Sometimes you just want to slurp some noodles. That’s the mood that struck me yesterday. Since I’m trying to avoid wheat, finding an appropriate noodle was more challenging than I thought it would be.
I knew soba noodles were made from buckwheat and that buckwheat was gluten-free, so I wanted to make a dish featuring soba. However, finding soba noodles that didn’t contain wheat in addition to buckwheat required visiting two stores. I finally discovered a brand that contained buckwheat and sweet potatoes. Eureka!
This dish is a cross between a noodle dish you’d get in an Asian restaurant and a soup. If you prefer more of a soup, add more water or some vegetable stock. The noodles do have quite a bit of carbs, so load up on the veggies and broth and use the noodles more as a garnish.
A tip on cooking with bok choy: Chop the white stalks and thinly slice the leafy green parts. Add the stalks towards the beginning of cooking and the greens towards the end. The stalks will need more cooking time and you don’t want the greens to lose their bright color. This applies whether you are making this noodle dish or a stir-fry.
A note about edamame: Edamame is another name for soybeans and you can find them in the freezer section of your grocery store. They come still in the pods or shelled. I generally prefer to buy them in the pod, but for this dish, the pre-shelled ones work better. More than 90% of the soybeans grown in the U.S. have been genetically modified, so I always look for a brand with the “non-GMO” label.
Make it vegan: Substitute agave nectar for the honey.
Make it gluten-free: Make sure your brand of soba noodles is gluten-free and use gluten-free tamari.
If you want to explore other ways to use soba noodles, you might enjoy Far East Steak Salad (for meat-eaters only) and Soba Noodles with Roasted Eggplant.
Soba Noodles with Edamame and Bok Choy
Adapted from Prevention (March 2013)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 scallions, sliced, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 small pieces (about 1/2-inch in diameter) of thinly shaved fresh ginger root, peeled
2 large stalks bok choy, white parts chopped and green parts thinly sliced
6 ounces soba noodles
1 cup frozen edamame (shelled), thawed
2 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Combine water, rice vinegar, tamari/soy sauce, honey and crushed red pepper in a 3-quart saucepan. Add about 3/4 of the scallions, 3/4 of the cilantro, garlic, ginger and the white parts of the bok choy. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles according to package directions and drain.
Add the edamame, carrots, green parts of the bok choy and sesame oil to the scallion mixture. Bring back to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes.
Divide noodles and vegetable mixture among 4 bowls. Garnish with remaining scallions and cilantro.
Makes 4 servings
Per serving: 232 calories, 3g fat (0g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 505mg sodium, 46g carb, 5g fiber, 11g sugar, 11g protein
Nutritional Analysis: Chinese cabbages like bok choy are good sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Manganese, Dietary Fiber, Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Magnesium and Phosphorus. (Source: nutritiondata.com) If 46g carb is too much for you at one meal, reduce your portion of noodles and load up on the veggies. You could also reduce or eliminate the honey.
I’ve been in a breakfast rut. When it’s freezing outside, I’m less interested in cold foods like smoothies and cereal. I don’t even like to have salads for lunch.
I’ve also been trying to incorporate more vegetables into every meal (including breakfast), reduce my consumption of grains and eat foods that decrease inflammation in the body. Inflammation seems to be a better predictor of future heart problems than cholesterol levels these days.
Enter these delicious crispy baked pancakes featuring root vegetables, onion and flax seeds (a great food to add to your diet if you want to reduce inflammation). Figure out how to use the grating attachment on your food processor and prepping the veggies will be a snap. Serve these savory latkes with homemade cinnamon applesauce or a little bit of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream if you aren’t avoiding dairy.
No parsnips? No worries. Use any root vegetable that will grate well. I made my last batch with sweet potatoes, a single parsnip and a couple of knobs of kohlrabi.
You should be able to find mirin, a sweet rice wine used in Japanese cooking, in the international/Asian section of your grocery store. If you would rather use ingredients you have on hand, substitute dry sherry, sweet marsala or dissolve 1/8 teaspoon sugar in 2 tablespoons of white wine.
Make it gluten-free: Use gluten-free cornmeal.
Make it ahead: Cook the latkes ahead of time, let them cool and refrigerate. They heat up amazingly well in the microwave, although they won’t be quite as crisp. If you want a crunchier texture, reheat them in the oven at 450°F for about 5 minutes. You can also freeze the latkes. After baking, let them cool and place the entire baking sheet into the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the latkes to a freezer bag. When ready to reheat, let thaw for 15 minutes, place on a baking sheet and bake at 450°F for 5 to 10 minutes.
Baked Sweet Potato and Parsnip Latkes
Adapted from Clean Food by Terry Walters
2 tablespoons golden flax seeds, freshly ground
1/2 cup water
1 large onion
3 parsnips, peeled
1 large sweet potato, peeled
2 tablespoons mirin
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
freshly ground black pepper
Cinnamon Applesauce or prepared unsweetened applesauce
Place water in measuring 1-cup sized measuring cup. Add ground flax seeds and stir. Let soak for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, use the grating disc on your food processor to grate onion, parsnips and sweet potatoes (or grate by hand). Place grated vegetables in a large bowl and add mirin and soaked flax seeds. Sprinkle with cornmeal and salt and mix well with your hands.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Brush on some of the coconut oil. Use an ice cream scoop to put mounds of vegetable mixture onto baking sheets (10 mounds per sheet). Drizzle remaining coconut oil onto tops of each mound, sprinkle with pepper, then flatten with a spatula.
Bake for 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until edges look brown and crisp. Serve hot with applesauce.
Makes 10 servings
Per serving (2 latkes, does not include applesauce): 94 calories, 2g fat (1g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 113mg sodium, 17g carb, 3g fiber, 2g sugar, 2g protein
Nutritional Analysis: Sweet potatoes are a good source of Vitamin A, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Manganese. Flax seeds are strongly anti-inflammatory and are a good source of Dietary Fiber, Thiamin, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper. Parsnips are a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Manganese and Potassium. (Source: nutritiondata.com)
If you weed through an array of options and read a lot of labels, you can find prepared applesauce without high fructose corn syrup, artificial colorings or artificial sweeteners at the grocery store. Why bother when making your own is so easy?
All you have to do is peel and slice some apples and throw them into a slow cooker with a little bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice, water and a cinnamon stick. You can even leave out the cinnamon stick if finding the ones that you know are hiding somewhere at the back of your pantry is too much trouble.
Homemade applesauce makes a great topping for pancakes and latkes like these Baked Sweet Potato and Parsnip Latkes. The CompostMaster also loves to eat this applesauce warm topped with a little bit of gluten-free granola or walnuts as dessert.
I used a combination of Gala and Red Delicious apples for my applesauce, but experiment with different varieties to see what you like best.
Cinnamon Applesauce (Slow Cooker)
Adapted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann
7 large apples (about 4 pounds total), peeled, cored and quartered
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1 cinnamon stick
Toss apples, lemon juice and water in slow cooker. Bury cinnamon stick in the middle of the apples. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or on LOW for 6 hours until apples are falling apart.
Remove cinnamon stick. If you want your applesauce chunky, leave as is or use a potato masher right in the slow cooker to break up the bigger pieces. If you want a smoother applesauce, purée cooked apples in a food processor or with an immersion blender.
Serve applesauce warm or place it in a jar with a screw-top lid and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Makes 4 cups (12 servings)
Per serving (1/3 cup): 42 calories, 0g fat (0g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 11g carb, 1g fiber, 9g sugar, 0g protein
Nutritional Analysis: Apples are a good source of Vitamin C and Fiber. (Source: nutritiondata.com)