I've been waiting for another opportunity to do a Meatless Monday, and finally that time has come! It's always great for the wallet and the waistline to substitute meats with extra veggies or beans or something, and this meal proves that you do not need chicken or beef in a stir-fry dish in order to have something completely filling and satisfying.
I found these Curry-Spiced Noodles in my current issue of Cooking Light Magazine. Since I had just bought a whole jar of mild red curry paste and really wanted to find different ways to use it, I was really excited to find this. It's simple and quick: just chop up an assortment of vegetables, julienne-style, then stir-fry them while cooking a pot of spaghetti noodles. Add in some Indian spices and curry paste, along with garlic and ginger. Simmer briefly in some broth and soy sauce, then toss the whole thing together with the spaghetti. Top with some cashews for crunch, and you're ready to eat dinner. Almost too easy, right?
The original recipe calls for lemongrass, but I wasn't able to get any this time around. I have worked with it before and was kinda iffy about it. It does lend a great aroma and a unique flavor to a dish, but I think last time I did not know how to trim and chop the stalks properly. However, this issue of Cooking Light also features a tutorial on how to tend to lemongrass correctly, so I do want to find some soon and try it out again! It feels great to be armed with knowledge sometimes, doesn't it?
I also subbed in chicken broth for the vegetable broth called for here. It still counts as a meatless dish, I figured. Besides, you can easily just use the veggie broth to make this 100% vegetarian. Finally, I had no fresh cilantro on hand, so I didn't use any despite the fact that the recipe called for about 1/3 cup. We didn't really miss it; it was great just the way it was.
The flavors were assertive, and I would classify them as "warm," rather than hot or spicy. My kids shocked me by loving this stuff! I guess I just assumed they would turn their noses up at this. Instead, it was devoured and loved by all. The house smelled so fragrant and amazing while this cooked, and the smell pleasantly lingered for the rest of the evening. Best of all, the hearty shiitake mushrooms were meaty and substantial enough that you weren't left wanting for more when you were finished eating. It was the perfect meat-free meal for our family, and maybe it would be for yours, too!
adapted from Cooking Light
makes 4 servings
1 (13.25 oz.) box whole-wheat spaghetti
1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cups julienne-cut carrot
2 cups julienne-cut green bell pepper
1 cup julienne-cut red bell pepper
4 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 8 oz.)
1 Tbsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. red curry paste
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground turmeric
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. lower-sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped dry-roasted, unsalted cashews
1. Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Set noodles aside; keep warm.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp. oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add carrot to pan; saute 2 minutes. Add bell peppers; saute 2 minutes. Remove carrot mixture from pan.
3. Heat remaining 1/2 tsp. oil in pan over medium-high heat; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms; saute for 2 minutes. Add the next 5 ingredients (through garlic); cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth, 1/2 cup water, soy sauce, and salt. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thick. Add noodles, carrot mixture, and onions; cook for 2 minutes, tossing to combine.
4. Divide mixture evenly among 4 bowls; top with cashews. One serving equals about 2 cups noodle mixture and 1 Tbsp. cashews.