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.