A twist on nostalgia: noodles with cabbage & fakin’

I’m not sure if it’s our northern/ eastern European roots, or if this dish was just popular in the eighties and early nineties, but Sam and I both have fond memories of our mothers making a simple dish of buttered noodles, bacon and cabbage. I no longer eat bacon, and Sam tries to avoid butter, but last night I was craving the smoky-crunchy-soft combination of that dish, so I decided to try my own vegetarian take on it. I used farfalle (bow ties) in place of the egg noodles, and a combination of olive oil and Smart Balance in place of the butter. I had a half head of purple cabbage in the fridge, left over from a slaw I’d made a few nights before, so I used that instead of the classic green. In a grill pan, Sam fried up tempeh with some olive oil, garlic, liquid smoke and a touch of syrup to mimic bacon. I added mushrooms and scallions, and some sunflower seeds for additional crunch. We tossed everything together, and reminisced…

Noodles with Cabbage and Fakin’

I used purple cabbage because that was what I had on hand, but you could use green, or even brussels sprouts. Use any bite-sized pasta, or egg noodles if you want. For the tempeh “bacon,” if you have time, marinate it overnight. But we made this on the fly, and it was still delicious.

tempeh bacon cabbage noodlesINGREDIENTS

  • 1 16 oz box of farfalle pasta
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine (I used Smart Balance)
  • 6-8 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 small head of cabbage, chopped
  • 3 small cloves of garlic, smashed and diced
  • 8 ounces tempeh (I think we used the wild rice kind)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup, honey or brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of scallions, chopped
  • 1/8 cup sunflower seeds (shelled)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Slice the tempeh, and place it in a mixture of olive oil, 1 diced garlic clove, liquid smoke, soy sauce, and syrup/ honey/ sugar. Let sit for a bit– (the longer, the better– overnight is ideal– but we actually only marinated ours for about 15 minutes before throwing the entire mixture into a grill pan). Heat a grill pan or heavy skillet on high heat. Add the tempeh to the pan, and fry until crispy (turning, when one side is done.) Drain any excess oil off and set aside.

In a separate skillet on medium heat, melt butter/ margarine. Add remaining garlic cloves and let cook for about a minute. Add the mushrooms and cover, cooking until mushrooms are almost tender. Add cabbage and cook, uncovered, until cabbage is mostly tender but still a little crunchy. Toss in the scallions and let cook for another minute. In a large bowl, toss together mushroom-scallion mixture, tempeh and pasta. Add sunflower seeds and mix thoroughly, so that they are evenly distributed. Add a little additional olive oil if necessary, and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!