One of my favourite things about living in Thailand was how consistent my co-workers were when it came to the lunchtime meal. We would all head out together around noon, and walk over to one of many nearby noodle shops. Each and every day for 6 months, I ate soup with a variety of vegetables, interesting “balls” (fish, pork – this was back in my non-vegan days), and a stack of rice noodles. I would pile the dish with dried chili –  which I considered “training” for even spicier dishes I’d often encounter. When I returned to Canada, I was considered a bit of a spicy hero based on my ability to tolerate a seemingly inhuman amount of hot. I consider myself to be a pretty hungry person – I have a good appetite and I’ve always cleaned my plate. I like big portions and eating meals that are really filling. This soup is my version of thai noodle soup – spicy, filling, nourishing. I find it’s a good meal for stimulating conversation as there’s no way you can polish it off before sharing a story or two with your meal companion (or, if you’re alone, getting through an episode of Nashvill…, a thoughtful documentary).

The tamarind adds a subtle bit of sweetness to the broth. The balls are optional, but I’m a bit nostalgic, so there’s that.

Yield: 2 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes


For soup
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups cooked rice noodles
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp dried tamarind
1/2 leek, sliced finely
1 tsp vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1 cup button mushrooms, quartered or 2 portabella caps, sliced thinly
½ cup cilantro sprigs
1 red thai chili, 1 small green chili or jalapeno
1/4 cup Braggs or soy sauce
2 or 3 Sweet Potato Veggie Balls (optional, recipe posted soon)
1/2 sliced avocado


Soak dried tamarind in warm water for a few minutes and then chop finely. Heat broth and add tamarind, garlic, ginger, and lemon. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

Heat margarine in skillet and saute mushrooms and leeks for 5 minutes.

Arrange noodles in bowls. Place veggies, cilantro sprigs and avocado slices on top of noodles and pour broth into bowls.

Add chopped chilies / jalapeno to soy sauce in small bowl and use as a condiment for the noodles.


Feeling Lawless? This dish has 4 components: broth (veg, mushroom, miso), noodles (rice, glass, sweet potato), veggies (and and all), and protein (tofu, beans, tempeh, vegan “meat”). Pull together what you’ve got in the fridge, add you favorite hot sauce, and call it a day!