Lately I’ve been feeling reflective. Maybe it’s because it’s been 10 years since we got our first book deal. Maybe it’s because it’s my 20-year anniversary of being vegan this fall. These sorts of anniversaries give experiences an arbitrary bookend that let you see how much, or little, has changed over time. But I don’t think I’m alone in this though. 2023 feels like a year all of us are looking back, taking stock of our lives, and asking if this is where we’re meant to end up. I have the same experience looking at old recipes I’ve written. Sometimes I love them, other times I’m very aware of the distance between who I am now, of my current taste, and who I was when I finished a certain older recipe. This week is one of those times.
I recently stumbled on a recipe online for a very simple winter stir-fry noodle dish I wrote over a decade ago. I had forgotten all about it but once I glanced it over, I knew it would no longer do. It’s no secret that I love noodles in all their forms. I could do a whole book on my lifelong love affair with pasta. So that old recipe got under my skin and I had to fix it. I couldn’t disrespect noodles like that.
Here is my updated take on a homemade, sort-of vegetable chow mein. I paired it with some cubes of baked tofu based on the recipe in our first book but it would be equally delish with the pan-seared tofu recipe on the site. There are tons of noodles that would work here, like udon or even rice noodles, but I used these wheat noodles that had been patiently waiting in the back of my pantry. Despite their annoying packaging, they were easy to use and affordable as hell. I urge you to STAY CALM at the mention of vegan oyster sauce. No, it doesn’t taste like oysters or anything from the sea. It’s sweet, salty, and adds a certain something to the dish. You’ll find it near the hoisin sauce at the store and the vegan version is surprisingly easy to find. No luck? Use hoisin. If you don’t like broccoli, you could sub in another equally fiber-filled veggie like asparagus. The bean sprouts are optional but worth it if you can find them. Same goes for the dark soy sauce. You can get away with a delish dish without it but it’s worth hunting down at a grocer that stocks Cantonese ingredients if you have the time. It takes the whole dish to a whole other level. I promise. We’re done disrespecting noodles around here.
Pan-Fried Vegetable Noodles
Make enough for 4 people
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