Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, One Pot Dish, Vegetarian

Tastiest Sesame Tofu Asian-Inspired “Pasta”

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Happy Meatless Monday! (Or happy meatless Friday during Lent? That works too.) Here’s a combo I’ve been playing around with since the fall and I think I finely perfected it — Sesame Spaghetti Squash with Tofu. What really make it is the sesame tofu from Whole Foods. Yeah, it’s probably fried and high(ish) in sodium, but it’s so tasty and takes this veggie dish to the next level. Not a tofu fan? Just as good with chicken. Already tasted it for you and you still have the sesame flavors from tossing everything with soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Also, another fun fact is the smaller the spaghetti squash, the more it’s like angel hair pasta versus spaghetti.

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Asian, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Salad, Seafood, Vegetarian

Easiest Savory Sesame Salmon Salad

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My dad flew out of Boston this weekend, so naturally my mom sent down some salmon and chickpea fesenjan from Minimalist Baker (delish, btw) down from Maine. I had some leftover bok choy and scallions in my fridge, which are the makings of a perfect salad.  Sesame salmon and tahini go oh, so well together. I whipped up an easy dressing and had the best lunch: Sesame Salmon Salad with a Tahini Dressing.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Slow Cooker

Simply Savory Sesame Chicken

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There’s been two things going on with me: 1). I’ve been trying to meal plan and meal prep lately, especially since we had a busy exam schedule this week; and 2). I’ve been craving some really greasy Chinese foods. Ok, maybe not really greasy, but something sweet, salty and savory with an Asian fusion all wrapped into one. I got this idea for Asian meal prep bowls from Damn Delicious, which I especially like because she includes nutritional facts for each serving. I had ingredients for sesame chicken (since Damn Delicious makes a teriyaki chicken) and used Skinny Taste for the chicken, but swapped ground chicken for chicken breasts. I popped everything in the crock pot while studying on Monday, let it brew while reviewing cardiac nursing and dished it up just in time for dinner. Garnished with sesame seeds and green onions, these Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken Brown Rice Bowls are *almost* better than take-out.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, One Pot Dish

Paleo Rainbow Drunken Noodles

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Chrissy Teigen made me add whiskey to this. Just kidding. No, she didn’t, but she recommended adding whiskey to these noodles “drunk.” According to CT, you’re supposed to eat drunken noodles as a hangover cure. Not sure if I quite believe that, but I still modified her version of “Actual Drunken Noodles” from CravingsI saw Pinch of Yum use spiralized veggies for a noodle base in addition to regular rice noodles when she Pad Thai so I figured, why not do the best of both worlds? I spiralized a sweet potato, red pepper and zucchinis. I added a few more eggs and cubed chicken from Pinch of Yum’s version to make this a more hearty, carnivore dish. I think the sweet potatoes really add a lot of sweetness on their own to these noodles, so I really cut back on the brown sugar. If you use regular noodles or spiralize veggies that aren’t sweet potatoes, feel free to add brown sugar to taste. I think the sauce ends up being more of a guessing game in terms of what you really like. On a side note, the fresh basil adds tons of flavor. I feel like I’m not even quite sure about the servings because I’ve been so hungry, I’ve gobbled up a bowl and then some. I would say it serves 2-4 to be safe, but you’ve been warned I was a bottomless pit both times I’ve made this so err on the side of caution, and maybe you’ll be lucky and have more leftovers than expected! Sorry for the off portion control, but you won’t be sorry you tasted Basil Drunken “Noodles.”

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, One Pot Dish, Soup

Beefed Up Pho

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Happy snowy day in Boston! Vietnamese Pho Soup may look intimidating (or strange), but it’s so simple. You make a broth, cook the rice noodles and assemble. I originally made a Vegan Pho with tofu because it’s easy to use and requires no prep, but, like the rest of you carnivores out there, I knew I needed to try a try meat lover’s option… with BEEF. I swapped vegetable for beef broth and did a 1:1 ratio of rice noodles to zoodles. As always, pho is light, refreshing and just what the doctor (or nurse) called for on a cold day. The sriracha and jalapeños add just the right amount of spice, the herbs contribute a freshness and the spices just the right flavor. Dish up a heaping bowl of Beef Pho with Zoodles.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Vegan, Vegetarian

Oogling over Spicy, Peanutty Udon

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Peanut noodles are never a bad idea. I really wanted take out on Sunday after a Saturday night of debauchery, but decided it was 1) expensive, 2) too long to wait 60-75 min and 3) unhealthy. Instead, I pulled up my Pinterest, checked what’s in my pantry and settled on making homemade Spicy Peanut & Kale Udon Noodles. This satisfied my gluten and takeout craving, while packed nutrients from the kale and sweet potato. The cucumbers and scallions add a nice, hearty crunch, since I didn’t have any chopped peanuts on hand. Overall, this came together quite well, and I’m so happy  I used up my fridge and pantry arsenal versus ordering take out. Plus, it’s just that much more satisfying when you make it yourself. I think this is when the phrase “better than takeout” comes into play. . .

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, One Pot Dish, Soup, Vegetarian

Ra Ra for Revitalized Ramen Bowls

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I’ve been craving ramen. (If anyone wants authentic ramen in Boston, head to Porter Square and go to Yume Wo Katare. Be warned it’s cash only, the portions are huge and it’s definitely not healthy, but some of the best ramen I’ve had.) After having that this summer, I wanted a healthier, at home twist. This ramen (thanks to Lotus Foods at Whole Foods) was really fun and easy — plus it’s gluten-free, since it’s made with rice. I chopped up the veggies while the egg was heated to a soft boil, dumped in the veggies with the ramen noodles,  waited 5 minutes, topped with the egg and sesame seeds and dug in. Side note, but you can tell I struggggggled peeling that soft boiled egg. Lotus Foods had a much lower sodium content then other brands. (To ditch the high sodium altogether, I’d recommend making your own broth, but that gets a bit more complicated than “easy” ramen at home.) Regardless, these Black Rice Ramen Bowls hit the spot when you want the ease of takeout, but the “healthiness” of homemade.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Side, Soup, Vegetarian

Coming in Hot with Hot & Sour Soup

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In the wise words of Flo Rida, “Oh, hot damn.” This is AMAZING(ly easy). I saw this recipe recently posted on Gimme Some Oven and was so excited to try this. I’ve always wanted to make this at home, but never quite new where to start. This soup is surprisingly simple and not too unhealthy for you if you overlook the sodium — hence why I try to use low sodium options and add soy sauce accordingly. I’m not a big fan of mushrooms so I chopped them into small pieces vs. keeping them in long slices; I didn’t want to skimp on these to keep the flavor authentic. This recipe lets you play around with how hot, sour or salty you like. I kept mine plenty sour and plenty spicy. Plus, I had a cold when I concocted this and it’s a sure way to clear the sinuses with the extra kick of sriracha. I love this. Can’t wait to add Hot & Sour Soup to my recipe arsenal.

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Asian, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Salad

Tangy & Fresh Thai Salad

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To be totally honest, I never really measure salad dressings. I kind of dump, pour, mix and combine like a mad scientist concocting a new compound. The resulting Spicy Peanut Dressing was tangy and acidic from the vinegar and lime juice, but still savory and spicy, both of which I really enjoyed. The flavors complement the fresh herbs quite well. Sometimes, I think kale is really leafy and green, but when chopped, mixed with fresh herbs and topped with the right dressing, kale is pretty benign and makes for a great base. I also am a firm believer that everything tastes better bite-size and chopped. I used a plain rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods for a quick and easy meal. Plus, it beats firing up the oven or stove during the summer. Just chop and combine for this tasty Chopped Thai Chicken Salad.
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Asian, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Salad, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

Refreshingly Crisp Cucumber Salad

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This salad is perfectly refreshing. Light, crisp and just different. How many salads have you had that are just cucumber? Plus, spiralizing any vegetable automatically takes it up a notch. Maybe that’s just me, but it’s different a uniquely fun way to enjoy some veggies. Add the flavors of cilantro, fresh ginger and sesame and this Spiralized Asian Cucumber Salad is sure to cool you down. [Note: this is best consumed within 1-2 days of making, but I doubt that will be a problem because you won’t be able to get enough!]

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