Archive | April 2013

Asian Buckwheat Noodle Salad with Tofu

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The Japanese buckwheat noodle, also known as soba, is a very healthy alternative to other Asian noodles that are often made from rice. It is traditionally served either cold with a dipping sauce or in a hot broth as a soup. Buckwheat noodles often stand out and are popular with vegetarians because they contain all eight essential amino acids, including lysine, which is lacking in wheat. They are easily digestible and contain a number of antioxidants, in addition to some essential nutrients such as thiamin and riboflavin.

This buckwheat noodle salad with tofu makes for a filling lunch or as a wholesome side item to an Asian-inspired dinner. The recipe can also be tweaked a bit and served hot as a noodle stir-fry. It serves  6-8 as a side.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. buckwheat noodles
  • ½ pkg. extra firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ½ red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • ½  cucumber, seeded, and diced
  • 1/8 c. chopped cilantro
  • 4 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger

Directions

  1. Boil noodles according to package directions, strain, and allow to cool. Add tofu, red pepper, carrot, cucumber, cliantro, scallions, and sesame seeds.
  2. In a small bowl, mix rice vinegar, tamari/soy sauce, lime juice, honey, hoisin, garlic and ginger . Whisk in sesame oil. Toss with noodles. Serve chilled.
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Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Quesadilla with Mango Salsa

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 The quesadilla has become almost as traditional now as the sandwich was 50 years ago in America. Much like sandwiches, they can be made with a variety of ingredients, either healthy or unhealthy.  There is no limit to what you can stuff inside a quesadilla, however when done right this Mexican original can make for a pretty nutritious meal.

 This month’s recipe is great for almost any time of the day. It is light enough for lunch, but hearty enough for dinner (or vice versa depending on when you prefer your heaviest meal). These quesadillas with mango salsa are also sure to impress guests if you serve them as an appetizer at dinner or cocktail parties. The fact that they are one of the more pleasant ways to get in a serving of vegetables and beans, without really trying, is just an added bonus. About half of a quesadilla is one serving, but you can eat a whole one, along with a salad, and still be in a reasonable range of calorie consumption for one meal. If you are like me, then you will probably not stop at one!

 Quesadillas:

–       1 yellow onion, sliced

–       1 red pepper, sliced

–       1 zucchini, seeds removed and sliced thinly

–       1 yellow squash, seeds removed and sliced thinly

–       3 cloves garlic, minced

–       2 tablespoons olive oil

–       salt and pepper to taste

–       1 whole tomato, seeds removed and diced

–       5 scallions, sliced thinly

–       ¼ cup chopped cilantro

–       1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed

–       1 teaspoon cumin

–       ½ teaspoon cayenne

–       10 medium-sized whole wheat tortillas

–       1.5 cups shredded, low fat Monterey Jack cheese

Mango Salsa

–       1 mango, medium diced

–       ¼ red onion, finely diced

–       ¼ red pepper, finely diced

–       2 scallions, sliced thinly

–       1 tablespoon cilantro

–       Juice from 1 lime

–       1 tablespoon olive oil

–       1 tablespoon honey or agave

–       1/8 teaspoon cayenne

–       Salt and pepper to taste

 Preparation:

  1. Prepare salsa first by simply prepping and mixing all ingredients. The flavors work best together when prepared at least an hour before serving.
  2. Toss the first 4 sliced vegetables and garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper in a bowl. Place on a sheet pan and cook at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, until soft and starting to brown.
  3. Remove from oven and mix with tomato, black beans, cumin and cayenne. Sprinkle cheese on one side of tortilla, followed by a bit of the veg and bean mixture over top, sprinkle a bit more cheese on top of that, fold over and continue assembling each quesadilla in the same manner.
  4. Heat a nonstick pan to medium heat. Cook both sides of quesadillas until brown (use a little oil or pan-spray if necessary).
  5. Slice into 4 and serve salsa over top.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 226 / Fat: 6g / Saturated Fat: 2 / Carbohydrates: 38 / Fiber: 8 / Protein: 7

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Everyone knows that eating properly while preparing for endurance events such as a marathon is crucial to one’s success. However, most athletes do not fuel themselves as sufficiently as they should. Even with the time restraints of a strict training schedule, it is possible to consistently consume foods that will help develop your physical aspirations.

The key to eating for endurance events is to get as much “bang for your buck” as possible. This means eating nutrient dense foods that can provide the ultimate amount of nutrition for the least amount of calories. This should be a golden rule for everyone, even those that are inactive, but it is a most crucial guideline for the endurance athlete.

Ethnic food, such as many Asian dishes are very flavorsome ways to replenish the body, while trying to remain lean. I recently charmed a U.S. cycling coach during a business meeting with this guilt-free version of Pad Thai. This recipe can be prepared in only a few minutes, and it provides a nutrient dense meal that is perfect for anyone in the midst of training for an event. It serves 6.

Ingredients:

–       8 oz rice noodles

–       ¼ cup soy sauce

–       ¼ cup ketchup

–       ½ cup of honey or agave nectar

–       juice of 2 limes

–       1.5 tbsp of hot chili sauce such as Sirracha

–       ¼ cup sake or rice wine

–       1.5 tbsp of canola oil

–       1 pound firm tofu cubed

–       1 red pepper julienned

–       1 red onion julienned

–       4 cloves garlic minced

–       2 tsp ginger minced

–       2 cups snowpeas julienned

–       2 cups beans sprouts

–       2 cups of shredded carrot

–       ½ cup of chopped cilantro

–       ¼ cup chopped scallions

Directions:

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions and set aside.
  2. Combine the next 5 ingredients to make the sauce and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or wok and add the tofu at medium-high heat. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes until it begins to brown. Then add the red pepper and onion and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for an additional 1 minute. Add noodles and sauce and stir for about 10 seconds until everything is evenly coated with the sauce. Add the snowpeas, bean sprouts, and carrot and cook until it is mixed evenly and heated all of the way through.
  4. Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro and scallions.

Note: You can also add additional lime juice and/or add more chili sauce if you want to give it more kick at the end. Peanuts are a traditional garnish in Pad Thai, and another protein source such as chicken or shrimp can be added at the end as well.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

Calories: 286 / Fat: 5g / Carbohydrates: 32g / Fiber: 3g / Protein: 5g