The prized title for new fast casual restaurants is “the next Chipotle“. Take a stroll down most blocks in NYC and you’ll find that yes, there are many imitations of Chipotle, from Indian to Asian fusion. The recipe is simple: create a restaurant with fresh ingredients, give the customer some level of autonomy when it comes to the details of their meal, and keep it relatively inexpensive and quick. It’s not surprising that this format works so well (full disclosure: I think the idea is brilliant but I just don’t think Chipotle is that good).
For me, the most exciting part about these restaurants is the inspiration they provide for my kitchen. For example, I love that I can order a bowl with both rice and salad at Chipotle – a combination that leaves me feeling less guilty than ordering a full platter of just carbs and starch. With a busy week ahead, I decided to create my own flavorful and fresh one-bowl lunch – with a balance of udon noodles and leafy kale. This recipe is my favorite of the past few months, so definitely give it a try! Leave the shrimp out for a vegan meal. It made three large lunch servings.
2 cups of frozen cooked shrimp (de-veined, no heads), thawed
6 oz of dry udon noodles (I used 3/4 of this package)
5-8 oz of baby kale leaves
1 bell pepper
1 medium cucumber
2 large carrots
1/4 cup of diced green onions
For the shrimp:
1 tbsp of miso paste
1 tsp of agave
1 tbsp of olive oil
For the dressing
3.5 tbsp of peanut butter, softened
3 tbsp of soy sauce
Juice from 1 lime
1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of agave
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook udon noodles according to package directions. When cooked, strain them and run cold water over the noodles to full cool them. Set aside.
Use a measuring cup to combine the agave, oil, and miso paste for the shrimp. Whisk until fully combined. In a small baking dish, spread the thawed shrimp and drizzle the marinade on top, stirring everything with a spoon until fully coated. Roast the shrimp at 400 degrees for roughly 10-15 minutes.
To prep your vegetables, start with the cucumber. Slice lengthwise, then slice each half in half lengthwise once more. Use your knife to slice out all of the seeds in the middle. Cut into small slivers, about the size of a piece of Orbit gum. For the carrots, chop the ends off and use a vegetable peeler to ribbon the carrots. Trim and clean the pepper, then slice into thin slivers.
Combine the peanut butter, agave, lime juice, soy sauce, vinegar, and oil in a cup or bowl and use a whisk to combine everything until a syrupy sauce is formed.
Place a small bed of noodles in a bowl, then top with kale leaves, all of your veggies and diced green onions, and shrimp. Drizzle the sauce on and stir thoroughly. Eat cold!