Updated: Feb 4
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
¼ cup reduced-sodium Tamari or coconut aminos
2-3 teaspoons sesame oil
1 small lime, juiced
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons organic mellow white miso or chickpea miso
1-2 Tablespoons freshly grated ginger (depending on how much ginger you prefer)
1 Tablespoon chili paste or Sriracha
Make the sauce
1. Whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl until miso is completely emulsified. Set aside.
Make the veggies
Heat avocado oil or vegetable broth in a stovetop pan or wok on medium heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute.
Add carrots, pepper and mushrooms, stirring every couple of minutes until mushrooms are fully cooked.
Add the edamame and stir well for 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat down to low.
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.
Combine the soba noodles and vegetables in a large bowl.
Pour in the dressing and toss with salad servers. Toss in the chopped cilantro, green onion and sesame seeds.
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