At my workplace, I participate in a Lunch Club. At the beginning of the school year, anyone who is interested signs up, with a partner, and commits to providing lunch for the rest of the participants. This year we have fourteen members and this works out to each partnership making lunch about 5 or 6 times a year. If it’s not your day to make lunch, then you are eating lunch someone else has provided. I really look forward to Thursdays (our Lunch Club day) because I don’t have to make lunch! I’m the only vegan in the club, but we also have a vegetarian and someone who doesn’t eat pork. This year’s crew have been really kind and conscientious and have always made sure that there are vegan options for me! This makes me really happy! Usually, when I attend something where lunch is provided, I have to find out ahead of time what the menu is. If a vegan option can’t be added, then I just bring my own. As I always say, “I don’t mind bringing my own lunch, I just need to know.” At my Lunch Club, I don’t even have to ask anymore. I can rely on my colleagues to consider all dietary wants and needs!
My Lunch Club partner and I don’t have to make lunch for another month, but we started talking about it this week. We decided to make Thai Noodle Soup. Now, I’ve never actually had this soup before, let alone made it, but my partner raved about it! Into a big bowl and onto a bed of rice noodles, a spicy broth infused with Thai flavours is ladled, then topped with a variety of tasty and textured toppings. Sounds great! Well, I decided I’d better give this soup a trial run before serving it up for a crowd of people, so I did some Pinterest research and made this Thai Noodle Soup last night for supper. Traditionally, this soup has lots of non-vegan things in it like fish sauce and chicken and meat broth, but I delved deeper into the offerings on Pinterest and found some vegan versions that I was able to combine and adapt until I came up with a recipe that satisfied me. Here it is:
Thai Noodle Soup
1/2 package rice noodles
2 tsps. coconut oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. of grated ginger
3 tsps. of minced garlic
2 tbsps. red curry paste *
2 tsps. curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 can organic light coconut milk
4 cups vegetable broth
about 6 heads of baby bok choy, chopped
2 tbsps. tamari
2 tbsps. coconut sugar
1 lime, 1/2 of it juiced, 1/2 of it cut into little wedges
1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Cashews (if you can get them!)
Put the rice noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over to cover. Set aside for a few minutes, then toss and untangle with a fork or spaghetti scoop. Let sit until soft, then drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once melted, add the onions. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the ginger and the garlic and continue to stir and cook for a few more minutes. If the onion mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, add a tablespoon or two of water. Now add the red curry paste, the curry powder and the turmeric. Stir until mixed and coated. Pour in the coconut milk and the vegetable broth. Stir everything together. Bring the broth to a simmer, then add in the baby bok choy and lightly simmer for a couple of minutes. Lower the heat. Stir in the tamari and the coconut sugar and the lime juice. Heat through.
Divide the noodles among 4 big bowls (or two bowls and reserve the other two servings for tomorrow night’s supper). Ladle the broth into the bowls. Top each bowl with a handful of bean sprouts, a generous sprinkling of cilantro, a couple of lime wedges and a few cashews.
Serve with a knife, fork and spoon – “Tom” ate his noodles like spaghetti, rolling the noodles into a ball with a fork onto his spoon, and ate the soup with a spoon; I cut my noodles up with a knife and fork in the bowl, then ate noodles and broth with a spoon.
* check the ingredients on the package of red curry paste. Some have fish sauce and/or shrimp in the ingredients. Vegan paste is available and should be easy to find in a major grocery store.
Other toppings you could use: chopped green onion, small cubes of tofu, finely sliced green cabbage …