Living the WELL Life

Take-Out Turnaround - by Christina Pirello

Friday, July 16, 2010

Who knew there were healthy replacements for take-out foods and, more importantly, that they could taste great?  I've created this turnaround menu to satisfy your cravings for a fun and (bonus!) nutritious feast.  Get your chopsticks ready!     

Hot and Sour Soup
Macro Chow Mein
Almost Traditional Pad Thai
Bitter Green Salad with Dulse Sprinkles
No Ordinary Nori Rolls
Shiitake Tea

Hot and Sour Soup

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 onion-diced
4-5 cups Vegetable Stock
3 ribs celery-thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 carrot-diced
2 stalks broccoli-small florets and stems peeled and diced
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons mustard powder
Sea salt
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
1-2 fresh scallions-thinly sliced for garnish

Heat oil in a soup pot and sauté the onions until translucent. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add celery, carrots and broccoli stems. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in rice syrup, mustard powder and a light seasoning of salt. Add broccoli florets and simmer for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in rice vinegar. Serve garnished with fresh scallions.  If serving this soup with wonton or dumplings, simply simmer them for the last 5 minutes of cooking, so they are soft, but not doughy.

Macro Chow Mein

1 package whole wheat spaghetti-cooked al dente
Safflower oil for deep-frying
Spring or filtered water
1-inch piece kombu
1 onion-half moons
1 carrot-thick matchsticks
2 stalks celery-thick diagonals
1 cup button mushrooms-brushed free of dirt and thickly sliced
1 cup water chestnuts-drained well
1 cup Chinese cabbage-shredded
10-12 snow peas-tips and strings removed, left whole
1/2 brick tofu-cubed
Soy sauce
3 tablespoons kuzu-dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
Fresh sliced scallion for garnish

In a deep pot, heat about 3 inches of oil slowly until quite hot. Deep-fry small batches of the spaghetti until golden brown and crispy. Drain well and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, place kombu and about 2 inches of water. Simmer the kombu for 5 minutes and remove. Place all the vegetables, except snow peas, Chinese cabbage and tofu in the pot and cook over low heat until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add balance of vegetables and tofu, season lightly with soy sauce and simmer until cabbage is limp, about 5 minutes. Stir in dissolved kuzu until a thin glaze forms over vegetables. Arrange chow mein noodles on a serving platter and spoon vegetables and sauce over top. Serve immediately, garnished with sliced scallions.

Almost Traditional Pad Thai

8 ounces rice noodles, uncooked
1 tablespoon peanut oil
3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
2 roasted red bell peppers, thinly sliced into ribbons
2 large, ripe tomatoes, diced, do not seed or peel
4 ounces snow peas
8 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into ¼-inch thick spears
Soy sauce
Scant pinch chili powder
Juice of 1 fresh lime
2-3 tablespoons finely minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup cashews, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook noodles until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

In a wok or deep skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Stir in garlic and peppers and stir fry for 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, snow peas and tofu, season lightly with soy sauce and stir fry until vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Add lime juice and bring dish to a low simmer. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in cooked noodles and cilantro. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle liberally with cashews, green onions and sprouts. Serve immediately.  Makes about 4 servings.

Bitter Green Salad with Dulse Sprinkles

1 small bunch watercress, rinsed well, hand shredded
2 cups baby arugula, rinsed well
1 red or green Belgian endive
3-4 red radishes, halved, thinly sliced into half moons
1 small cucumber, diced (do not seed or peel)
1 small carrot, shredded
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
cracked black pepper
juice of one half fresh lemon
1-2 teaspoons dulse flakes

Place all vegetables in a mixing bowl. Stir in oil, a light sprinkle of salt and pepper and lemon juice. Toss well to coat. Arrange salad on a platter or in a shallow bowl and sprinkle with dulse flakes. Serve chilled or at room temperature.  Makes 3-4 servings.

No Ordinary Nori Rolls

2 cups cooked short grain brown rice
1/2 cup Living Harvest shelled hempseeds
4 ounces tempeh, sliced into thin spears
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh ginger juice
1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar
1 teaspoon mirin
spring or filtered water
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cucumber, (halved lengthwise), peeled, sliced into thin spears
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage, blanched for 30 seconds, drained
2-3 fresh scallions, split lengthwise into thin ribbons
umeboshi vinegar
juice of 2 lemons
4 sheets toasted sushi nori

Mix the cooked rice and hempseeds together and set aside, cover with a sushi mat or a damp towel to maintain moisture. Place the sliced tempeh in a shallow baking dish. Mix together soy sauce, ginger juice, brown rice vinegar and mirin. Pour over tempeh, adding water just to cover. Marinate for 15 minutes. Drain tempeh, reserving marinade to serve as the base for a dipping sauce for the nori rolls.

While the tempeh marinates, put up the vegetables to pickle. Place the cucumber spears in a shallow dish and sprinkle with umeboshi vinegar. Toss the cabbage with a generous sprinkle of umeboshi vinegar and lemon juice and set both aside to marinate for 15-20 minutes.

Pour oil in a skillet to generously cover the bottom. Turn heat to medium and when the oil is hot, fry the tempeh, turning once, until browned on each side, about 1 minute each side. Drain on paper and set aside.

To make the sushi, lay a bamboo sushi mat or kitchen towel on a flat dry work surface. Lay the nori, lengthwise, with the shiny side against the mat. With damp hands, press one quarter of the rice and hempseed mixture onto the nori, covering it end to end, lengthwise, but leaving approximately 2-inch nori exposed on the edges closet to and furthest from you. The rice should be about 1/4-inch thick on the nori.

Lay scallions spears, pickled cabbage, cucumber spears and fried tempeh along the edge of rice closest to you, the width of the nori roll. Using the mat as a guide, wrap the nori around the rice and tempeh filling, pressing as you roll, to create a firm cylinder. Set the completed roll, seam side down on a dry surface and repeat with remaining ingredients to create 4 nori rolls.

To serve, using a wet knife, slice each nori roll into 8 equal pieces. Arrange, cut side up on a platter. Use the leftover tempeh marinade as a dipping sauce or add some wasabi for a spicier sauce. Makes 32 pieces.

Shiitake Tea

1 cup water
1 dried shiitake mushroom
splash soy sauce
Bring water to boil, remove and place mushroom in water, let sit for 20 minutes. Remove mushroom, remove stem and mince cap, return to water. Bring to boil, reduce and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with soy sauce and simmer 1 minute. Drink and eat while hot.


1 cup brown rice syrup
1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup malt-sweetened non-dairy chocolate chips
3 cups crispy brown rice cereal
In a large sauce pan, heat rice syrup and almond butter until creamy. Stir in chocolate chips until they melt. Remove from heat and stir in crispy rice until well-incorporated. Press into a shallow, square casserole dish. Allow to set until firm. Cut into squares and serve.  Makes about 1 dozen asteroids.  Variations: Any nut butter is fabulous in this treat. Peanut butter, cashew or hazelnut butter...yummy.


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