Monthly Archives: January 2016

Budget-friendly eats: Fun and filling noodle bowl


It’s been awhile, hasn’t it, garlic lovers?

I’d love to launch into a long story about how overwhelmed I’ve been lately, how I’ve had some issues in my personal life, how I was starting to run out of ideas.

I’m going to leave that for another day because I don’t think that’s different from what any other bloggers go through. The difference is, Urban Garlic is not my sole source of income (or really a source of any income) so when it comes to dropping off certain things, it’s usually the first thing to go. I’m sorry that it is that way, but, well, there’s a million positive vegan blogs out there, so I’m sure no one missed me.

But I’ve finally found the energy to blog again. I probably won’t keep up my three-post-per-week schedule but will still definitely post a recipe every week. The good news is I’ve had a major backlog of recipes that I’m ready to start sharing.

I’m even testing out a recipe for an amazing vegan AND gluten-free and maybe even nut-free dessert bar for dessert at my sister’s place this weekend (SISTER!! ARE YOU READING?!!?!! GET EXCITED, YOU JERK).

Anyway, I was going to start off 2016 with a juice recipe, but there’s something about posting juice recipes t hat always makes me feel so… yucky. I’ve made it clear in the past that I’m not big into the whole juicing thing, I simply like making vegetable juices. Still, I don’t want to give off the idea that I’m one of those “cleansing” types who doesn’t actually know what they’re talking about. I also didn’t want it to be the first post of a new year. It seems weird and weight loss-y.

So instead I’m posting one of the most filling easy recipes I’ve made in awhile. I’m not the biggest soup eater (I’m no Buster Bluth), but I will go crazy for a noodle soup. Of course I still prefer to throw in big chunks of tofu and nice meaty mushrooms to make it feel more, you know, solid.

The nice thing about this recipe is it’s also free from nuts, has a gluten-free option and is so, so easy to cook, so almost anyone can enjoy it!

If there’s one thing I really want to focus on this year, it’s to have more budget-friendly vegan cooking so I can create food that feels more accessible to people. So I figured, what a great way to start!


  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin powder, divided into two even parts
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 2/3 cup mushrooms (crimini, shiitake or mini portobellos)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable or faux-chicken broth
  • 4 oz rice noodles
  • 1 tsp soy sauce, tamari, coconut aminos or Braggs
  • 2/3 of one block of medium-firm tofu
  1. Press your tofu for at least 20 minutes using paper towels and a heavy object, or a tofu press if you’re feelin’ fancy!
  2. Chop your veggies in the following format:
    1. Garlic: mince it
    2. Onions: dice ’em
    3. Carrots: grate them!
    4. Mushrooms: you could leave them flat and just stem them, but they may undercook, so I recommend slicing them thin.
  3. In a large pot, warm 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and warm the garlic and onions. Let sautee for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions become transluscent.
  4. Slice your tofu into thick-ish slices (about 2 cm) and then into whatever shape you like. Season with more of the cumin and whatever other spices you like. You can either dry-fry these suckers, bake at 350 or do like we did and grill them in a countertop grill for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the cumin and red pepper flakes and sautee until your kitchen is filled with a wonderful intoxicating fragrance.
  6. Add in your broth, carrots, mushrooms and cilantro. Season with Braggs/tamari/soy sauce etc.
  7. Add the rice noodles, let cook for three minutes, then remove from heat.
  8. Serve immediately and add the tofu!