Autumnal Noodle Bowls

Hi friends! My lovely friend Lydia is an occupational therapist and she and her friend and partner Laura have a consultancy firm specializing in corporate mental health, which is such an important topic. In honour of their Healthy Workplaces Week, I shared a post about some of my favourite tips and recipes for easy and delicious lunches to bring to work, and I would love for you to check it out! They also have great posts on all sorts of work-related subjects, like this one on working smarter, not harder (I think we could all bear to be reminded of that on occasion); and this one on workplace happiness.

autumnal noodle bowls, vegetarian recipe

So temperatures are rapidly dropping around here. On Sunday Pieter and I went for a Thanksgiving-y ‘hike’ (stroll) through the forest-y area in the municipality of Baarn (just outside of Utrecht). It was a gorgeous, crisp sort of day with blue skies and brightly coloured crunchy leaves – very reminiscent of Ontario fall. We were totally fine in light jackets and were outside for the entire afternoon. Then today, after spending most of the day inside working, I stepped out of the apartment and was practically blown away by an icy gust of wind! (Not at all an exaggeration.)

I wasn’t ready for this! I’ve been putting off buying new boots for months, and same goes for a winter jacket. (I love my sleeping bag of a parka, but after six years it’s really starting to look the worse for wear…) I’m the absolute worst at shopping. I don’t know what I want, I don’t trust my own judgement, and even when I really need something I find ways of convincing myself that I don’t, so I essentially end up wearing my clothes until they’re fit for the cast in the opening Work Song from Les Misérables. Not to mention my emphasis on comfort and practicality before anything else. Every year I tell myself I’ll try to class it up – get a pair of slight heels or a sleeker coat so I can alternate – and every year I end up snuggled up in my snow boots and parka, too comfortable to consider the terrible inconvenience and chill of undressing in a store to try on anything new.

If there’s one thing I’m ready for, though, it’s the food of chiller months. Like these autumnal noodle bowls.

autumnal noodle bowl, vegetarian recipe

What makes a noodle bowl autumnal, you ask? Pumpkin. Ginger. Turmeric. Coconut milk. Mushrooms. Slurpable noodles. Oh baby. Comfort and magical healing properties*, rolled into one!

*Or at least deliciousness.

The only things that really matter here are the noodles, the broth, and the mushrooms. The rest is delicious but open to interpretation (or even omission) – I just happen to love the combination of crunchy fried tofu, fresh bean sprouts, and sharp green onion. (Coriander also works great here, but for some reason I wasn’t in the mood when I took these shots!)

autumnal noodle bowl, vegetarian recipe

Has my enthusiasm for fall dwindled since this manic post? Maybe a tad. But I’m quickly powering through Gilmore Girls and I have two friends coming from out of the country for Halloween weekend, so even torrential downpour and grey skies can’t hold me down too long! I’ve never been too keen on Halloween, but I always seem to forget that while ‘abroad’ – where they don’t really celebrate it at all. So I’ve got a whole Pinterest Halloween board going and everything… we’ll see how much of the crafts and snacks I get around to making. (Prediction: maybe one.)

Follow Sophie’s board Halloween on Pinterest.

On the other hand, I am all about pumpkin everything right now (my Gourds board is alive and well!), and that’s got to count for something!

Autumnal Noodle Bowls

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Autumnal Noodle Bowls

Ingredients

For the broth
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup cubed pumpkin (de-seeded and peeled), raw or cooked, OR 1 cup pumpkin purée
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 red chili pepper, de-seeded, optional
salt, to taste
For the filling/toppings
2 servings noodles of choice (I unashamedly use those curly 'ramen' noodles that come in perfect rectangles), cooked according to package instructions
two big handfuls mushrooms of choice
olive oil (or oil of choice), for frying
2 portions firm tofu, cubed
big handful bean sprouts
1 green onion, thinly sliced

Instructions

For the broth
1a. If using cooked or puréed pumpkin, pop everything into a pan over medium heat except for the pumpkin and coconut milk and let simmer for roughly 10 minutes. Then add them, allow to cook through, and remove from the heat.
1b. If using raw cubed pumpkin, start with only the broth and let the pumpkin cook about 10 minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients except for the coconut milk and simmer until the pumpkin is tender, roughly 10 more minutes. Once tender, add the coconut milk and remove from the heat.
2. Let the broth cool slightly, and then blend. I use a hand blender, but if you're using a standing blender, make sure you let the broth cool more, and then work in batches to avoid explosions.
3. If you like, strain the broth. This is useful if your blender isn't super strong (like mine!) so you don't end up with long ginger fibres in your broth.
4. Set aside until ready to eat!
For the mushrooms
1. In a pan over medium-high heat, warm about 1/2-1 tbsp olive oil and then throw in your mushrooms with a pinch of salt.
2. The mushrooms will first lose a lot of moisture but will then turn a lovely golden brown colour.
3. Give them a stir every once in a while (about once a minute or so will do just fine).
4. Cook for about 6-7 minutes, or until you've reached the level of brownness that you want, then set aside.
For the tofu
1. Using the same pan and the same heat, add more oil to the pan - enough to coat the bottom.
2. Carefully drop your tofu in (its high water content means it tends to splatter), add a pinch of salt, then allow to fry about 5 minutes on one side.
3. Flip the tofu and then repeat on the other side, about 3-4 more minutes, or until you're satisfied with the colour - it should be golden brown. Set aside.
For assembly
1. Pop your noodles into a bowl, then spoon over some of that delicious broth.
2. Top with anything your heart desires (listed or not!), then dig in and delight!

Notes

I never bother to press my tofu to get rid of excess liquid - which is probably why it always splatters a bit. As long as I buy firm tofu though I have no problem getting it golden and a crispy, which is why I skip the step in this recipe.

http://feastwithsophie.com/index.php/2015/10/15/autumnal-noodle-bowls/

Comments

  1. says

    I don’t think I’ve seen a more perfect noodle bowl ever! It is already super cold here in New Hampshire and I’m already over it (it’s going to be a long winter). I think the only way I’m going to get through is to make noodle bowls non-stop, so glad this is an easy and healthy recipe. That’s so funny about the ramen rectangles :)

    • sophie says

      I have to say I’m starting to be over the Dutch fall myself!! Haven’t seen the sun in 9 days and counting! 😛 Are ramen rectangles a thing in the US? I’m not even sure they are in Canada, but here it’s the only way you can get them!!

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