The Quick and Easy Vegetarian Spa Meal… at home

June 18th, 2007 yum Posted in Buckwheat, Japanese, Soy, Spa Food, Vegetables, Vegetarian 6 Comments »

sobayum2.jpg Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how much time it takes to prepare a tasty, healthy meal. Although we try very hard to make healthy, nutritious meals centered around vegetables, when we get really busy it’s easy to start relying on boxed meals and filling starches. This is one reason I love dinner parties- you put a lot of effort into making an elaborate meal to share with your friends, and when it’s all over you usually have leftovers to eat for a few days. High level of yum, and (after the fact), not so much effort required. We ran out of the leftovers from our Friday dinner party this afternoon when DH enjoyed the last of the lettuce wraps and potato salad. So, when I came home starving after a great yoga class and saw DH chomping happily on wheat yakisoba noodles, I wasn’t quite sure what to eat. I remembered my new resolve to eat better- and thought it just wouldn’t feel right to waste all that healthy energy expended on yoga with a lazy meal- but I was tired. Luckily I’d bookmarked a recipe in the April issue of Cooking Light for what they called a “Spicy Cucumber Noodle Salad with Edamame” that sounded both easy and full of healthy ingredients. Only thing was- I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients it called for, like cucumber or bean sprouts. I didn’t let that discourage me, though. We also had a surplus of broccoli in the refrigerator, so first I chopped up some long stemmed florets for my favorite chili garlic roasted broccoli recipe, tossed that in the oven and then got down to converting the soba noodle recipe to be both gluten free and use the vegetables I had on hand. Cucumber is sweet and crunchy, so I substituted my favorite sweet, crisp vegetable- jicama. And while we didn’t have any bean sprouts, we did have a green pepper, and I thought if it was cut thinly enough it just might approximate the crunch of fresh bean sprouts. The dish looked a little bland without any colorful accents, so I added some leftover julienned carrots for color and additional crunch. It was a little different from the original, but even more to my taste- and I was able to complete it by the time the broccoli was ready to come out of the oven. I sat down- took a bite, and was in heaven. I felt like I had been transported to some alternate spa universe of yoga and crisp, light meals- and it was lovely. DH wasn’t really hungry, but he tried a bite on my urging and agreed that it was really yummy. I guess fast food actually can be good, and good for you… So the next time it comes up, I’m really going to try to reach for the broccoli instead of some starchy thing I think will fill my stomach- it makes me so much happier, and makes me feel better too.

Yoga Worthy Soba Noodle Salad
Ingredients
8 oz uncooked soba (100% buckwheat noodles- I use a Japanese variety which has one of the factory disclaimers but doesnt seem to bother me. Orgran has a dedicated Gluten free buckwheat pasta, though it is spiral)
1 cup frozen shelled edamame AKA green soybeans (For soy allergy, substitute white beans or green peas)
1 cup diced english cucumber, sans seeds OR 1 cup diced jicama
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup Carrot Matchsticks
1/2 thinly sliced green pepper
Dressing
1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise (OR vegan for egg intolerance)
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp white GF miso (you can use specialty chickpea etc. miso for soy allergy)
1 tsp Braggs GF soy sauce (leave out, try balsamic vinegar or vegetable stock for soy allergy)
1 tsp chile paste with garlic
1 tsp dark sesame oil

1 1/4 cup fresh bean sprouts (Optional)
Grilled tofu for extra protein (Optional)

Directions
Cook soba in boiling water for two minutes or so, and add edamame. Bring back to a boil and let boil for two more minutes. Place in strainer and submerge in cold water, drain again and let cool. Put noodles in bowl, add assorted vegetables up to sliced green pepper. Combine dressing ingredients and whisk, pour over pasta and mix thoroughly. Top with Bean Sprouts if desired and Tofu if desired.
Notes
This was an awesome, light noodle salad. Yummy dressing, loved the crunchy veggies. You can modify vegetables to taste and to match your pantry.

IF YOU ARE PACKING THIS FOR THE NEXT DAY, KEEP THE DRESSING SEPARATE! The next day the dressing had soaked into the leftover pasta and made it gummy. Just dress the amount of salad you intend to eat at the time…

Chili-Garlic Roasted Broccoli Recipe
Ingredients
broccoli tops, equiv. to about one lg broccoli.
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil or so.
5 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
dash of chili powder
1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend (I used Trader Joe’s)
Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, chili powder and grill
seasoning in the bottom of a large bowl and add the broccoli spears.
Toss to coat broccoli evenly then transfer to a large nonstick
baking sheet. Roast the broccoli until ends are crisp and brown and
stalks are tender, 15-17 minutes.
Notes
I made this tonight with a baked potato(washed, dried, pricked and
baked in the oven on a bed of kosher salt), and my favorite southern
fried tofu recipe. (That recipe should be already in the recipes
file).. It was really satisfying. And I was just thinking that one
way to expand what we can eat is by expanding how we prepare what we
eat… Roasted broccoli is very different (to me) than steamed or
sauteed… So, give it a try. I thought it was delicious!

I’ve also enjoyed this recipe with half organic cauliflower florets. You can tone down or up the chili powder to taste.

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