Whatever, Whatever

Month: April, 2017

Simple, Easy Vegetarian Ramen

One of our go-to can’t-be-bothered-to-actually-cook meals is my version of vegetarian ramen. It’s cheap and quick and only a couple of ingredients.

It starts with a vegetable broth base and the noodles from the super cheap classic ramen packages. You know the ones – they’re five for a dollar and come in a bunch of flavors. Of course I don’t use the flavor packets and only use the noodles. All that sodium – yuck!

I immediately toss the little silver pouch in the garbage when I open the package. This is me:


(further proof that there is *always* a relevant Gilmore Girls quote)

Instead, I flavor the vegetable broth on my own, adding a little Better Than Bouillon (which is a semi-difficult to find little jar of bouillon-like goo that adds the bold flavor non-vegetarian ramen soups are known for) and some of my own spices and flavorings. Then you can add whatever veggies and a poached egg or whatever you want! I usually use 2 packages of noodles for two people since one never seems like enough for both of us.

 

INGREDIENTS

2 packages of ramen noodles (throw away the flavor packet!)

3 1/2ish cups Vegetable broth

1/2 tsp Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base (here it is – my Jewel has it, but it can be tricky to find sometimes. You could probably use a bit of any vegetable bouillon)

Onion powder (to taste, but I think I usually use about 1/3-1/2 tsp)

Garlic powder  (same as above, it varies)

Lemon pepper (a few turns of the grinder)

a dash of soy sauce

1/3ish tsp lime juice (if I have it, just to brighten the flavor a bit)

Salt and regular pepper to taste

Optional additional veggies, poached egg, whatever!

 

DIRECTIONS

In a medium pot on medium heat, add the vegetable broth and the Better Than Bouillon — mix a bit so it disperses, but it doesn’t have to be completely dissolved. Add the noodles and turn the heat up a little because we want to bring the pot to a boil. While the pot with the broth and noodles is coming to a boil, I like to add the garlic and onion powders, lemon pepper, dash of soy sauce and regular salt and pepper. When it just comes to a boil, turn off the heat and let it continue cooking on its own for 2 minutes (or until the noodles are soft). As the noodles soften, I stir to break them apart from their condensed square blob. Just before serving, add the dash of lime juice and taste to see if it needs more of anything.

Add veggies or whatever else you want (or leave it plain).

It’s so simple and comforting and fast!

Vegetarian and dairy-free Shepherd’s Pie

I’ve been wanting to make a vegetarian/vegan Shepherd’s Pie basically this entire winter and never got around to it. It’s been slightly colder and rainy this week, so I finally bit the bullet in what is probably one of the last few weeks of cold-ish weather. Comfort food weather!

Shepherd’s Pie is usually ground beef or lamb with vegetables in a savory sauce thats is topped with mashed potatoes and baked. I set out to make this vegetarian and dairy-free based on our dietary restrictions and attempt number 1 went very well! I used a vegan ground beef substitute, what I lovingly refer to as “fake ground beef”, but if you’re not into the meat-substitute thing, lentils would be perfect in this. I also used vegetable stock, a non-dairy butter (plain olive oil will work fine), and almond milk to replace the meat and dairy that are in the classic recipes I found online.

I should also mention that most of my recipes, including this one, are for two people with leftovers. So adjust accordingly.

INGREDIENTS

Five medium red potatoes

1/2 pack fake ground beef (or lentils)

Four or five large carrots

A medium shallot

A half bag (small bag) of frozen peas

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/4 tsp thyme

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, possibly a little more (or you can mix a little vegetarian BBQ sauce with a tiny bit of vinegar)

1/3 c vegetable stock

1 Tbsp tomato paste (use a little less and add more if needed)

2 Tbsp non-dairy butter/spread, plus at least another Tbsp for the potatoes

A splash of plain unsweetened almond milk

salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Scrub or peel your potatoes. In a medium or large pot, cover the potatoes with water, so there’s about a inch or so above them. Add some salt. Bring the pot to a boil and once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer for like 15 minutes or as long as it takes for them to get soft when poked with a fork. I check them periodically.

While the potatoes are doing their thing, heat the non-dairy butter substitute (I like the kind made from olive oil) in a shallow pan and let it get all melty while you dice up your carrots. Toss the carrots in, and in the meantime, mince your shallot. After the carrots have had 5-7 minutes of alone time in the pan (with a little salt and pepper), throw in the shallot. At this point I put the frozen peas in, but I should have waited about 2-3 minutes longer.

About this time, pre-heat your oven to 425.

Make sure your carrots have started to get soft before you throw the peas in. (Note: some recipes include corn, but I don’t really like corn in things where it’s not the central ingredient, but if you like it, add it now) Next add the garlic, thyme, and tomato paste. When it’s combined, add the fake ground beef (or if you’re using lentils, maybe wait til the end if they’re pre-cooked), Worcestershire sauce (or BBQ and vinegar mixture), and vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper, and add more Worcestershire sauce or tomato paste as you see fit. Let this simmer for 8-10 minutes. If it gets dry during simmering, add a splash more of the vegetable stock.

Your potatoes are probably done now and your oven should be almost if not fully preheated. Drain the potatoes, then return to the pot and smash with some more of the non-dairy butter and a splash of almond milk. Salt and pepper to taste. I also added a small splash of vegetable stock at the end because they tasted a little boring. Garlic would have been good too.

Now that your veggies and fake beef have gotten all cozy, and your mashed potatoes are ready, it’s oven time. Get out a glass or ceramic (oven safe!) dish. Pour the fake meat and veggie mixture into the bottom of the dish and spread it out evenly. Cover with the mashed potatoes, spreading evenly.

Pop in the over for 15-20 minutes, or until the top of the potatoes reaches your desired goldenness.

Yum!

Note: I adapted this recipe from the following two classic recipes that came up when I googled shepherd’s pie: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/easy_shepherds_pie/ and http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/shepherds-pie-recipe2