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From PB&J to Vegan Gourmet

The following article was written by Jessica Zaehringer.

The term “food snob” means nothing to me: I dread cooking dinner, and I was content eating PB&J for lunch every day for a year. So going vegan was going to be really hard for me, right? Wrong.

Although I still adore the occasional PB&J, I got bored with eating it every day. And while there are many vegan food blogs and websites, I still did not understand how to marinate and sauté mushrooms or where to buy chutney (a spicy condiment). So my goal is to stick to simple recipes that are cheap, fast, and made with ingredients that are easy to find.

Here is my top choice for a “gourmet” meal, thanks to the help of my mother. My mom, who used to ask me every night before school, “Are you sure you want PB&J for lunch again?” still thinks it’s odd that I hate to cook, but she offered me a variety of recipes that she knew I could whip up. Tofu lo mein is my favorite because it’s simple to make, the ingredients are easy to find, and dinner guests get to taste how scrumptious vegan food really is.

tofu-lo-mein

Tofu Lo Mein

1 pkg. tofu
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
2 pkg. oriental-flavored ramen noodles
1 pkg. frozen vegetables
1 Tbsp. soy sauce

  • Press the tofu between two paper towels to remove some of the water. Cut into bite-size cubes.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the noodles from the ramen packages but not the seasoning. Boil for about 2 minutes, just until the noodles break apart, then drain.
  • Add the frozen vegetables to the pan with the tofu and season with the ramen noodle seasoning packets. Stir occasionally, until the vegetables are tender but not mushy.
  • Add the vegetables and the tofu to the bowl of ramen noodles and stir to blend.
  • Add the soy sauce.

Makes 6 servings

In the end, I am still not a food snob or a foodie, but you don’t need to be one to know what tastes delicious. If you have a cheap and easy recipe, please share it in the comments section below. I always love trying new foods!

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  • channith says:

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  • Ashley-P says:

    Thanks for all your comments regarding the ramen noodles. The brand “Top Ramen” in the oriental flavor (it’s in a blue package) falls into the “accidentally vegan” category. :) Hope you’re able to find it in your area. Enjoy!

  • dawn says:

    This post is awesome..i’ve been reading tons of crap posts from other blogs, but shows you have a more educated reader base.

  • Rochelle says:

    Just a word of caution to vegans. The Maruchan brand of ramen, which is the easiest for me to find, does not have a vegan flavor of seasoning. All of their flavors have animal products in them: http://everything2.com/title/Maruchan+Oriental+Flavor+Ramen
    It looks like the noodles are probably safe; it’s just the seasoning that is not. I was able to find some workable vegan products at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

  • Vanessa says:

    Do you know of any food delivery companies that specialize in vegan food diet plans (I’m thinking Jenny Craig or Chef’s Diet, but for vegans)? I’d like to find one that delivers to Milwaukee. Thank you.

  • Jen says:

    Sounds like an easy, tasty recipe! However, I prefer not to buy products with meat/animal ingredients at all, as I feel it still ends up supporting the industry. I bet this could just as easily be made with rice noodles available from any major grocery chain. As a bonus, they boil up in about 2 or 3 minutes so they’re super easy!

  • Mihika says:

    Ahhh…PB&J. I take it to school at least four times a week for lunch. Although tahini with sliced carrot and red bell pepper is pret-ty amazing too :)

  • jhe71 says:

    Questions – what kind of tofu do you use? Firm? Also what size veggie package did you get? Thanks – this sounds like a great quick and easy dinner!

  • B. Lamb says:

    The ingrediants in the ‘Oriental Raman noodles is not Vegan!
    If you want to use Raman noodles with the spice packet, either buy Organic Raman noodles or make your own spices…

  • iseelondon says:

    My only issue with this is you are purchasing ramen noodles and the seasoning packet uses meat products. Disgarding the flavor packet after you have purchased it is wasteful, you might as well have eaten the meat product at that point. It is the same reason I get so upset at restaurants when they bring out my food with cheese or meat and then take it back to “fix it.” That animal product has already been used and now wasted because I know they will throw that meal away.

  • Sharon Dee says:

    Don’t Ramen noodles have eggs in them? Perhaps there are some that don’t…I am not vegan, but vegetarian, and I like the Thai rice noodles in some of these dishes, and they have no eggs. :>)

  • B says:

    Nice, simple recipe. Watch out for “Maruchen” brand Oriental-flavor ramen – it is not vegetarian.

  • Veggie Bun says:

    I need more ideas like this! This is something I would make – easy to find ingredients!

  • Caittx says:

    Doesn’t the Oriental flavored Ramen noodles contain beef/chicken stock?

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