For the rest of 2021, I'll be blogging about specific, easy, real food swaps which will take you from pound-packing choices to nutrient powerhouses that feed your body and mind. These tweaks can help you with weight control by reducing inflammation and stabilizing blood sugar. Plus they are delicious! Tune in each month for practical, hands-on guidance to boost your food choices and elevate your health, and try the recipes for inspiration. Let me know if you do in the comments below.
Today, let's tackle and tweak carbs:
Pasta and Rice
- “Foodles” – pasta replacement from vegetables. Zoodles (zucchini), swoodles (sweet potato), sqoodles (squash) and many others. Most stores now carry pre-made Foodles in the produce aisle. Or, you can purchase a spiralizer–a fun family-friendly activity to make these noodles. Otherwise, spaghetti squash (shredded with a fork after roasting) is always a great option too.
- Cauliflower rice – a winner for rice lovers. Start out by replacing half of the regular rice with riced cauliflower in recipes and work up to complete rice elimination. Buy frozen cauliflower rice packages to avoid the possibility of mold contamination, and add it just in the last minutes of rice cooking for optimal texture.
- Shirataki / Miracle Noodles – convenient and made from konjac yam, a resistant starch, these can hit the spot for pasta and rice lovers. Similar in texture to rice noodles, these are a bit gelatinous and sticky and soften nicely when cooked in a sauce. And they're a great source of prebiotic fiber for the microbiome. You can stock up on these noodles via online resources for healthy foods such as Thrive Market for a great savings.
- Bean and legume pastas – many varieties in a bunch of shapes from spaghetti to rotini, popular brands are made from black beans, lentils and chickpeas. These pastas are a high fiber, grain-free alternative to flour-based pasta. They're great for kids too.
- Veggie Extravaganza – As you progressively reduce refined or excessive carbohydrates in your diet (especially in grains), you may enjoy trying a bed of various types of vegetables as a base for a sauce. Try chicken in peanut sauce on top of a mound of steamed broccoli or your favorite bolognese sauce atop a bowl of green beans. There are endless, nutrient-dense and flavorful possibilities here!
Miso Miracle Noodle Soup
This is a delicious meal in a bowl using shirataki noodles. These no-carb, noodles are made from konjac yam. They are a healthy substitute for noodles made from flours, and they offer excellent prebiotic fiber.
1 16 oz. carton organic veggie broth
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 T organic miso paste
3 packages shirataki, Miracle Noodles
1 lb salmon filet, skinned (Note: You can substitute with other proteins such as chicken or tofu.)
1 T olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 baby bok choy, rinsed and chopped into 1" pieces
1 large stalk broccoli florets, rinsed
6-7 shitaki mushroom caps, rinsed and sliced thin
1-2 T tamari sauce or coconut aminos
For toppings, optional:
6 T olive oil
1 1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/2 t paprika
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2" piece of ginger, finely chopped
1/4 c brown rice crispies
1 T sesame seeds
1/3 c cilantro, chopped
In soup pot, heat veggie broth with garlic. When boiling, reduce heat, add miso paste and whisk until well combined. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, in small pot, fill 3/4 with water and bring to boil. Drain and rinse Miracle Noodles and pour into pot. Bring water back to boiling, and boil for 3 minutes. Drain noodles and set aside.
Heat a large sauté pan on high. Rub both sides of salmon with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Place onto pan and cook one side until salmon easily releases from pan, about 4 minutes. Flip and repeat on other side. Remove from pan.
In same sauté pan, add vegetables. Sauté until mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add tamari sauce and continue to cook for 1 minute. Turn off heat.
For toppings: Make chili oil by adding 4 tablespoons of the oil to another sauté pan and heat gently over medium heat. Place the red-pepper flakes and paprika into a small bowl. Once the oil is warm, but not smoking, pour it over the spices. Set aside as you make ginger crumbs.
For the ginger crumbs, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the same pan and heat over medium-high. Add the ginger and shallot. Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, until browned. Add the rice crispies, sesame seeds and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes more, stirring often, until toasted. Turn off heat.
To assemble soup: Ladle broth into bowl. Layer with noodles, veggies and pieces of salmon. Top with ginger crumbs and spoon on chili oil to taste. Top with cilantro. Enjoy!