I first had lotus root at a great little Korean restaurant in town. I had no idea what it was. My first thought? “…This may or may not be a cross section of ET’s pancreas.” Once I got over the initial shock, I began to appreciate the beauty of the plate. I took my first bite and was instantly hooked: the lotus root was delicious. It was tender and slightly sticky, simmered in soy sauce and something sweet. I’m still working out how to replicate that dish. During the course of my many (many, many) experimentations, I’ve found that lotus root makes a fantastic baked chip.
Lotus root is starchy — not unlike a potato, actually. After a quick, tenderizing boil in water and vinegar, I give the lotus root the same treatment I would give oven-cooked spuds. I grab a few of my favorite spices, season the lotus root liberally, and toss them in a hot oven. This simple process yields a lovely, flavorful snack. The baked lotus root chips are crisp at the edges and tender in the middle, a little chewy throughout. I like to eat them with a little bit of spicy-sweet gochujang on the side.
I usually use my favorite seasoning trio of chili, garlic, and onion powders, but you can change the flavors in a million different ways. The lotus root works beautifully with just about anything. Try it with garam masala for an Indian flair; for a Latin touch, try adobo or a mix of cumin, garlic, and parsley. If you like spicy North African flavors, harissa is a great choice.
Detailed instructions after the jump!
Read more… →
One of my college roommates introduced me to the beauty of shrimp tacos. Before that, the only tacos I’d ever had were made with ground beef or chicken. Usually there were boxed hard shells involved. I know, I know. I was living a sad, sheltered shell of a life.
Now that my eyes have been opened, shrimp tacos are almost always the variety I choose to make. For one thing, they’re the easiest option by a mile. Shrimp have a short, fuss-free cooking process. Even if you have to defrost the shrimp, this recipe comes together in 30 minutes or less. Using fresh shrimp? Then it’s more like 15 or 20.
Of course, no one really needs an excuse to cook shrimp. The natural sweetness and tenderness of a a well-prepared shrimp is a thing of beauty. Paired with garlic and olive oil? Mercy.
I topped these shrimp tacos with a mixture of broccoli slaw (one of my favorite convenience foods) and Greek yogurt. The slaw topping is bright and tangy, with a kick from a little red onion.
Two of these super-stuffed tacos come in under 300 calories, so you can enjoy all this shrimpy delight guilt-free. Read on for the recipe! Read more… →
I’m happy that Brussels sprouts are finally getting some of the love and respect they deserve. They’ve popped up on restaurant menus all over the place. Of course, there are some stubborn holdouts that want no part of this Brussels sprouts business. Just means more delicious sprouts for me.
Anyway, this Asian-inspired recipe is one of my favorite ways to prepare them. Sautéed in a healthy oil infused with garlic, onion, and chili flakes, the sprouts take on big, bold flavor. Sugar-free orange marmalade is the key to this recipe. It adds bright, citrusy sweetness without adding a ton of extra calories. A few drops of fragrant, nutty sesame oil are the finishing touch. All together, the sauce is similar to the one you find on takeout-style orange chicken. Needless to say, this version is a lot better for you.
These spicy orange Brussels sprouts are an easy, delicious dish for meatless Monday. Most people will prefer this recipe as a side (try it with steamed fish or chicken satay), but I really like it as a main over rice or noodles. Recipe after the jump! Read more… →
So I don’t know if you heard, but *apparently* there’s this big winter storm that’s hitting the Northeast tonight. Setting aside the (very real) dangers to life and property, I don’t mind storms. I’m a homebody by nature, so I love any opportunity to cozy up with wine and a good book. If it’s a winter storm, all the better — that just means I get to make soup.
This five-spice beef noodle soup is my lazy-woman’s take on pho. Most of the quintessential pho flavors (ha) are there, but the cooking time is much shorter. Another reason to get excited about this dish? I’m finally getting on the shirataki train. Shirataki noodles are made from yam flour, sometimes tofu, and water. Since the noodles are comprised almost completely of fiber, they’re basically calorie-free. They work perfectly in Asian dishes like this beef noodle soup. If you can’t find shirataki noodles or don’t care for their gelatinous texture, you can use any other noodle you like — just know that it will increase the calorie count per bowl.
The broth is infused with the warm aromas of Vietnamese five-spice: star anise, fennel, coriander, cinnamon, and cloves. Dried mushrooms add depth and earthiness to the soup for an extra-hearty flavor that complements the beef perfectly. Bonus? This soup is phenomenally nutritious — it’s low in calories (under 100 per bowl), low in fat, and high in protein.
Here’s how to put this pho-inspired beef noodle soup together. Read more… →
Healthy pasta dishes can be hard to come by. I almost never order pasta when I’m eating out. Restaurant pasta is usually loaded with tons of cheese, salt, and oil. It’s also often way more food than anyone needs for one meal. (I’m looking at you, Cheesecake Factory.) Naturally, it’s delicious. Is it good for you? Not so much.
It’s a shame — it really doesn’t have to be this way. You really can enjoy pasta guilt-free, as long as you keep a few things in mind. (1) Keep a high vegetable-to-pasta ratio, (2) measure and minimize your fats, and (3) always eat a sensible portion. This Latin-style pasta is a perfect example of this philosophy in action.
This pasta is full of big, bold Latin flavors. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and cumin bring heat and spice to the tomato-based sauce, while a touch cilantro adds a little brightness. Not a fan of cilantro? Just use fresh basil instead. A hearty 1 1/2 cup serving clocks in at 251 calories and just 223 mg sodium — much better stats than the standard restaurant options.
Here’s how to put this filling, flavorful Latin-style pasta together. Read more… →