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Use Your (Faux) Noodle

Lighten up after the holidays with our wheat-free noodle stir-fry, made with spiralized zucchini "pasta"

I'm a big fan of noodle dishes-I just don't eat them, largely because they're usually made with processed pasta or some equally nutritionally bankrupt wheat product that does nothing except raise my blood sugar and make me fat. But this "faux" pasta dish, made with spiralized zucchini noodles, is a vegetable lover's delight, featuring a light, kicky, simple sauce that will satisfy anytime you find yourself with a craving for Chinese take-out. I really like this dish as a balancing act for all the rich holiday fare that peppers the culinary landscape during the last two months of the year. It's low calorie, low glycemic, tasty, loaded with antioxidants, and surprisingly filling-a perfect way to restore balance after a holiday season of overindulging.

Asian Fresh "Noodle" Pot
Serves 4

To make this dish sugar-free, replace the palm sugar with 1 Tbs. stevia.

1/3 cup low-sodium tamari sauce

¼-½ jalapeño peppers, chopped (remove seeds for less heat)

1½ Tbs. unseasoned rice vinegar

1 Tbs. palm sugar

1 tsp. plus 1 Tbs. sesame or peanut oil, divided

½ sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced1 large sweet red pepper, julienned

1 cup snow peas, sliced thinly on the bias

1 cup shredded carrots

2 packed cups baby spinach

3 medium zucchini, spiralized or thinly sliced (see "Notes from Chef Jeanette")

12 oz. cooked protein of choice (thinly sliced steak, medium shrimp, bite-sized pieces of fish or chicken)

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish, optional

  1. Combine tamari, jalapeño, rice vinegar, palm sugar or stevia, and 1 tsp. sesame or peanut oil in mini-blender or immersion blender, and blend until smooth. (If you don't have a small blender, mince jalapeño very finely, and whisk ingredients together in small bowl). Set aside to allow flavors to meld.
  2. Heat remaining 1 Tbs. oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 3 minutes. Add ginger and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in red pepper, snow peas, and carrots, and sauté 2 minutes more.
  3. Stir in spinach about 30 seconds, then add zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Add protein, and pour sauce evenly over contents of pan, turning gently to coat.
  4. Cook 2 minutes, or until everything is hot and veggies are tender-crisp. Garnish with cilantro, and serve.

per serving: 314 cal; 28g pro; 12g total fat (4g sat fat); 23g carb; 67mg chol; 812mg sod; 5g fiber; 14g sugars

Notes from Chef Jeannette
A spiralizer is a low-cost tool (about $35) that quickly and easily transforms medium-density raw fruits and vegetables into long, pasta-like "noodles" of varying thicknesses. You can serve them raw, marinate them in a little oil and salt to soften, steam them, or sauté them, as in this recipe. If you don't have a spiralizer, just trim the ends off of each zucchini and slice them the long way into paper-thin strips using a vegetable peeler or mandoline. It's easiest to turn the zucchini as you work, creating 3-4 "sides" on the tubular vegetable.

Jeannette Bessinger, CHHC, is a certified holistic health counselor and recipe developer.

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