Now that asparagus is in season, it’s easy to find both commercial and organic varieties. Be sure to take advantage of this while it’s easy to get.
Today’s Meatless Monday recipe is based on a longtime favorite of mine that I got from the April 1994 issue of Vegetarian Times. Over the years I’ve made a few tweaks to the original recipe. For example, in the 1990s, Vegetarian Times went through a period of using little to no fat—healthy or otherwise—in their recipes. The two teaspoons of oil they recommend for this recipe is not nearly enough so I increased it to two tablespoons. I also increased the amount of ginger.
Despite the longish list of instructions, this recipe is very simple. Like most stir-fries, it comes together quickly. So it’s best to have all the ingredients sliced, diced and ready to go before you start cooking.
This recipe makes a LOT of food. When I made it last evening, I cut it in half. My partner and I shared it and there’s enough left for another light meal. When I reheat the leftovers, I plan to add more stock and tamari, because the noodles absorb the liquid when they sit overnight.
Meatless Monday: Udon Noodles with Asparagus
- 2 lb. fresh asparagus
- 1 lb. udon noodles
- 3 large carrots, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into 1/8-inch slices
- 2 tablespoons sesame or coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
- 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1-1/4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with 1-1/2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon shoyu
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- Break off the woody bottom ends of the asparagus. They will break naturally where they should.
- Slice off the asparagus tips and set aside.
- Slice the asparagus stalks in 1/2- to 1-inch pieces.
- Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the noodles; cook according to the package directions.
- About 5 minutes before the noodles are done, add the carrots and sliced asparagus stalks. Remove the noodles and veggies with a slotted spoon, rinse in cold water and set aside.
- Cook asparagus tips in the cooking water until crisp-tender, about 3 or 4 minutes.
- Drain and rinse in cold water; set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat.
- Add ginger and mushrooms, and stir-fry over medium heat until mushrooms are soft and begin to weep, about 3 minutes.
- Add stock and bring to a boil. Stir cornstarch mixture into stock.
- Gently stir in carrots, asparagus stalks, noodles and soy sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds and asparagus tips.
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