The Best Vegetable Chow Mein

Sorry, I know I've been a bit absent. We finally moved completely into our new little house and the old one is history! Unfortunately, the computer was one of the last things to go because we didn't yet have internet at our new place and thus, no posts. You have my sincerest of apologies. But now I'm back!  Onto today's post. The first post and photos done in our new place! Anyway, one day, in the big city Anchorage while shopping for our new couch I stopped to get some quick dinner . Shopping really takes it out of me and I needed something totally delicious to take my mind off the task at hand and refresh my decision making skills. I decided to stop at New Sagaya (a local health food/ethnic grocer) to see what they had available. 

What I found was a vegetable chow mein. Not my usual lunch fare, but I thought what the heck. Sweet sassy molassy! Upon tasting these mind-blowing noodles I asked myself, "Why haven't I been eating chow mein every damn day of my life?" 

Since that very fateful day (we did find a couch too, afterall) I couldn't stop thinking about the chow mein. I knew I needed to make it myself. So, I lowered my standards. Like, super low. So, sooo low. I'd never made it before! Well, when my chow mein was done and I tasted was exactly like the one I had bought at New Sagaya, albeit less greasy, which I was very pleased about. It was uncommonly delicious.

Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein

There are a few tips and tricks regarding this recipe that will indeed gift you with the best chow mein you've ever made.

- First, I did a little research on chow mein noodles by consulting America's Test Kitchen to find the best type to use. They recommend the tangled chow mein noodles as opposed to the straight kind and be sure they are not fried! You'll want dried noodles as well, not fresh. I read that if you're not blessed with finding said noodles, to substitute regular dried linguine instead. I know, sounds crazy but ATK has never let me down. 

- Second, undercook those little chow mein mofos. Trust me. Not normal ol' al dente, they should be even more underdone. There is a lot of sauce in my recipe (I admit, this was 90% by complete accident) but the undercooked noodles will soak it all right up and they will be the perfect texture and have the perfect taste. I know, genius. Even if a little by accident...

Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein

So, prepare to amaze your friends, family, and yes, even yourself with your awesome ability to create the most perfect vegetable chow mein. These perfectly textured noodles are infused with a homemade Asian sauce and tangled with sauteed Napa cabbage, carrots, and rich Shiitake mushrooms. 

Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein
Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein
Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein
Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein

The Best Vegetable Chow Mein

Serves 6-8

  • Sustenance:
  • 1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted (or 8 oz. fresh)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil or canola oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large carrots, matchsticked 
  • 1 medium Napa cabbage, chopped
  • 2 6 oz. packages of tangled chow mein noodles, dry (not the fried kind!)
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced on the diagonal 
  • Sauce:
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. vegan sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce
  • dash of crushed red pepper
  • sesame seeds (for garnish)

Notes & Tips: It's important to use the right noodles! Find the non-fried chow mein noodles that are tangled, as opposed to straight. The noodles should be undercooked. There will seem to be an excess of sauce, but the undercooked  noodles will soak it all up!

In a medium bowl, add the dried mushrooms and cover with a substantial amount of boiling water. Allow to rest until ready to use, at least 20 minutes. 

In a very large rimmed frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-low. Add the garlic and saute for a couple minutes, until fragrant. Now, add the carrots and saute about 3-5 minutes, while preparing the cabbage. 

Add the cabbage and saute until almost tender and wilted. This can be done in batches if the pan won't accommodate all the cabbage at once. 

Meanwhile, bring a very large pot of water to boil. While the water is coming to a boil, whisk together the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl or measuring cup.

When ready, remove the mushrooms from the water with a slotted spoon. Slice and add to the veggies.

Add the noodles when the pasta water comes to a boil and cook only 3 minutes. They need to be undercooked. Drain and add to the veggies along with the green onions. Stir well to combine. 

Pour the sauce into the noodle/veggie mixture and continuously stir over medium-low until the liquid is almost completely gone. It'll be ready when the noodles start to stick to the bottom of the pan a bit.

Remove from heat and serve hot, garnished with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein


Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein
Produce On Parade - The Best Vegetable Chow Mein

German Word of The Day: Absent --> abwesend (ahp-veeis-nt)

Good Deed of The Day: Help Free the "Sentosa 25" from Resort World in Sentosa SingaporeTwenty-five bottlenose dolphins that once roamed free and wild are now facing a life of captivity and sadness as permanent residents of Resorts World - Sentosa, Singapore. These dolphins were captured in the waters of the Solomon Islands and are now being kept in the Philippines while the new facility at Resorts World Sentosa is being built. Two of them have already tragically died.


Amazing Vegan Stir Fry

Prepare to be amazed. Restaurant worthy dish right here! Stir fry is always good, but this stir fry is truly, in a word...amazing. That's really all I have for today. No angry rant about animal rights, no talk of the fact that my birthday is in less than one week (fingers crossed for a small, furry animal companion). Nope, just this awesome-sauce stir fry. Produce On Parade - Amazing Vegan Stir Fry

Well, I would like to add that I get unnecessarily excited about my birthday. It's my day to make whatever outrageously grotesque, over-the-top dessert I want. It has to be completely incongruous to a shocking degree. Oh yes, I go for the big leagues. Sometimes I even make more than one!

It's my day to pretty much just jam out to my own beat. Katie all day. Non-stop. That means cooking and grocery shopping (without being rushed), plants are usually involved, and of course most of the day is spent singing out regular everyday conversations to Todd (think New Girl style). And not wearing pants. Obviously. It's clearly the most glorious day of my year. 

Produce On Parade - Amazing Vegan Stir Fry

This stir fry is straight up amazing. Fresh veggies sauteed in a delicious and easy homemade stir fry sauce marry with baked tofu so golden brown that even the pickiest eaters will love this dish. If you're not vegan or even vegetarian, or hate tofu, or your partner hates tofu...I double-dog-dare you to try this recipe and tell me you didn't like it. Do itYou're going to love it! Trust me. 

Amazing Vegan Stir Fry

Serves 4

Notes: Feel free to add sliced carrots or red pepper in your stir fry. I'm not partial to them in mine, but I know they are classic stir fry additions. Also, really try to find the vacuum packed tofu! If you can't then the kind that comes in the plastic bin can be used, but it will need to be pressed for 30 minutes prior to use. I ate this on it's own, but feel free to serve over rice, quinoa, couscous, or millet. 

  • Tofu:
  • 1 20 oz. package of vacuum packed extra firm tofu, cubed
  • Veggies:
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 cup snow peas, halved on a diagonal
  • 1 cup canned baby corn, diagonally sliced
  • 1 cup asparagus, diagonally sliced
  • Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup liquid amino acids or soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. corn starch
  • red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 400 F. Dry off the tofu with a few paper towels then cube into bite size pieces. Coat a baking sheet with a nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the tofu, so no pieces are overlapping. 

Bake at 400 F for about 35 minutes until the tofu is dry and golden brown. Remove and turn off oven. Set aside until ready to use. 

Produce On Parade - Amazing Vegan Stir Fry

Meanwhile, prepare the veggies. In a large frying pan or wok, heat the sesame oil over medium-low. Then, add the veggies and saute for about 8 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. 

Produce On Parade - Amazing Vegan Stir FryProduce On Parade - Amazing Vegan Stir Fry

While the veggies are sauteing, whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl or pyrex measuring cup. Then, add to the veggies and stir well to coat. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, then cover and cook for 3 more minutes or until the broccoli is tender. Add the baked tofu and stir well to combine. 

Produce On Parade - Amazing Vegan Stir Fry

Serve hot. This stir fry can be eaten alone as I did, or served over rice, quinoa, couscous, or millet. 

Produce On Parade - Amazing Vegan Stir FryProduce On Parade - Amazing Vegan Stir Fry

Just chair dancing my little butt off while singing my little heart out to this song. Sing with me!

[soundcloud url="" params="color=62ab98&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

German Word of The Day: Stir fry --> Gemüsepfanne (pronounced: gehmoozeup-fameh) Gemüse means vegetables and Pfanne means pan, cool huh?!

Good Deed of The Day: Have you heard about "soring" with regards to horses? It's where unscrupulous trainers deliberately inflict pain on the horses in order to exaggerate their high-stepping gait to gain unfair competitive advantage at horse shows. They use caustic chemicals, chains, hoof knives and grinders, sharp objects, weighted shoes, and other painful devices and techniques that make it hurt for the horse to step down. Sickening, huh? Let's put a stop to it. Sign the petition, here.

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Restaurant Worthy Hot & Sour Soup

If you like hot and sour soup. This is the real deal. No restaurant necessary. 

Produce On Parade - Restaurant Worthy Hot & Sour SoupI wouldn't joke about this. I take my restaurant-worthy dishes very seriously.

This soup made me dance on my little tippy toes around the kitchen. Seriously. I've never been a particularly fervent hot and sour soup fan though, I always went the egg drop soup route. I loved me some egg drop soup. Nevermore! This soup is the bees knees

Produce On Parade - Restaurant Worthy Hot & Sour Soup

So hot and sour! Well...kind of hot. I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to spicy foods. Unless we're talking ginger or wasabi. I'm all about that type of spicy! When I get sushi, I dip the pickled ginger into the wasabi and eat it plain, okay? You're impressed. I know. Watch out, BA comin' though. 

Feel free to add as much ground fresh chili paste as you'd like to this soup. I stuck with 1/2 tsp. because, like I said, a bit of a wimp here. I've made my peace with it. I just have dainty taste buds, okay?

Restaurant Worthy Hot & Sour Soup

Serves 4-6

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. cubed seitan, chopped (or ground plant-based meat)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 lb. firm tofu, cubed small
  • 10 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. vegan sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground fresh chili paste, to taste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach, torn (optional)

Notes: I added a bit of spinach, because that's how I roll but feel free to omit it if you like. 

In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium-low. Add the garlic, ginger, green onions, and seitan. Saute for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and the seitan begins to brown.

Produce On Parade - Restaurant Worthy Hot & Sour Soup(Do you like the repurpose of egg holder? It's a garlic holder now!) Add the water and the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Now, add the remaining ingredients, excluding the cornstarch and the spinach and stir well. 

Produce On Parade - Restaurant Worthy Hot & Sour SoupIn a small bowl, add about 1/2 cup of the soup broth. Whisk in the cornstarch until clump-free. Stir the mixture back into the soup to thicken it. 

Add the torn spinach and continue to simmer until the spinach has wilted and the soup has thickened slightly from the cornstarch. 

Remove from heat. Let the soup rest for a few minutes before serving.

Serve hot. 

Produce On Parade - Restaurant Worthy Hot & Sour Soup Produce On Parade - Restaurant Worthy Hot & Sour Soup

Jammin' along to Josh Rouse – It's Good To Have You

"Coffee and a toast and a peppermint tea It's a little too cold to go outside  Wonder what would happen if you lived with me,  Oh oh, I got the feeling that it'd turn out nice Oh oh, it feels good to have you in my life."

German Word of The Day: Worthy --> Würdig (pronounced: ver-dich)

Good Deed of The Day: Sometimes I really hate our species. Sign this petition and help the Defenders of Wildlife tell the US Government to stop using your tax money to kill coyotes from planes. For real. I'm not onboard with that. 

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