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Posts Tagged ‘noodles’

Tonight’s dinner was a successful cornucopia of veggies in disguise, and a quick and easy one at that!

By now, Ecogirl is four and a half, and Ecobaby isn’t such a baby anymore … two months past her second birthday already! How time flies! They are (mostly) adventurous eaters, but I sometimes still get stubborn resistance to eating vegetables.

So what do I do? I don’t bother with a fight. I just pull the veggie bait-and-switch, and dupe them into eating something delicious and nutritious that they weren’t expecting.

Who doesn’t like pasta?!?! That one always goes over well at our house, and likely at yours too. Cries of “Yay, fettuccine!” filled my ears, while they hadn’t the foggiest notion I’d be hiding several servings of veggies amidst the twirling mass of tasty noodles.

I’ve been trying to stay (somewhat) gluten-free while I’m exploring my newest diet to increase alkalinity. I’m not religious about it, but I do find I feel better when I reduce, or better yet eliminate, processed wheat products. Ecodaddy is mostly onboard with my unconventional dietary choices, but he is not a big fan of rice pasta, instead ever-loyal to those amber waves of grain that are a staple of the standard American diet (aka wheat).

But since he’s at work tonight and it’s just us girls having dinner at home, I took the opportunity to let my beloved rice pasta take center stage. You, however, are more than welcome to use any type of pasta you darned please.

veggie fettuccine

While I chose not to, feel free to top with a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if you are so inspired!

Quick and Easy Veggie Fettuccine

While the water boiled for the pasta, I warmed up a cast-iron pan and poured in a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil. When it had that glisten that told me it was just right for sizzling veggies, I added about 1/4 cup diced onions. I let the onions sauté for a few minutes til they softened and browned a bit, then added 1/4 cup chopped broccoli florets, 1/4 cup chopped cauliflower florets, about 1/4 cup vegetable broth and a few hefty pinches of sea salt. I put a lid on it and let it simmer over medium-low heat a few minutes, then took the lid off and let the cooking liquid evaporate. In went a couple of minced garlic cloves. Just another minute or two of sautéing so the garlic wouldn’t burn, and I then dumped in half a jar of store-bought tomato sauce (hey, even Ecomamas take short cuts sometimes!). Warmed it all up and voila: fast and easy veggie tomato sauce!

By this time, I had put a glug of extra virgin olive oil and a few hefty pinches of sea salt into the boiling water, and in went the rice fettuccine. Rice pasta is terribly gummy if overcooked, so you really need to keep a close eye (and taste) on it. It keeps cooking in the colander, so after straining it, I ran some cold water over the noodles to halt the cooking process.

Meanwhile, the now-empty pasta pot went back on the stove on medium-low heat with a glug of extra virgin olive oil (if you are not on a dairy-free diet like I am, I encourage you to use a few tablespoons of butter instead!), and the rinsed pasta went back in the pot and tossed with a few pinches of sea salt and a few turns of the black pepper mill.

I served the veggie-laden sauce over a bed of the well-seasoned fettuccine, and topped the girls’ bowls with grated parmesan cheese (parmigiano reggiano is our personal fave). Alas, no cheese for me, but still very tasty.

The girls both gobbled it up … I was thrilled when they asked for seconds, and simply floored when they asked for thirds!

Sidenote: several years ago, my sister gave me one of the greatest pieces of kitchen advice EVER. She said, whenever you have only a short amount of free time, like the five minutes you’re waiting for your kid to go potty before you head out of the house for an excursion, and there’s no other real project or task you can get done in this short time, do this: grab something out of the fridge, chop it, put it in a lidded container, and place back in the fridge.

Thanks to her, and all these little segmented five-minute periods of time throughout my day, I have nicely organized containers of just about every vegetable and fruit chopped and ready to use at a moment’s notice! Thanks sis!

What are some of your favorite ways to disguise veggies or your favorite time-saving kitchen tips?

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This was tonight’s yummy dinner, which is also another one of my “go-to” dishes for potlucks. As you can see by now, I do go to a lot of potlucks!

It is the kind of dish that makes lots of people happy. It’s vegan, dairy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free, if you use rice pasta like we do.

It’s got soy though. You can’t please everyone. But you can sub chicken for tofu if someone does have a soy allergy. And if they have a chicken allergy, well then, sheesh, I’m all out of ideas.

This is also a child-friendly way for me to get some veggies into Ecogirl. She loves trying to twirl her noodles around her fork, Italian-style, until she gives up and just shovels it in with her hands.

Serve hot for dinner, then refrigerate to enjoy cold the next day.

Two meals in one. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Sesame Noodles

  • 1 lb long whole wheat or rice pasta (fettuccine, spaghetti, anything long)
  • 1/3 cup sesame tahini
  • 9 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids, or soy sauce
  • 9 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced or through a garlic press
  • 1 lb diced extra firm tofu, wrapped in cloth and pressed to remove excess liquid (can sub 1 lb cooked diced chicken if you’re feeling particularly carnivorous)
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3-4 carrots, grated on largest grater setting
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 of a red pepper, diced
  • Several handfuls of mung bean sprouts
  • 3 scallions, sliced into thin rings, whites and greens separated
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  1. Cook pasta according to manufacturer’s directions. (If using rice pasta, make sure to rinse with cold water in strainer to prevent it from getting overcooked and gummy.)
  2. While waiting for pasta water to boil, put into a small sauce pan: tahini, Bragg’s or soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, honey, and garlic.
  3. Bring sauce to a boil, then lower to a simmer for five minutes. Add tofu (or chicken) to the sauce and remove from heat.
  4. In same large pot in which you made the pasta, turn heat on medium-high and add EVOO.
  5. When oil is hot, add carrots, broccoli, red pepper, and scallion whites and saute for a few minutes.
  6. Turn heat down to low, and add drained pasta, mung bean sprouts, scallion greens, and sauce with tofu in it.
  7. Toss well, then sprinkle top with sesame seeds.
  8. Serve hot for dinner, serve leftovers (if any) the next day.

This recipe makes more than you think it will because of all the veggies. However, if you are feeding a small army, it can be doubled with great success.

Do feel free to experiment with any other vegetables you like. If you do, please come back and share how you tweaked this recipe and made it your own.

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