Monday, January 27, 2014

Stir fried soba noodles with vegetables

Soba noodles in my mind is the healthiest of the noodle family. While it has carbs, it also has some protein from the buckwheat flour. Most brands of soba noodles have all purpose flour added to the buckwheat flour. Hence you get the satisfaction of eating carbs but with a little less guilt.
In this extremely simple stir fry, I use assorted vegetables, cut into matchsticks, to keep the crunch of the vegetables and have them cooked at the same time.  The cooking time is literally 5 minutes, but prepping the vegetables, takes 15 to 20 minutes.
It is a great one pot dinner. For the meat eaters, you can add a thinly sliced sautéed chicken breast or sautéed shrimp to the finished dish keeping the vegetarians and the non-vegetarians happy.

Stir Fried Soba noodles with vegetables

1 medium sized bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed
1 medium zucchini
1 cup sugar snap peas, topped and tailed
8 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium sized carrot
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
One bunch of scallions, cut into two inch pieces
1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
8 oz soba noodles
  1. Heat large wok over high heat. In the meantime place a large pot of water to boil for cooking the soba noodles. While the water is boiling, we can start prepping the vegetables. 
  2. Cut the zucchini into 2 inch pieces and cut the pieces into matchsticks. The easiest way is to vertically slice the 2 inch pieces and then stack them and cut into matchsticks. Similarly, cut the bell pepper into two inch segments vertically and then cut those segments horizontally into matchsticks. Now, peel the carrot and cut it similar to the zucchini. It is important that the vegetables are cut evenly so that they can cook together.
  3. Before adding the noodles to the boiling water, start to saute the vegetables as the soba cooks very quickly. Add 2 tablespoons canola oil to the preheated wok. Now add the minced garlic and the crushed red pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Now add the mushrooms, zucchini, carrot and sugar snap peas and stir fry on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. At this time add the soba noodles to the boiling water and follow instructions on the package for exact cooking time. 
  4. Finally add the bell peppers and the bean sprouts. Continue to stir fry over high heat for 1 minute and add the drained soba noodles and soy sauce. Toss well to combine the noodles with the vegetables and soy sauce. Drizzle the toasted sesame oil as a finishing touch - toss lightly and serve.
Serves 3

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Linguini with Spinach and Sundried tomato pesto

This recipe was born out of the necessity to add more iron to my daughters diet. Spinach and chia seeds are both rich in iron and this recipe contains both. I used chia seed linguini and tossed it with a tangy spinach and sun-dried tomato pesto. Pine nuts added at the end provides a great richness to the dish and a generous grating of fresh Parmesan cheese balances the acidity of the sun-dried tomato.

The salt and oil used in the pesto is a function of how much salt and oil are already present in the sun dried tomatoes. I like to use dried sun-dried tomatoes not soaked in oil so that I can control the oil content of the dish. Also, I use organic spinach since it is less alkaline than the regular spinach. Additionally I blanch the spinach before making the pesto since cooked spinach is better for the body to absorb, calcium, iron and magnesium.

Linguini with Spinach and Sun-dried tomato pesto
1 bunch organic spinach, cleaned and washed
3 oz sun dried tomatoes chopped - not in olive oil
3 cloves of minced garlic
3 tablespoons pine nuts
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
10 oz Chia seed linguini
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the washed spinach for 30 seconds just to blanch the leaves and remove with tongs to a colander to drain.
  2. In a food processor, add the blanched, drained spinach, sun dried tomatoes, and minced garlic and give it a good buzz. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and with the motor running, slowly add the olive oil till the mixture starts to look like pesto. Taste and adjust the salt accordingly.
  3. Now boil the linguini as per the directions on the packet. Once cooked, drain and toss with the pesto. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top and serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese on the side.
Serves 3 to 4

Friday, January 10, 2014

Whole wheat spaghetti with roasted red cabbage, raisins, pecans and feta cheese

Had bought a head of red cabbage for a salad by Yotam Ottolenghi and then did not know what to do with it. I had eaten roasted red cabbage somewhere and it was delicious. Hence decided to make a spicy roasted red cabbage with some sweet roasted raisins and toss with a salty cheese and some good old carbs. A handful of toasted, salted pecans provided a nice crunch to the dish, since the cabbage after roasting was not crunchy any more. The combination of spice, sweet and salt was really fantastic and the cabbage was beautifully caramelized since it was roasted at a high temperature.

Whole wheat spaghetti with roasted red cabbage, raisins, pecans and feta cheese

8 oz whole wheat spaghetti - has more protein than regular spaghetti
1/2 red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped, roasted, salted pecans
4 oz Greek feta cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried pepper flakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
  2. Toss the sliced cabbage with two tablespoons olive oil, salt and dried pepper flakes. Spread them in a single layer on a large baking sheet and bake in the oven in the middle rack for 15 minutes. Then remove and toss the raisins with the cabbage and roast for 7 more minutes till the raisins become plump. Remove from the oven and set aside while the spaghetti is being cooked.
  3. In the meantime cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the box. When done, drain and toss with the roasted cabbage and raisin mixture. Crumble in the feta and lightly fold it in along with the chopped pecans.
  4. Remove to a serving dish and serve immediately along with a crisp salad.
Serves 3