Fall calls for heartwarming, stick to your ribs food (even in Texas). I struggle to make long simmering stews and soups when it still gets up to 80 degrees in the middle of the day, however.
Noodle bowls are a really lovely way to
1: Cram in your veggies!
2: Fill your bowl with fiber and satisfying carbohydrates
3:Switch things up for your own nutritional needs or tastes
4: Use up a lot of random produce from the farmers market, or seasonal specials at the store
5:Save some $$$ by using low cost frozen vegetables and easy to access ingredients
6: Customize your protein options!
When I cook, I tend to consider recipes as a guide, a springboard, a starting point. This noodle bowl is no different. I'm going to first explain some of my meal building techniques but I'll still include a standard recipe at the end!
Choosing Your Ingredients
This is an Asian inspired noodle bowl. Classic vegetable choices could include carrots, broccoli, bell pepper and mushroom. But maybe you hate mushrooms? Or your neighbor is a hobby farmer and gave you a bucket of mixed greens you need to use up? It's fine, just keep in mind different cooking times and prep styles and you can substitute a LOT of different vegetables here.
The more delicate the vegetable (think spinach) the quicker it will cook. I like to practice "mise en place" which means "to set up" or "gather" in French and refers to organizing and prepping all your ingredients ahead of time. This is super helpful in building creative and fresh meals without making a huge mess or timing your recipe poorly.
For this recipe, you want to cut your vegetables in similar sizes, I chose to julienne or thinly slice my peppers, carrots and snow peas, and left my broccoli in small florets. Ginger and garlic typically gets squished/shaved/smashed/minced and that's what I did here as well.
You can choose a variety of noodles for this dish. I am partial to whole grain options like 100% buckwheat or whole wheat soba noodles. My kids prefer white noodles, and you can of course opt for gluten free rice noodles, or grain free yam starch noodles. The sky's the limit.
I created this marinade with lower salt in mind. Even lower sodium soy sauce can pack a salty punch so do consider your own health needs when making your sauce. You can add more heat with crushed red pepper or sriracha, adjust sweetness with more or less honey/maple syrup or substitute brown sugar or a calorie free sweetener if you choose. Just start with a small batch and taste as you go!
I'm vegetarian and would choose to add tofu, green peas, and edamame to this dish to hit my protein needs. But chicken breast, thighs, or a lean, thinly sliced steak would be a tasty addition for the meat eaters out there.
I personally am usually cooking for an even split of meat eaters and plant based connoisseurs. I've found that it's simpler to make the base part of the meal (the noodles, or the salad, or the bowl) and keep all proteins separate so my family can add what they prefer.
So, you'll choose your ingredients, then prep everything for more organized cooking.
Here are some of my favorite ways to cook tofu, chicken, and steak:
Let's head for the recipe now!
LOWER SODIUM ASIAN VEGETABLE NOODLE BOWLS
For the Noodles:
8 oz whole wheat or brown rice noodles (or your preferred type)
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup sliced bell peppers (red, yellow, or green)
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup snow peas, trimmed and halved
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
For the Sauce
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey (for sweetness)
1 tablespoon olive oil for stir-frying
Sesame seeds and sliced green onions for garnish (optional)
Prepare the Noodles:
Cook the noodles according to the package instructions until they are al dente. Drain and set aside.
Prepare the Protein of your choice
(Linked methods above. I chose to press, cube, and pan fry extra firm tofu)
Prepare the Sauce:
In a small bowl, whisk together the low-sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and agave nectar or honey. This will be your low-sodium sauce for the noodles.
Stir-Fry the Vegetables:
Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir-fry for about 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Add the broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, snow peas, and mushrooms. Stir-fry for 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables are tender-crisp. You can add a splash of water if needed to prevent sticking.
Combine Noodles and Sauce:
Add the cooked noodles to the skillet with the stir-fried vegetables.
Pour the sauce over the noodles and veggies.
Toss everything together to ensure the sauce is evenly distributed and coats the noodles and vegetables.
Transfer the noodles and vegetables to serving plates or bowls.
Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions if desired.
This low-sodium vegetable Asian noodle recipe is packed with a variety of colorful vegetables and offers a delightful balance of flavors. The low-sodium soy sauce, combined with the natural sweetness from agave nectar or honey, provides a satisfying umami taste without excess salt. Enjoy your heart-healthy meal, let me know in the comments what vegetables and proteins YOU chose to cook!