Thursday, May 6, 2010


Whew!  It's been a hectic week but I wanted to share a great, simple and springy recipe with you.  I got it from cooking guru Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks blog, which honestly may be what ever turned me on to food blogging in the first place.  Thanks Heidi!

Heidi's recipes always inspire me to be nice to my body by eating foods that are whole, unprocessed and natural, and basically just really amazingly good for me.  Her book Super Natural Cooking is prominent on my shelf, always reminding me that it doesn't have to be steak, butter or cupcakes to be delicious.

Keeping that in mind, you might be surprised to learn that I try at least once a week to be vegetarian...vegan even.  I used to be a full time veg actually, back in college, but being married to a carnivore has lead me significantly astray.  I honestly can't deny though, how great it feels now on those days that I cut out meat and other animal products.

Anyway, this is a great miso noodle recipe that I adapted only slightly from 101 Cookbooks - I enjoy it on my pseudo-veggie-sometimes-even-vegan days.  The toasted walnuts and flavorful miso come together with honey and garlic to make a hearty and complex dressing, while the asparagus and fresh chives (from my garden!) add crunch depth to the bowl of whole wheat noodles.  Even my pet t.rex likes it.

Walnut Miso Noodles
altered ever so slightly from Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks
serves 1-2

4 ounces whole wheat spaghetti, linguini or soba
1 small bunch of asparagus, sliced thinly, about 1/4 inch think (I tried this with white and would honestly stick to green)

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup good olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons mellow white miso paste
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
salt to taste
1/4 cup warm water (or more, but start with that)

Toppings: small bunch chives, chopped, more toasted walnuts, crumbled...Heidi also suggests topping this dish with lightly sauteed chard, or scallions.

Boil a large pot of water, adding a pinch or two of salt.  Cook pasta per package directions until al dente.  About 10 or so seconds before you're ready to drain the pasta, add the chopped asparagus to the pot.  Drain.

While water is boiling and pasta is cooking, puree toasted walnuts, oil, garlic, miso, vinegar and honey in a food processor until smooth.  Add the warm water a bit at a time and puree until a creamy texture is achieved.  Add salt to taste (if you think it needs it - I did not.)

Toss as much dressing as you'd like with warm noodles and asparagus.  Top with chives and crumbled toasted walnuts, or any of the other suggested toppings.  

If you have leftover dressing, it's great tossed with other cooked veggies, on a salad, or on a sandwich!

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