A quick lunch is often required if you're working, whether it's at home or in the office. This lunch of a simple vegetable udon soup fits the bill: it was prepared out of what happened to be in the fridge at the time: random vegetables (asian greens, mushrooms, and onions), vegetable broth that is always on hand (either homemade, or low-sodium from a paste), and some spice for punch. And naturally, a bit of lime. Depending on the type of noodles you find and broth you use, this can be an incredibly healthy lunch that is whole food, nutritious, and low sodium/no oil.
This soup could be prepared in advance and heated at work in the microwave for a quick, healthy lunch. Even healthier? Make your own vegetable broth for a no-sodium option.
I recommend garnishing this soup with a squeeze of lime, too.
Spicy vegetable udon soup
- 4 oz udon noodles cooked
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or no sodium
- 1 cup asian greens kale, bok choy, tatsoi, cabbage, or similar
- 1/3 cup mushrooms sliced
- 1/4 cup green onion sliced
- 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce See notes
- Wedge of lime
- Cook and rinse the udon noodles according to package directions, if necessary.
- Bring the vegetable broth and chili sauce to a boil on the stove top, and reduce to a simmer.
- Add the cooked noodles, mushrooms and green onion and allow to simmer until heated through.
- Add the greens and simmer for another 2-3 minutes until greens reach desired softness (this will depend on the type of greens you use).
Udon noodles are Japanese noodles that are thick and chewy. They are usually made from wheat flour, starch and water, either processed flour or whole-grain. Try to find the whole-grain version of udon noodles if you can, or even make your own, which are a bit more healthful than the processed flour noodles.
You can get udon noodles dry, or pre-cooked. The pre-cooked noodles are typically found refrigerated or frozen. These pre-cooked products are often sold with a soup base, which I tend to avoid. I try to buy dry whole wheat noodles and cook them myself, which have a bit more protein, fiber and nutrients. However in a pinch I will get the packaged pre-cooked noodles to heat up (but still avoid that soup base!).
Alternatives and swaps
To modify this lunch? Easy. Simply swap out the vegetables that you happen to have on hand. Yellow onions instead of green? No problem. Carrots instead? It will work. You could even drop in a tomato. The main thing is to add them at the right time, cooking. For example if you are adding a tomato, you probably want to drop it in after cooking the soup, and let the hot broth warm it up.
This soup would go really well with cubes of firm tofu tossed in. Marinate them in advance (ginger, soy, and/or garlic work well) or use smoked tofu for some additional flavor.