In the cold, rainy (or snowy) days of January, there’s nothing quite like a comforting bowl of noodles. If I could, I’d eat at the excellent ramen places around town, but that’s not always an option. And so, I’ve made these cheater bowls that are big on flavor but light on time.
The base: vegetable puree
If you haven’t noticed by now, the concept of a vegetable puree is a workhorse in my dinners. The puree can turn into sauces, add creaminess to risottos, and in this case, help to make a silky broth for noodles.
I’ve used sweet potatoes for this particular recipe. Still, I’ve also used acorn squash (delightful and slightly earthy), butternut squash, carrot, or even beet (that color!) Depending on what else you’re making in a given week, swap out for whatever makes the most sense.
Noodles for days
I hesitated to call this a strict ramen bowl because I have extreme respect for the craft that goes into the ramen restaurants. And so, I go loose with the noodles. Bigger noodles are better, in my opinion.
Ramen, udon, or soba noodles have all worked in my bowls. If you can get fresh noodles, it takes this recipe to a ten. This is entirely optional, though. I usually buy noodles from the grocery store aisle.
For starters, make this vegan by swapping out the egg for your favorite way to make tofu. I like crispy pieces to top the bowl, but anyway, you want is fine.
In terms of greens, go wild. You can do microgreens, spinach, or fresh kale. You can also add cooked greens to the noodles!
Sweet Potato Noodle Bowls with Arugula
A creamy noodle bowl using sweet potatoes for a silky broth, paired with miso, ginger, and garlic. Easily vegan by swapping out the egg!
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger Ginger
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 to 4 cups vegetable broth, for thinning
3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 ounces udon or ramen noodles
1 tablespoon miso
2 jammy eggs
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1 cup arugula
Heat a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil followed by the minced garlic and ginger. Cook for a minute, until fragrant. Add in the sweet potatoes followed by 2 cups of broth. Cover and let the sweet potatoes cook until really tender; 10 to 15 minutes (depending on how large your cubes are).
Transfer the cooked sweet potatoes and liquid to a blender then add in the soy sauce and puree until smooth, adding more broth as needed. Transfer the sweet potato mixture back to the pan and add even more broth until the sweet potatoes resemble a think soup.
Bring the liquid to a simmer and add the noodles. Cook, stirring often until the noodles are cooked. Stir in the miso. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Divide the ramen into two large bowls. Top with eggs, arugula, and toasted sesame seeds.
As noted above, swap the sweet potatoes out for any kind of vegetable puree.
I did not like tomatoes as a child. My mom grew tomatoes in our garden and I always turned up my nose at them. What a missed opportunity to enjoy something so delicious! As an adult with my own garden, I was excited to grow a big harvest this summer. Unfortunately, both tomato plants died before they produced any fruit! If you’re lucky enough to have a homegrown bounty of fresh tomatoes still warm from the summer sun, I beg you to make this marinated tomato and avocado salad.
In fact, I beg you to make this marinated tomato and avocado salad even if you don’t have a vegetable garden. That is, unless you’ve discovered this recipe in the dead of winter and all you can find are bland greenhouse tomatoes. In that case, bookmark this page and come back in summer when tomatoes have the absolute best flavor. I used pearl tomatoes on the vine for this recipe because they’re the perfect bite size when sliced into quarters. Feel free to use whatever tomatoes you have on hand!
This marinated tomato and avocado salad is a fantastic summer recipe whether you’re barbecuing at home or headed out for a picnic. The tomatoes can chill in the fridge while you prep the rest of your feast, making this a really simple recipe to prepare if you’re in charge of multiple dishes. Dice and add the avocado just before serving for the best results.
While incredibly fresh and delicious on its own, there are many ways you can bulk up this marinated tomato and avocado salad if you need to feed a crowd. Try adding cooked quinoa, couscous, or farro. Or, turn it into a pasta salad by adding cooked and cooled shells or penne. I have big plans to spread this salad on crusty bread for a bruschetta-inspired appetizer.
1 or 2 ripe avocados, diced (depending on your preference and the size of your avocados)
⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
Quarter the pearl tomatoes and place them in a large bowl. Peel the red onion and cut it in half from tip to root. Place the flat part of the onion on your cutting board and carefully slice it into thin half moons. Add the onion to the bowl with the tomatoes.
Combine the chopped garlic, lime juice, olive oil, agave, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. The marinade should be salty, tangy, and just a tad sweet – adjust the ingredients until balanced.
Pour the marinade over the sliced tomatoes and onion and gently toss to coat. Marinate the tomatoes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Just before serving, drain any excess liquid from the tomatoes. Tip: if you’re serving this salad with cooked quinoa, couscous, or pasta, reserve the marinade for extra dressing. Transfer the marinated tomatoes and onions to a serving platter and add the diced avocado. Top with chopped cilantro and serve fresh.