot of sodium overall. I tried to add water to thin it out per serving.

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