Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Taiwanese Noodles

Hello and thanks for stopping by The Essential Vegan!

It's been forever and a day since I posted anything here but I've recently been spurred into action. My brother-in-law's girlfriend sent me an email with a job posting: a food blogger for Organics Live. They are looking for people to submit recipes in exchange for local, organic produce. Um, yes please.

People sometimes ask me why I stopped blogging in the first place. I liked writing and sharing nutritional information, tidbits of knowledge and great vegan food. I got positive feedback from readers and even developed a bit of a following.

I put this entire project on hold about two years ago but still think about it often. I always told people I stopped because I didn't have the time (although this is absolutely true, considering I now have a 14 month old) but it was more than that.

As much as I enjoyed writing about food I felt the opposite about photographing it. I would obsess about lighting and staging despite not having proper equipment, props or setting. I would whip out a recipe and a post in an hour, then take hundreds of photographs from every imaginable angle trying to get the perfect foodie shot. It was overwhelming and exhausting and totally sucked the fun out of the blogging experience.

I found out about the Organics Live posting about two weeks ago and have been pondering how to deal with this photography hurdle ever since. I talked to my husband about it at length and he offered to take pictures for me. He isn't overly concerned about aesthetics, but loves great food. So we struck a deal: I make delicious eats, he takes a few pictures and chooses the best one. Done and dusted. I get to do all the fun stuff I enjoy without the stress and aggravation.

The aforementioned 14 month old is the real catalyst for submitting this post to Organics Live. Eating well is my passion but I've had to accept the reality that I cannot easily access good quality, affordable organic food. My local grocery store does not stock any organic produce, and health food stores are not within commuting distance.

I want my son to grow up with as little exposure to toxic pesticides, GMOs and petrochemicals as possible but until now I didn't have the means to make that happen. Trading my recipes for that opportunity is an absolute win-win.

My submission is a recipe for Taiwanese noodles: chow mein topped with a chunky, sweet-spicy sauce that tastes as I'd imagine an Asian Bolognese. Use whatever vegetables are in season, plus frozen add-ins like edamame.

Taiwanese Noodles

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


1.5 cups no salt vegetable broth
1 package Yves ground round
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 Tbsp. ginger, grated
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup green pepper, sliced
1/2 cup red pepper, sliced
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, sliced
2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. coconut sugar
1 tsp. sriracha chili sauce
1/8 tsp. five spice powder
cooked chow mein noodles


1. Whisk broth, hoisin sauce, cornstarch, vinegar, coconut sugar, sriracha and five spice powder in a small bowl and set aside
2. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium; add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently
3. Add ginger and cook an additional minute, then vegetables
4. Saute 4-5 minutes or until vegetables are tender
5. Crumble ground round into skillet and break down large pieces
6. Add broth mixture and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently
7. Sauce will begin to thicken within 1-2 minutes; continue cooking to your desired consistency*
8. Top cooked chow mein noodles with sauce and enjoy!

*I continued cooking for about 7 minutes. This sauce becomes quite thick once cooled but can easily be thinned out with water if desired.