“Buddhist’s Delight” (Chinese-Style Vegetable Stew)
Inspired by a favorite vegetarian Chinese restaurant dish, this stew is enhanced with protein-packed seitan. Made from cooked wheat gluten, seitan is available in most natural food stores. Gluten-free? Substitute an equivalent amount of tofu for the seitan. For an everyday meal, serve with Tri-Color Coleslaw. To make it a feast, add Scallion Pancakes or simply serve veggie spring rolls from your natural food store’s frozen food section. Adapted from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons. Photo by Theresa Rafetto.
Serves: 6 to 8
- 12 to 16 ounces seitan, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 large bunch broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
- 2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (see note)
- 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- One 15-ounce can baby corn, liquid reserved
- 4 ounces fine rice vermicelli or bean-thread noodles
- One 32-ounce carton low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups crimini, baby bella, or small white mushrooms, sliced
- 1 to 2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred ginger, to taste
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot or organic cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, or to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Dried hot red pepper flakes or sriracha sauce for serving
Drain any broth from the seitan into a soup pot or large, steep-sided stir-fry pan. Cut the seitan into bite-sized chunks and set aside. Add the broccoli, green beans, carrots, and garlic to the pot or pan with the liquid from the baby corn. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the broccoli and green beans are bright green, making sure there is enough liquid in the pan to keep the bottom moist.
Cook the noodles according to package directions until al dente, then drain and cut into shorter lengths. Set aside until needed.
Meanwhile, add the broth, seitan, mushrooms, ginger, and baby corn to the pan. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cook over medium-high heat, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender-crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Put the cornstarch in a small bowl or mixing cup and stir in just enough of the liquid from the soup pot to smoothly dissolve it. Slowly pour into the soup pot and simmer just until the broth has thickened up.
Stir in the soy sauce and noodles, season with pepper, and serve at once in shallow bowls. Pass around red pepper flakes or sriracha for spicing up individual servings.
Note: Use frozen organic cut or whole baby green beans, unthawed, if fresh are unavailable.