Back before I had a kid, I used to make gnocchi fairly often. This was long before I was vegan, but still, I’ve always been trying to eat less meat. After I had a kid, I guess I decided it was too much work, so it’s been at least 14 years since I’ve had fresh, homemade gnocchi, and I’m kicking myself because it’s so easy and delicious. This stuff is far above the packaged gnocchi that I tend to buy from Trader Joe’s. My gnocchi is light and fluffy!
I dreamt up this recipe as I was running errands the other day, trying to figure out if I needed to stop at the store and what I could make for dinner. It was my first attempt and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
Don’t be intimidated by the long list of instructions below. It’s really not that difficult and once you gone through the process, it will be much easier the next time.
Spinach and kale gnocchi with mushroom and red pepper cream sauce
Yakisoba is a traditional Japanese dish usually made with meat, veggies and noodles. It features a sweet and savory sauce, typically made with Worcestershire sauce. I’ve had a version of this in my rotation long before I switched to a vegan diet and honestly after I made the switch I stopped making it for a while. I’m not sure why that is, but I’m now ready to make it a more permanent fixture in our dinner routine.
Last weekend I picked up some baked turmeric tofu from local tofu maker Phoenix Bean Tofu. They have a stand at the Evanston Farmer’s Market, but they also sell their products in the local co-ops and many grocery stores in the area. Although I love tofu, it was the first time I bought baked tofu and now I have to make up for lost time because it is so freaking good! My 13-year-old daughter loved it too.
We ate this over a 3 day period and the first night we had the yakisoba hot out of the pan, but it was so hot here the other night my daughter didn’t want warm food. Instead, we tried it straight out of the fridge and it was another game-changer. Again, so freaking good!
This is a great dish for summer. You can use all those yummy veggies from the farmer’s market for this. From my experience, yakisoba is great for experimenting so try different veg combinations. You can also add garlic and ginger, but I wasn’t thinking of that when I made the below recipe and I think it turned out great so I thought I should share!
There’s nothing fancy in this recipe. You should be able to get all ingredients from your local grocery store. I use Chinese noodles because they’re easy to find. I used to think I could only find Asian noodles at an Asian market, but if your store has an International section, you should be able to find them there. If you want to be more authentic, you can look for yakisoba noodles at an Asian market. I’ve also seen recipes that use ramen noodles.
1 onion, chopped 2 cups mushrooms, sliced 2 cups mix of green and red cabbage (I use a coleslaw mix) 1 cup broccoli 1 carrot, julienned 1 red bell pepper, sliced 1/2 package of baked turmeric tofu, cubed (you can use any baked tofu) 1/2 package of Chinese noodles or yaki-soba noodles if you can find them 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
For the sauce: 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons ketchup 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (I think this is optional) 1 tablespoon maple syrup 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Cook noodles per package instructions
Add cooking oil to a skillet then add onions, cook until tender.
Add the carrot, bell pepper and tofu and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add mushrooms, broccoli and cabbage continue cooking until cabbage is tender.
Add the sauce and stir until combined with veggies
Turn off heat and combine noodles and veggies/tofu, making sure everything is well coated with sauce.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve or make ahead and refrigerate.
A few weeks ago, sometime in early April my husband picked me up from the Blue Line after work and on a whim asked if we should go check out what Eris had to offer. For whatever reason, I still wasn’t feeling the draw so wasn’t expecting much. We didn’t have much time, but I agreed to give it a go.
When I first heard that the old Presbyterian church on Irving near the Blue Line was getting turned into a cider house brewery I probably rolled my eyes. It seemed like an impossible task and over the next couple of years that it was being built out I wondered if they would run out of money before they even opened. It took so long that when they finally opened in February it barely resonated with me.
Always on a budget, I was a bit worried that the drinks were going to be overpriced. I was immediately charmed because they offered 5 oz, 13.5 oz or growlers with the 5 oz not only being very affordable but also the perfect size since I just wanted a quick sample. I had no idea what to expect from their cider selection but was again smitten by the variety. Intriguing blends with things like blueberries, cherries, and chai. I chose the Blush which is the one with dark and sweet cherry blends. It was light and crisp and refreshing.
Silently I was thinking that this place would be perfect if only they offered vegan food, but for some reason, I couldn’t imagine that being an option in a brewery in Irving Park. I didn’t even bother looking at the menu until on my way out. They sealed the deal for me when I saw they offered several vegan options. Appetizers, salads, and entrees! All options clearly marked with a VG for vegan. The only disappointment was that they didn’t have vegan desserts.
We decided to go back a short time later. I opted to try their ELT–eggplant, lettuce, and tomato. I’m not a big fan of eggplant, but it just sounded like exactly what I needed and it was. Husband got the Vegan Cobb which was also healthy and delicious.
After my first visit, I was talking about Eris with a friend who mentioned that it’s also a woman-owned business. Sure, I’d love it if it was all vegan and LEED, but yummy vegan options and woman-owned in this neighborhood is definitely a step in the right direction and certainly a place I want to support.