Kim O’Donnel knows meat eaters. In fact, she is one. As a voice for the Meatless Monday campaign, she’s been cooking up delicious you-won’t-miss-the-meat fare for the vegetarian-curious-but-vegan’s-too-crazy crowd. With a focus on holidays (or any celebration), the versatile recipes found in The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations (Da Capo Books, 2012) ensure that eaters of all dietary stripes will leave the table satisfied. Cast aside those fears of cardboard tofurkey and gray starches. Instead, revel in dishes that inspire, surprise, and are so tasty, “meatless” is an afterthought (with allergy- and animal-free options, to boot). The excerpt below comes from the section, “Winter: Lunar New Year.”
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Here’s more from the culinary wish list: Eat a bowl of long noodles and you’ll live a long life. I oblige with a decidedly homey albeit slurp-a-licious version, kicked up with pungent sauce of salted black beans, ginger, garlic and soy sauce. And because we all can use a few extra bills, I add plenty of bok choy, a symbol of money.
Long Noodles Recipe With Salted Black Beans and Bok Choy
12 ounces dried Chinese egg noodles or Italian spaghetti
3 tablespoons salted black beans, chopped finely
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons neutral oil
1/3 cup minced shallot (2 to 3 bulbs)
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger (a 2 by 1-inch hunk)
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 3/4 fresh chile pepper of choice, seeded and minced, to taste
4 to 5 cups bok choy that has been washed and dried thoroughly, then cut into1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup minced scallions, root and dark tops removed
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped finely
Sesame seeds, for garnish
Tools: Wok or 12-inch-wide skillet
Kitchen Notes: Don’t worry if you can’t find the Chinese egg noodles; Italian spaghetti works as a great stand-in.
Bring about 3 quarts of water to a boil and add the noodles. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes (or if cooking spaghetti, according to the package instructions).
Drain and rinse under cold running water. (Spaghetti does not need to be rinsed.)
While the noodles cook, combine the black beans, water, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil in a small bowl, and stir together. This is your sauce.
Heat a wok or 12-inch-wide skillet over medium-high heat until the pan is very hot, then swirl in the oil, coating the surface. Add the shallots and stir-fry, tossing and stirring, about 1 minute. Then add the ginger, garlic, and chile pepper, stir-frying for an additional 30 seconds. Add the bok choy, tossing to coat with the aromatics. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes; the greens will wilt and shrink. Add the sauce and bring to a boil, about 90 seconds.
Add the noodles, using both tongs and maybe even a large spoon to toss and coat the noodles with the sauce and the vegetable mixture.
Keep the noodles moving until they are heated through. Sprinkle the scallions on top, followed by the cilantro and the sesame seeds.
Discover more meatless holiday recipes from the book:
This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations: Year-Round Vegetarian Feasts (You Can Really Sink Your Teeth Into) by Kim O’Donnel and published by Da Capo Press, 2012. Buy this book from our store: The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations: Year-Round Vegetarian Feasts (You Can Really Sink Your Teeth Into).