I’m an omnivore in every sense, but I aim to have vegetarian meal days twice a week as a preference. Doing this not only allows me to eat a larger variety of vegetables, but also is cheaper than eating meat, is more sustainable, and forces me to learn how to make meals that don’t use meat as a crutch. This veggie noodle bowl does just that.

Inspired by a local vegetarian restaurant, this noodle bowl packs in so much flavour, incorporates a large variety of vegetables, and is my go-to meal since it’s one of the easiest and fastest meals anyone can make. This recipe can also be vegan and/or gluten free if you substitute a few ingredients with others (I’ll be highlighting those substitutes). This is an incredibly dynamic dish as you can pick and choose what vegetables you want to add depending on your preference, almost any leafy green works!

The protein of the recipe is the sweet soy sauce marinated tofu, with an addition of the All Purpose Peanut Sauce recipe I posted earlier this week! If you wish to add meat to the bowl, you absolutely can by just substituting the tofu and keeping the marinade the same!


INGREDIENTS & COSTS FOR 1 LARGE BOWL
Takes approx. 15 minutes to make

Marinated Tofu:
1/4 block of Firm Tofu ($0.62)
1/2 Tsp of Corn Starch ($0.006)
1 Tsp of Dark Soy Sauce (regular works fine if you don’t have dark, this just has a richer flavour) ($0.01) – Can be substituted to be GF
1/2 Tsp of Cumin ($0.02)
1/4 Tsp of ground Szechuan Peppercorn (you can use regular pepper, but I highly recommend a trip to Chinatown to get this peppercorn!)
1 Tsp Sesame Oil ($0.07)
1 Tsp Honey (or Maple Syrup if you want a vegan recipe) ($0.05)

The Bowl:
1/3 – 1/2 of a sheet of Thai Vermicelli (rice) noodles depending on appetite! Each package usually comes with 3 sheets ($0.20)
1/3 cup Broccoli (or Chinese Broccoli) ($0.19)
2 heads of Baby Bok Choy (and/or Nappa Cabbage, Kale, Spinach, the list goes on!) ($0.50)
1/4 cup Zucchini ($0.19)
1/3 a Bell Pepper (Green, Orange, Red, Yellow – pick your preference!) ($0.70)
1/3 cup of Thai Peanut Sauce ($0.46)
1 Green Onion to garnish ($0.09)
Cilantro to garnish ($0.08)

Total Cost: $3.18

Compared to the restaurant cost of $19 per bowl!

*Depending the cost of the ingredients in your area, the cost may be more or less. I live in a fairly inflated part of town, so chances are your cost will be less.

Need the proof? Head down to the bottom of this page!


DIRECTIONS

First the tofu. This is the main marinade I use for the majority of meals I make with tofu, mainly because it gives it a great crunchy crust but still keeps the salty and sweet taste of the soy sauce and honey. First cut 1/4 of the block for 1 bowl (I got greedy and cut 1/3rd and had left over tofu!).

tofu_1

Take the left over tofu, fill a container with water, and store it away for other meals! Next, slice the tofu to be about 1cm thick, and then cut again diagonally.

tofu_3

Use 2 pieces of paper towels and squeeze excess water out of the tofu by pressing down on it on both sides. This allows the tofu to soak up more of the marinade. After drying, take a small bowl and combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey (or maple syrup), cornstarch,  Szechuan pepper, and cumin. Stir it all together, put the tofu in a different container, and pour the mix on top of the tofu. Now mix! Or shake! Whatever floats. While doing this, put a pot of water on boil.

marinated_tofu2

Let the tofu marinate for a bit. You can chop up your veggies now! The great thing about this bowl is that you can really add in anything you want! Any leafy green works perfectly, or anything you would put in a salad. I decided to cut up bok choy, Chinese broccoli, orange peppers, and zucchini. Chop up the scallions and cilantro as well to act as your garnish. I don’t recommend you skip on this step, the two herbs really tie the dish together.

veggie_bowl_vegetables

By this time your tofu should be marinated enough, put a tablespoon of canola oil in a pan and put it on the stove on medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, use a pair of tongs and fry the tofu on each side for about 30 seconds to make sure its nice and crispy. Once the tofu’s skin is well cooked, take another paper towel and transfer the tofu from the pan onto the towel to let it collect excess oil. Keep the leftover oil in the pan for our next step!

marinated_tofu

Time to boil the noodles! By now the water should be boiling. Break off a piece of the rice noodles, I’ve made the mistake of cooking 1/2 a package for 2 people too many times – trust me it’s definitively going to be MORE than what you expect!

rice_noodles_gluten_free

Read the instructions on the package, but they should be ready within 3-5 minutes. Feel free to check after 3 to see if it’s soft to your own liking.

Once the noodles start to cook, toss all your vegetables in the pan you cooked the tofu in (except the garnish!) on medium heat. Cover the pan with a lid and wait for it to get hot. When the vegetables start to steam, take the lid off and splash a teaspoon of soy sauce on and stir for about 15 seconds. Take the pan off the heat.

By this time your noodles should be cooked! Drain the noodles, quickly rinse them in cold water, and place them in a bowl. Now you can assemble your veggie bowl! Add in the tofu and the veggies.

veggie_asian_noodle_bowl_vegan2

Now pour on peanut sauce and you have a delicious healthy, vegetable-packed, gluten free noodle bowl even a carnivore would enjoy. And all for under $3.25 compared to the restaurant cost of $19!

asian_noodle_bowl_peanut_sauce5

I’d love to hear feedback (good or bad) or any tips! Don’t hesitate to comment! Enjoy! 🙂


INGREDIENT COSTS

I’m referring to a Loblaws (a generic grocery chain in Canada) receipt, weekly flyer, and their website.

1 block (420 g) of Rooster Tofu ($2.49)
500 g No Name 100% Pure Corn Starch ($2.29) – $0.46/100g
500 ml Rootster Superior Dark Soy Sauce ($1.99) – $0.40/100ml
400 g Suraj Cumin ($3.49) – $0.87/100g
443 ml LKK Pure Sesame Oil ($6.99) – $1.59/100ml
500 g Farm Boy™ Pure Ontario Honey ($4.99) – $0.99/100g
454 Rice Stick Vermicelli Noodles, small ($2.29) – $0.50/100g
1 Broccoli crown ($0.99)
1 bag of Baby Bok Choy ($1.99)
1 Zucchini ($0.79)
1 Orange Bell Pepper ($2.10)
1 cup of homemade peanut sauce ($1.39)
1 bunch of green onions ($0.79)
1 bunch of Cilantro ($2.49)

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