What you need:
- 3- to 4-ounce bundle thin rice noodles or bean-thread noodles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 32-ounce carton low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 5- to 6-inch piece kombu (optional)
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger, or more to taste
- 1⁄2 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 2 cups water
- 6 to 8 ounces seitan, cut into thin shreds
- 1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1⁄4 cup minced fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons lime juice, or more to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Thinly sliced lime sections for garnish
What you do:
- Cook the noodles according to package directions until al dente, then drain and cut into shorter lengths suitable for soup. Set aside until needed.
- In a soup pot over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic and shallots and sauté until golden.
- Add the broth, kombu, soy sauce, ginger, five-spice powder, and water. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower heat. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Add the seitan, bean sprouts, half of the scallions, and half of the cilantro. Season with lime juice, pepper and, if desired, some additional soy sauce. Simmer for 3 minutes longer, then remove from the heat.
- Serve at once, garnishing the top of each serving with a thin wedge or two of lime, and the remaining cilantro and scallions.