This green bean and squash laksa is a delicious vegan take on the classic coconuty noodle dish - spice it up or down, it's full of flavor either way.
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I know a couple people commented when I shared an asam laksa recipe a few months back that it wasn't what they would usually think of as laksa. Well that's probably because the kind we see the most in the West is curry laksa. While there are many variations within that too, they are nearly all made with a spice paste then coconut milk and stock as the 'sauce' along with whatever else. Noodles are a must, then usually chicken, shrimp and sometimes tofu balls.
However there's no reason not to make laksa with vegetables, and it can be hearty and delicious like this green bean and squash laksa. With this month's Foodie Extravaganza taking a noodle theme, and us still getting some chilly days, it felt like a perfect dish to share.
I first made a vegetable laksa from a Nigel Slater book a few years back - it was made with pumpkin and has now become a regular during pumpkin season as one of the many ways we use up our one, or more, pumpkin we get for cooking with.
It was actually the first laksa I had made and I didn't realize before then that they are actually pretty. Well, apart from one memorable time I was going to make it and we had a power cut. Funnily enough it had to be abandoned that time.
How it's made
In normal circumstances, you just have a few steps:
- Prepare the vegetables, precooking the squash;
- Whizz up the paste ingredients;
- Cook your noodles and set aside;
- Fry the curry paste;
- Add the coconut milk, stock and vegetables and cook a few minutes;
- Pour the broth over the noodles.
You can make pretty much all laksas in much the same way, just preparing the meat or vegetables as needed atr the start and cooking more, if needed, at the end. It makes for one incredibly delicious and warming bowl, and this green bean and squash laksa is no exception.
With laksas you can vary a few things to taste and you might want to try them more than once to get what works best for you - he amount of chili in the paste, the amount of broth to everything else, and the amount of vegetables in the case of this one are all a bit personal in what works for you.
In fact the photos here show what I made but not quite what I have written as the recipe as I felt I had skimped on the broth and gone a little over on the squash so I have adjusted to what I think would be better (but didn't manage to re-do photos yet). I still like quite a lot of vegetables in mine, so it's still a hearty bowl, but a little better balanced.
You won't miss the meat in this green bean and squash laksa as the vegetables are filling but not too heavy and the squash soaks up a bit of the delicious, spicy broth. As I said you can spice it up or down to taste, but either way it's going to be flavorful with all the fantastic lime, lemongrass, ginger etc in there. While it's pretty quick to make anyway, you can also make a double batch of the spice paste, and even steam the vegetables, and keep them in the fridge a day or two to make again.
All in all this vegetarian laksa is a wonderful bowl of deliciousness. And don't assume as I did before that it's difficult - it's not, and needs to be made soon.
Try these other tasty vegetarian meals:
- Paneer makhani (An Indian tomato-based curry with firm cheese)
- Vegetarian Thai red curry
- Fresh corn polenta with summer vegetables
- Harissa roasted vegetables with couscous
- Plus get more vegetarian meals in the archives.
Green bean and squash laksa
- 10 oz butternut squash 280g, peeled weight
- 4 oz green beans 110g, or up to 5oz/140g
- 3 ½ oz noodles 100g, traditionally thin rice noodles but other thin noodles will work
For the spice paste
- 1 lime zest ie from 1 lime
- 5 sprigs cilantro coriander, including stems (thick ends removed)
- 3 spring onions salad onions
- 2 red chilies hot, or more or less to taste
- ½ tbsp ginger approx 1in/2.5cm piece
- 1 ½ tbsp lemongrass minced, about 1 stem
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup coconut milk 240ml
- 2 cups vegetable stock 480ml
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce omit for vegan/vegetarian option
- 1 lime juice ie from 1 lime
- Dice the peeled and de-seeded squash in to bite-sized pieces and steam until tender to the knifepoint - around 10min but may vary depending on steamer/how densely packed etc.
- Trim the ends of the beans and cut longer ones into shorter pieces and steam them as well - they will be quicker so it's best to do them separately, or you can boil them around 3-5min until just tender.
- Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions and divide between two bowls.
- Meanwhile prepare the spice paste - peel the ginger and cut into chunks, take the end of the chilies and remove seeds if you want it less hot, leave in if you want hotter, and roughly chop the cilantro and salad/spring onions then put all the paste ingredients (lime zest, cilantro, salad onions, chilies, ginger, lemongrass, sesame oil, ground coriander and turmeric) in a small food processor/blender and blend until a fairly smooth paste. A few lumps are fine.
- Heat the oil in a wok or skillet/frying pan and fry the spice paste for a minute or two, stirring regularly. Add the coconut milk and stock and bring to a simmer. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce (if using) and lime juice as well as the squash and beans. Cook for a couple minutes to allow the flavors to mingle. Adjust the lime/soy to taste if needed.
- Carefully divide the vegetables between the bowls and pour over the broth/sauce.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
See all the other noodle dishes being shared today:
Haluski (Fried Cabbage & Noodles) by Making Miracles
Bacon and Beer Mac & Cheese by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Sopa Seca de Fideo - Spicy Mexican Noodles by Food Lust People Love
Kakaós Tészta (Hungarian Cocoa Noodles) by Tara's Multicultural Table
MiMi's Baked Ziti by Cooking With Carlee
Tortellini and Tomato Salad by The Freshman Cook
Homemade Noodles by Our Good Life
Tossed Homemade Macaroni Noodles by A Day in the Life on the Farm