Veggie-Packed Noodle Bowl with Tofu Steaks and Peanut Sauce

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!).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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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Savoury Caramelized Onion Scones

Scones are one of my favourite things to bake. Mainly because I’m absolutely horrible at baking and scones are incredibly easy to make! And for less than $3, you can make a batch of a dozen scones!

I’m much more into savoury flavours than I am to sweet. I find that a caramelized onion scone is a good balance in between both.

*Ingredients & cost calculations below*

The first thing you’ll want to do is to caramelize the onions. I chose to use yellow onions, some people prefer to use sweet onions. Either will do, just don’t use red onions and it’ll be fine! Chop the onion first in half, peel off the skin, cut off the ends, and slice as you go. You’ll most likely get a litter teary at the point.

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Get a thick flat bottom pan, I used a cast iron skillet that I got from a second-hand store for $4.99 that’s been nothing but kind to me, and put it on the stove at a medium-low heat. Throw a tablespoon of butter in the pan. Once the butter melts, toss the onions in and stir occasionally. After about 10 minutes, you’ll see your onions have decreased in size by quite a bit, it’s just getting dehydrated. At this point you can choose the toss in a tablespoon of brown sugar if you want your onions to be a bit more sweet.

Continue cooking the onions for about half an hour, a bit more if you wish for it to be even more caramelized.

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They should look a little bit like the photo above. Take the onions out and put them on a plate or cutting board. Time to chop them up!

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Make sure the pieces resemble small cubes. Now, its time to cool them. Just put the cutting board into the fridge for now. While doing this, heat your oven to 375F.

Before you get started on the scones, make the buttermilk. Just put the milk in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Set it aside and in 10-15 minutes, voila you have buttermilk!

Finally! The scones!

Take the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt and mix it in a large bowl. Next, cut your cold butter into cubes (around 1cm) and knead in with the flour mix, but not too much! This is the worst thing you can do with scones, do not mix in the butter too much, or else the scones won’t be very flaky and you’ll have yourself a batch of biscuits. That’s okay if that’s what you want though.

Next, add in the buttermilk and start mixing! This is when you take the chopped caramelized onions out of the fridge and toss them into the mix. Once everything’s mixed in, transfer the dough to a surface dusted with flour. Roll out the dough and try to flatten by hand so it’s about 1 1/2 inches thick.

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You can now either just take a knife and cut the dough into triangles or use a circular cookie cutter and cut your scones! Once everything’s ready, get a baking sheet and lay out some parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper, aluminum foil will work just fine, spray some Pam on so nothing sticks, and you’re ready to get baking!

I put my scones on the top rack and leave it in for 20 minutes or once it starts getting golden brown. And just under 1 hour you have yourself a batch of flaky, savoury, and delicious caramelized onion scones. And guess what the cost was.. $2.92! Compared to bakery cost of $24+.

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Hope you enjoy my first recipe post!

INGREDIENTS & COSTS FOR 12 SCONES
  • 3 cups flour, and 1/2 cup for your work surface ($0.792)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda ($0.01)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder ($0.122)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar ($0.035)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt ($0.022)
  • 5 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter (salted works too, just omit the salt if you don’t have unsalted), cut into 1cm cubes, plus 1 tablespoon for the onions ($0.96)
  • 1 cup of buttermilk (or if you’re a regular human who doesn’t have buttermilk on hand, 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice gets you the same thing in 10-15 minutes!) ($0.45 for milk and $0.11 for the lemon juice)
  • 2 medium-sized yellow onions ($0.44)

Total Cost = $2.92*

*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?

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

2.5 kg of Five Rose All Purpose Flour ($5.49) – $0.22/100g
225 g of Magic Baking Powder ($3.99) – $1.77/100g
500 g of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda ($1.49) – $0.30/100g
4 kg of Labtic Granulated Sugar ($5.69) – $0.14/g
750 g of Fine Crystal Sea Salt ($5.49) – $0.75/100g
2L of Neilson 1% Partly Skimmed Milk ($3.58) – $0.18/100ml
454 g of Neilson Butter, Salted ($5.99) – $1.31/100g
125ml if ReaLeamon Single Strength Lemon Juice ($0.99) – 0.79/100ml
3lb Farmer’s Market Yellow Onions ($1.99) – $1.56/kg