Sunday, September 11, 2011

Edamame Pesto

I love making different pesto sauces. They are so versatile and flavourful and simple if you just throw all the ingredients in the food processor. This one is high in protein because of the edamame, low in fat, and loaded with nutrition.

1/2 cup organic, shelled edamame*
Few handfuls fresh cilantro
1 bunch green onions, lightly steamed**
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large chunk fresh ginger, peeled, cut into about 4 pieces
2 tbls miso paste
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
Wasabi paste - maybe 1 tsp or so, to taste (optional)

Throw all ingredients into food processor and blend for about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl, if necessary.

*I buy frozen organic shelled edamame and then microwave 1/2 cup for about 90 seconds.
**I microwave green onions for about a minute to cut sharpness, but this is optional.

This sauce is perfect for shiritake noodles because it is thick and flavourful. If you want to use it for another purpose and want to thin it out, just add more rice vinegar.

I mix it in with a 1 lb bag of noodles, heating the dish in a wok or fry pan over medium heat. I steam a head of chopped broccoli and then add it to the wok/fry pan and serve. You can add other veggies, if you prefer, such as bell pepper, mushrooms, snow peas, carrots, etc. You can also add shrimp, chicken or tofu for additional protein.

The key to using shiritake noodles is to start with a very thick sauce because they do not absorb moisture. The advantage is that they retain their shape and NEVER get mushy like rice noodles. The challenge is, if you are not careful, you will end up with a watery dish.

For Asian-inspired dishes, I always use the shiritake noodles made with only yam starch. These babies are delicious and calorie and carb free! They also contain no funky ingredients. The yam starch is simply not a substance the body absorbs, but it does contribute to feeling full, so you end up with a large, satisfying meal with no calories or carbs from the noodles. This means you can load up the dish with delicious ingredients that provide good fats, complex carbs/fibre, protein, and flavour.

A few things to remember about shiritake noodles:

*They have a weird smell when you first open the package, but this goes away once you rinse them so don't worry.
*Drain and dry them as well as possible after rinsing.
*They come in long strands so snip with kitchen shears before adding to your dish, unless adding to a soup where you may want longer noodles.
*If using them for Italian-style dishes, buy the ones with tofu. These ones do have some carbs and calories, but still much less than grain-based noodles.
*If adding a lot of vegetables to your dish, make sure you are starting with a very thick sauce and perhaps cook veggies seperately first so any excess water can be drained.

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