Updated: May 13
Fresh herbs, lots of bright colors, edamame and ginger — need I say more?
I focused on all of the oranges here now that the sun is shining bright. Many orange colored vegetables contain naturally built-in sunscreen protectors through carotenoids, which give the orange peppers and carrots their orange pigment. Carotenoids have been shown to prevent certain cancers, reduce risk of heart disease, improve cognition and more.
While it's important to still wear sunscreen to protect the skin, carotenoids work on a cellular level and protect the skin from UV rays and scavenge free radicals, making them naturally cancer protective and anti-aging.
While there are more than 600 different varieties of carotenoids in nature, you've probably heard of the ones most studied: beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene and cryptoxanthin. These are mostly found in anything orange like pumpkin, tangerines, carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe, but can also be found in spinach, kale and other greens.
Another big bonus for all of us on our phones and computers all day is that lutein and zeaxanthin are directly taken up by the retina, absorbing 90 percent of blue light (which can be damaging to the eyes long term). Lutein and zeaxanthin prevent eye damage, specifically age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Millenials, I know you're not thinking of this, but trust me, start protecting your eyes now. ;)
Really, any veggies go here, but the ones below worked really well. Feel free to use what's in your fridge and let me know how it turns out. Broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower and spinach would all be delicious additions.
6 ounces udon, soba or spaghetti noodles of choice (we actually used black bean pasta since we had it on hand)
1 Tbsp avocado oil or vegetable broth for oil-free
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium-sized carrots, chopped
1 medium orange bell pepper, chopped (or red, yellow or green bell pepper)
1 cup mushrooms, chopped (button, cremini, portobello, shiitake — your choice!)
2 cups frozen organic edamame
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (about 2 handfuls) (substitute parsley, basil or chives if you don't love cilantro)
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup sesame seeds
Ginger sesame sauce
2 Tbsps reduced sodium tamari or coconut aminos
1 Tbsp organic mellow white or chickpea miso
1 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsps lime juice
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon roughly minced grated ginger
2–3 tsps chili paste or Sriracha
1 tsp sesame seed oil
Make the sauce
1. Add all sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
Make the noodles
Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Cook the noodles just until al dente, according to package directions then drain and briefly rinse under cool water.
Make the veggies
Heat avocado oil or vegetable broth in a stovetop pan or wok on medium heat.
Add carrots, pepper and mushrooms, stirring every couple of minutes until vegetables are tender, about 3-5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook for one minute.
Stir in the edamame and cook for another minute, until the edamame is warmed through.
Assemble your dish
Combine the soba noodles and vegetables in a large bowl.
Pour in the desired amount of sauce and toss to combine all of the ingredients.
Divide between dishes and sprinkle chopped cilantro, green onion and sesame seeds over top.
Delicious and nutritious additions: Your vegetables of choice! (broccoli, cabbage or radish would be delicious)
Per serving (6 servings): 310 calories, 44.5 grams carbohydrates (37.5 grams net carbohydrates), 7 grams fiber, 14.5 grams protein, 12 grams fat, 1530 milligrams sodium (use low sodium tamari for 1327 mg or coconut aminos for 1140 mg Na)
Good source of vitamin E, iron
Excellent source of vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, Folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc
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