Minty Summer Squash Ramen with Leftover Beef Stew Broth

This recipe calls for a MAXIMUM of fresh yummy produce, as its traditional ramen-style garnishes– including some NOT so traditional mint leaves– help to make a deliciously filling, balanced, rich, decadent, and zingy summer squash-ramen bowl. It also calls for leftover beef stew broth– a recipe for the likes of which I do not include here; at least, not one of my *own*. See my notes below for why.

Ingredients:

  • About 5 cups of leftover slow-cooker beef stew and broth—cooked ahead of time without using starch, tomatoes, vinegar/wine, or sucrose (***See my notes below– otherwise, substitute with a rich savory broth and natural acid of your choice)
  • 3 cups Chinese broccoli/gailan
  • 1/2 cup dried wood ear mushrooms
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • About 4 cups of summer squash noodles (I used one large green zucchini and one large yellow squash each to make noodles with my family’s spiralizer for fairly cheap in about 5 minutes— you can also find frozen zucchini noodles in your local grocery store to help save time and effort.)
  • 1/2 cup sliced bell peppers (I used a red, yellow, and orange mini pepper blend)
  • The following fresh produce to garnish to your desired amounts:
    • raw garlic cloves
    • raw ginger chunks, peeled and thoroughly rinsed
    • fresh green onions/scallions
    • fresh cilantro
    • fresh mint leaves
    • fresh red radishes, thoroughly rinsed with tops and bottoms removed
    • fresh lime juice

Prep time: 45 minutes-1 hour
Yields: 4-6 servings

Preparation:

  1. In a covered, large soup pot over high heat, bring the wood ear mushrooms and water to a boil until the mushrooms have completely expanded: about 10 minutes.
  2. Once the mushrooms have completely expanded, add 4 cups of leftover beef broth and residual stew chunks to the soup pot, reserving 1 cup of broth. Bring the heat down to medium and cook covered for 10 minutes.
  3. While the broth is cooking, chop the gailan into roughly 1-inch-wide ribbons (equally dice the stalks into roughly 1-inch-wide cubes), and then add to the soup pot. Cover and continue to cook for about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, add the reserved cup of beef broth, squash noodles, and bell peppers to a frying pan (non-stick is ideal) and sauté over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes– covering with a lid occasionally to help partially steam– until the squash noodles are al dente or to your softness preference.
  5. Once the noodles are to your softness preference, set them aside; covering them to retain heat. Then finely chop or slice to your liking the listed garnish produce while the beef, gailan, and mushroom broth continues to cook and meld flavors. Once finished, turn the heat off on the broth.
  6. Plate the beef-gailan-mushroom broth and squash ramen into 4-6 soup bowls. Top with equal amounts of raw garlic, ginger chunks, scallions, radishes, cilantro, mint leaves, and lime juice. Then, enjoy the richness of this meal on a slightly cooler day… just as your summer season is beginning to wane, but NOT before you’ve used up all your fresh leafy herbs and squashes! 😀

Yasmine’s notes:

*** Firstly, to make my version of beef stew without starch, sucrose, or a tomato-wine-vinegar base, I used a large 32-oz bottle of local-store-bought, pre-made fresh green juice that had kale, pineapple, apple, ginger, and lemon in it. Pineapple and lemon juice both, after all, are naturally acidic—taking the place of any need for tomatoes, wines, or vinegars—while fresh apple juice is naturally sweet; kale and ginger tie it all together to make an excellent, green-herbed profile. Never underestimate the power of fresh-made green juices in your local stores and juiceries!

(Above: my local Central Market Cold Pressed Kale Pineapple Apple Lemon Ginger Juice, 32 Oz)

*** Secondly, I then followed basically the same traditional recipe you can find, again, for virtually any beef stew; just negating any starches listed like spud-potatoes, peas, or beans. It included the average steps of seasoning and searing your average roast-cut of beef first in a pan, and then slow cooking it all in a crock pot overnight with enough water and your average fare of e.g. onions, garlic, celery, carrots, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. (“Are you going to Scarborough Fair? I can never resist that.) The only other things I added— because they were simply on hand— were some spare herbs I’d had, including what happened to be mint (hello Herbed Garlicky Lemon Olive Oil Cubes!) and some extra lime juice for just a bit more acid, since I’d gotten a HUGE hunk of meat to last for a few days, and I wanted to make extra sure it would be tender enough for those in my family who unfortunately have to eat soft foods only in their diet.

(Above: my leftover beef stew from the day before.)

Because I used a lot of these mint, ginger, and lime flavors already in my broth, they were able to shine EVEN MORE in my first making of this dish; however, just adding these ingredients fresh at the end will equally do just fine for your flavor profile. If you wish, you can adjust your broth to be even more ‘traditionally ramen-style,’ depending on how you like it best, such as browning pork chops in salt and sesame oil, with extra garlic, ginger, and scallions before slow cooking it all for more of a chashu-style; adding in your own preference of mushrooms and even chopped cabbages as the seasons change; or maximizing the above garnish flavors by steeping lime juice, fresh mint, garlic, onions, and ginger in particular as your meat slow-cooks overnight.

There’s really no wrong way here regarding flavors, as the best thing no matter which you should choose is to have as much fresh, fat-balancing produce WITH your fatty meat and bone broths as possible for your health. After all: you can find a good, hearty meat stew and broth recipe literally for a dime a dozen out there, if my listed links should prove nothing else. (It’s why I do not choose to reinvent that portion of this well-established wheel by FAR.)

But to pair your saturated-fatty broths with cholesterol-busting, FRESH alliums; raw hot radishes and ginger included for your heart, and kidney- and liver-cleansing cilantro meets sharp, equally zesty and equally cleansing fresh mint leaves? All particularly with an additional, hardy, cruciferous, and extremely nutritious veg of gailan, and to cook it with in-the-season summer squash noodles and peppers of all things?? Taking out all unnecessary starch, unnecessary sucrose, and just-not-really-needed-at-this-party tomato and vinegar bases to it? (Trust me, you won’t miss any of that with this combo of flavors.)

That, you won’t find anywhere else enough, and so this recipe is here to help start to fill that gap. I’m proud to report that it is darn delicious too: the mint ESPECIALLY being such a nice flavor highlight. So much so, that it gets top billing in this otherwise elementally-balanced meal!


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