Veggie Shock and Awe Stuns the Carnisaur

Full disclosure: in desperate times when John’s been on anti-vegetable benders and scurvy was imminent, I’ve resorted to subversive tactics such as hiding greens in his meals and snacks. Like a veggie mercenary, I’ve slipped spinach in a smoothy and told him that it was a shamrock shake. That’s great for a handful or two of veggies but I needed to get him to eat lots more vegetables, lest he start to look like a pirate. I knew I needed a bold new strategy, but what? Then it hit me like a scud missile: make the greens hide in plain sight!

This brave (and some might say suicidal) strategy is what I like to call The Veggie Shock and Awe. The premise is simple: confuse the carnivore’s senses with a riot of colors, textures and scents to utterly overwhelm him. If the whole damned thing is composed of vegetables, maybe he won’t notice them! And just in case he examines it more closely, I’ll toss in a ton of fresh yakisoba noodles and some fake chicken chunks to distract him.

This concoction is so simple and quick-to-make and it’s mouth-wateringly delicious! The spicy teriyaki sauce makes it irresistibly flavorful and zesty, the noodles make it filling, and the veggies make it incredibly healthy and filled with interesting flavors in every bite – from the subtle sweetness of sugar snap peas to the earthy richness of shitake mushrooms.

When the moment came to pull the trigger and serve the Veggie Shock and Awe to John, I held my breath, took cover in the kitchen and prayed that I wouldn’t hear him cry out in protest. But guess what I heard? “Mmm, good noodles! I like this one.” It worked! Mission accomplished.

Veggie Shock and Awe

From fridge to table: 15-25 minutes (depending on how fast you can chop)

Serves: 3-4 (depending on your appetites)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp oil for stir-frying (such as grapeseed oil)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 2-3″ strips

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional – only if you like some heat!)

2 small zucchinis, sliced lengthwise then chopped into 1/2″ thick half-moons

2 baby bok choy, chopped into 2″ strips

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup asparagus, woody stems removed, cut into 2″ pieces

7 shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced

1 cup sugar snap peas, sliced

1 cup fake chicken chunks (a really great tasting one with a realistic texture is Vegetarian Plus’ Ginger Chicken – my carnivore gives this one a big thumbs up. It’s available at Whole Foods in the frozen food section)

1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced

2 packages of fresh yakisoba noodles (fresh ramen and udon noodles work well, too)

1/3 cup thick teriyaki sauce, such as Kikoman Spicy Miso Teriyaki

(If you’re feeling ambitious and want to make your own teriyaki, just blend these together for a quick and tasty sauce: 1/8 cup veggie broth; 1/8 cup dry sherry; 2 tbsp hoisen sauce; 1 tbsp sesame oil; 1 tbsp brown sugar; 3 tsp cornstarch; 2 tsp Thai chili sauce)

Boil water in a medium pot and keep it boiling on the side. Meanwhile, heat a large wok over high heat and drizzle in the oil. (Resist the urge to throw in all the veggies at once since that will make them soft and icky – instead follow the sequential additions listed here to insure that each veggie will be cooked to perfection.) When the wok is hot, carefully slide the red pepper down the side (sliding it in helps ease splattering) and stir. When it starts to turn orange, slide in the zucchini and jalapeno (if using). Stir for 1 minute, then slide in bok choy and garlic. Stir for 1 minute. Slide in the asparagus, mushrooms and sugar snap peas. Stir for 1 minute. Then add the faux chicken and basil. Cook for 1 minute.

Meanwhile, toss the noodles in the boiling water and turn off the heat. Stir for 30 seconds then drain well. Toss the noodles in with the veggies. Add the teriyaki sauce and toss thoroughly. Serve hot and enjoy!

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Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: 15 minute dishes, Main dish, Recipes

Author:Cimeron

Cimeron Morrissey is an award-winning magazine writer who writes about her passions, which include travel, water sports, animal rescue and food.

Operation Carnivore Conversion

This is Operation Carnivore Conversion, an ambitious and potentially hazardous project to transform my meat-loving husband into a vegetarian. Recognizing that his diet was shared by Tyrannosauruses but not by humans who live very long, he has decided - reluctantly - to try to dramatically reduce his consumption of animal-based foods. The success of this project relies on my ability to serve inventive and tasty meals that would satisfy even a femur-gnawing caveman (and to prepare them in less than 30 minutes since I don't have much time). This is a high-risk endeavor. If my husband feels deprived or underwhelmed, he will see my arms as snack-shaped objects and/or whine me to death. Failure is not an option. Oh boy, here we go!

3 Comments on “Veggie Shock and Awe Stuns the Carnisaur”

  1. March 9, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

    I’ve found that in general non-vegans have less refined taste buds, probably because once a person decided to go vegan all the associated options become more visible such as organic, non-GM, non-hydrogenate/trans fats, additives, faux flavourings, sweeteners etc and we try to avoid many more things than we set out to and discover many more things. So even though I haven’t tried to trick anyone into eating food they didn’t realize was vegan friendly as yet I can see how it could be done and especially with your cooking skills. The pics are so delicious looking that I’d love to sample them all!

    • Cimeron
      March 10, 2012 at 3:34 am #

      You’re so right! Taste buds really change once you are a veg for a while. And you’re really right that it opens up a whole new world of ingredients that we never would have tried before. What are some of your favorite culinary discoveries?

      • March 10, 2012 at 11:01 am #

        Oo that’s a hard one, I’m kinda practically minded so my choices are more for function but I’m really glad about all the different types of milk I discovered e.g. soya, rice, oat, almond, hazelnut, coconut. Then there’s bicarb of soda, that stuff is a godsend and different types of vinegar e.g apple cider vinegar and rice vinegar. I also love Brown and Black rice and Pink/Red salt but my favourite has to be the huge array of oils that I’ve learned about – all those different flavours and soooo healthy e.g cumin oil, coconut, olive, flax/hemp seed, grape seed, macadamia, safflower, avacado etc. They’re all so wonderful and I’ve learned so much about what actually is healthy for you and not to compare them by the ‘fat’ content on the label because that’s pretty meaningless (like the other generic labels such as protein and carbohydrates), it depends on the ingredients and how natural they were grown and processed and then stored and cooked (if cooked).

        It’s strange, before I was vegan there were things I didn’t like at all but then afterwards suddenly loved e.g. mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, avacado, coconut, tea, brussells sprouts. Lol my family were surprised and would be like ‘I can’t believe you’re eating that after all these years!’

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