Inspired by a favorite vegetarian Chinese restaurant dish, Buddhist's Delight stew is enhanced with protein-packed seitan. 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.
"Buddhist's Delight" (Chinese-Style Vegetable Stew)
- 12 to 16 ounces seitan cut into bite-sized pieces
- 4 ounces fine rice vermicelli bean-threads, or udon noodles
- 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 with liquid
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth about half of a 32-ounce carton
- 1 ½ cups crimini baby bella, or small white mushrooms, sliced
- 1 to 2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred ginger to taste
- 3 teaspoons arrowroot or organic cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce or more, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Dried hot red pepper flakes or sriracha sauce for serving
- Drain the broth from the seitan, if any, and pour into a soup pot or stir-fry pan. Cut the seitan into bite-sized chunks and set aside.
- Cook the noodles according to package directions, then drain and cut into shorter lengths. Set aside until needed.
- Meanhile, combine the broccoli, green beans, carrots, garlic, and baby corn with liquid, broth, mushrooms, and ginger to the pan. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat.
- Add the seitan, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the broccoli and green beans are bright green and tender-crisp.
- 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, and serve at once.
Variation: Omit the noodles and serve over rice instead.
Note: Use frozen organic cut or whole baby green beans, unthawed, if fresh are unavailable.