Vegetarian Peanut Noodle Stir Fry

Sometimes you just need to go outside your comfort zone.  This can be difficult when cooking, cuz I don’t have the funds to break the bank for dishes that might bust, or that I might hate.  But I do like to create a little (aka a lot) diversity when eating…just ask my husband…there are SO MANY FOODS that he’s had since being married, that he had never eaten before, and likely would not eat, if it weren’t for me.  I hope that sentence made sense.

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I try to do a veg dish at least once a week.  It doesn’t always happen, but like I said, I like diversity and I like to try different things, and I want to not have just a meat-packed diet.  I am not a vegetarian-in-the-making by any means, I just like to mix it up.  It also provides some recipes for my vegetarian readers!  This peanut noodle stir fry comes from My Whole Food Life and it was…interesting.  Let me explain.

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1. Rice noodles come in large packages.  The recipe states to use an entire package in this dish.  It fed my husband and I for dinner and created 5 leftover meals.  FIVE.

2. The rice noodles I used said to let the noodles sit in hot water for 30-45 minutes until softened.  I didn’t have 30+ minutes to wait, so I figured it’d go faster if I heated the water.  Well, 10 minutes later, my noodles were very…soft.  And goopy.  And of course I became anxious, that I messed it all up, ruined dinner (my husband is used to this and assured me it would still be fine).  It was still fine, but nothing at all like rice noodles “should” be (like in restaurants).

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3. Tofu was an option ingredient, so I decided to buy tofu to include.  This was my first time cooking tofu.  Ever.  I got the extra-firm tofu (there is nothing worse, in my opinion, than mushy and gross tofu).  I have eaten tofu, like mixed into Phad Thai dishes, and it’s been tasty.  My good friend Spencer also recently made Showering Rama with tofu for my husband and I, and it was delicious.  However, when I was in the kitchen starting dinner, I realized the recipe stated that tofu was an optional ingredient, however did NOT say how to cook it.  That started a 20 minute google search of how to prepare extra firm tofu in a stir fry.  I got a lot of mixed results, but I did enjoy reading tips from Post Punk Kitchen.  I pressed my tofu for about 15 minutes to get the water out, then cut into small cubes.  In the stir fry process, they became tiny and crumbly, which was perfect, especially for non-tofu lovers, you truly won’t notice that it’s there!

4. I ended up adding in some store bought peanut sauce at the end (lame, I know), because the noodles took over SO MUCH, that the peanut sauce I’d made (which lacks some traditional peanut sauce ingredients, to be honest, but was quick and easy) was not nearly enough.

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5. This dish is also easily adaptable!  I don’t like mushrooms and broccoli, so they were only in the picture of my husband’s bowl.  I also added some other veggies to this, for myself.  Similarly, if you MUST eat meat, you can add chicken, or even pork or beef!

Despite all of these “interesting” notes, it was actually a successful dish, but in a very weird way, and my pictures do not look anything like My Whole Food Life’s pictures.  In fact, now that I’m studying them, my pictures look kinda gross.  But it wasn’t gross – I promise!

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Vegetarian Peanut Noodle Stir Fry

serves 6+

Ingredients:
-1pkg rice noodles
-1cu broccoli
-1cu shredded carrots
-4 green onions cut into strips
-1cu sliced mushrooms
-4 stalks celery chopped
-1/3cu peanut butter (peanut allergy click here)
-1/4cu fresh orange juice
-1/4cu soy sauce
-1tsp red pepper flakes
-1pkg firm tofu cubed (optional)

Directions:
-Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions and set aside.
-In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, orange juice, soy sauce and red pepper flakes to set aside for later.
-In a large skillet pan, saute the carrots, mushrooms, celery, broccoli, onions, and pressed tofu for about 5-7 minutes or until they begin to soften.
-Add the sauce from above and saute for another 4-5 minutes.
-Add the noodles and stir.
-Saute until everything is nicely incorporated and remove from the heat.
-Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

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