30 Minute Thursdays: "Faux-thentic" Veggie Lo Mein

My goal this week was to only write about delicious recipes that, though not specifically made forPassover, could certainly still be eaten on Passover. I didn’t exactly have a 30 Minute Thursday recipe that worked that way, but thought maybe there was hope when I made Veggie Lo Mein using the last of my box for quinoa spaghetti. Quinoa, being a seed, is kosher for Passover, so I thought, how perfect! Unfortunately, quinoa spaghetti does not mean spaghetti made solely from, well, quinoa. The first ingredient is, of course, wheat flour. And with that realization, my hopes of revolutionizing your Passover (and mine!) went right out the window.

Still, I have a feeling most of you are not keeping Passover anyway, and if you are, you can – and certainly should – bookmark this for later. Maybe even make it next week as your first non-Passover meal! What could be more Jewish than Chinese food, right? Of course right. Cue Fiddler on the Roof music.

This dish is beyond easy to make, but it’s entirely too salty as is. I don’t even just mean salty the way that Chinese food is salty. This was so salty that I wasn’t even tasting the soy sauce anymore; in some bites, I could’ve sworn there was actually just a forkful of salt granules heading straight for my mouth. I think if you reduce the soy sauce a little (which I’ve indicated in the recipe) andchoose lite varieties, you can capture that quintessential Chinese food take out flavor that is, yes, still salty, without going overboard. With that one minor adjustment, you’ll have yourself a killer meal. I want to call it authentic because of how close it tastes to real Chinese take out, but it seems too ironic to be calling anything akin to Chinese take out “authentic.”

The lo mein is full of crunchy, vibrant vegetables, but feel free to add even more! Carrots, cabbage, and water chestnuts would all make great additions. It originally called for bean sprouts, which I omitted because I just get a little paranoid about foodborne illness and those things; and scallions, which I didn’t have so I used diced onion instead. There’s also no real protein source here, but chicken, beef, tofu, or even some shelled edamame would be perfect to bulk it up a little bit and make it more of a main course. I also thought it might be fun to swap the pasta out for brown rice and add an egg to make it more like fried rice – I’ll definitely have to play around with that! Overall, though, I really, really liked this dish – yes, even though the salt at times overcame me. It originally called for 2 tablespoons of soy sauce per person, and I don’t think you’ll lose the robust flavor or “faux-thenticity” of the dish by halving it as I’ve suggested below.

Veggie Lo Mein, adapted from Rachael Ray’s Classic 30 Minute Meals
Yield: 4 servings

The Ingredients
½ pound whole wheat spaghetti
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups fresh snow peas
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
¼ small onion, sliced
1 inch peeled ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup lite soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil

The Method
Set a large pot of water on a back burner to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 10-15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

When the pasta is done, heat a wok or large, nonstick skillet over high heat. Once hot, add the vegetable oil followed immediately by the snow peas, pepper slices, and onions. Stir fry for 1 minute before adding the ginger and garlic. Cook for another minute, then stir in the pasta and toss to combine. Pour in the soy sauce and toss once more to coat evenly. Divide the pasta evenly amongst four bowls and drizzle each one with ½ tablespoon of sesame oil.


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