Noodles with Asparagus and Courgettes

Asparagus is one of those veggies that many people avoid to cook at home because of their characteristic taste, not so easy to pair and to prepare. The key is actually “keep it simple” – find a way to eat asparagus that you like and that at the same time allows you to celebrate them and really appreciate their flavour.

This Spring vegetable comes in several colours (green, purple, white) and it’s actually packed with nutrients*

  • low in calories
  • good amount of fibre (important to keep the body overall healthy)
  • rich in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, A, K, and E – folate, potassium, phosphorus (folate is important for many processes in the body (among them, cognitive functions) and it’s a key nutrient for women who are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy – many other nutrients come in a smaller amount in asparagus, making this veggie really useful for our health and well-being)
  • good amount of antioxidants (important compounds that help us working as a protection from the effect of oxidative stress and free radicals – so, for example, they may help us dealing with inflammation and ageing)
  • being a source of potassium, they are one of those foods that help us get our daily intake of this important mineral (potassium helps to regulate blood pressure and the amount of sodium in the body – for many people, the daily diet is often rich in sodium and lacks in potassium)

Asparagus is also pretty famous for something else… the smell! Wondering why? What’s the chemistry behind asparagusAsparagus contains asparagusic acid, which our body converts into sulfur-containing chemicals that stink. In this interesting study published in the British Medical Journal, the researchers tried to know more about asparagus and our metabolism.

* if you have a specific medical condition, for example, uric acid kidney stones, talk to your doctor about having asparagus as part of your diet.

LET’S GET PRACTICAL! Here there is a simple recipe that will help you to fall in love with asparagus – it’s simple, rich in flavour, and really quick to prepare. You can use your favourite noodles, I have decided to go for the brown rice ones, that are pretty basic, and are a staple in my pantry (you never know when you’ll want to make a bowl of ramen or a stir-fry!).

Hope you’ll like it!

Chiara x
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Noodles with Asparagus and Courgettes

Ingredients
(serves 2)

  • 1 medium-sized courgette
  • approx. 200 g asparagus
  • 120 g brown rice noodles
  • 100 g plain tofu
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp of freshly grated ginger
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • a pinch of hot paprika
  • black sesame seeds
  • some finely chopped Spring onions (to add on top before serving) – approx. 1 tsp of chopped pieces for each person, but you can also put some in a bowl and leave it on the table
  • extra virgin olive oil

Cut the vegetables (courgettes and asparagus) in thin slices (leave the tops of asparagus as they are) – chop the tofu into small cubes and mix it with the tamari, black pepper and paprika. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a pan and then cook the tofu until it starts to get golden brown on the outside, then add the vegetables, mix well, and keep cooking for a minute (the vegetables are thin and you want to keep them crunchy).

Cook the noodles in boiling water following the instructions on the package and when they will be ready, rinse with cold water, drain the excess of liquid, and add them to the pan – add also the grated ginger, mix well, and get ready to serve. Add a little bit of olive oil just before serving, together with black sesame seeds, and some finely chopped raw Spring onions.

 



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Pumpkin and Almond Cookies

Cookies with a different twist:  pumpkins have a high content of fibre, potassium, and vitamin C, all nutrients that are good for our heart health. They are also a well-known source of beta-carotene, that is a powerful antioxidant.

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Energy Balls with Pumpkin, Nuts, and Chocolate

These energy balls with a mixture of pumpkin, nuts, oats, chocolate and spices are honestly the best energy balls that I have ever had. They are like little bites of a deliciously decadent chocolate cake.

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Overnight Oats and Chia Seeds Pudding

If you have never tried overnight oats, this recipe will open up thousands of possibilities for your mornings. They really are a delicious option to ensure that you will have a nutrient-rich breakfast even on the busiest days. Perfect for a “breakfast in a jar” to go or even as snack. This is a quite basic recipe… but keep watching my social media pages because more tasty alternatives are on their way since I prepare overnight oats quite often!

Overnight oats have been my best option many times in between my morning yoga class and work. I was using the time to pack my breakfast to go as part of my morning routine: being focused on how I was taking care of myself by preparing the pudding in advance, choosing the ingredients, and then packing my breakfast… I was taking time to focus on myself!

By soaking the oats overnight, many people find them easier to digest compared to dry oats. Let’s be honest, how many times have you just thrown your oats from the package into a bowl, and then added some warm milk or water? I have done it many times! Obviously, the result is far away from a proper porridge (less creamy, less tasty, less easy to digest), but sometimes you need a more practical approach to your breakfast, right? Well, this overnight pudding may be the solution…

 

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Overnight Oats and Chia Seeds Pudding

(serves 2)

pudding:

  • 80 g rolled oats (choose the gluten-free option if needed)
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • approx. 100 ml nut drink
  • 4 tbsp plain yogurt

a delicious idea for the toppings:

  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/3 tsp ginger powder
  • ½ tsp ghee (olive oil for a dairy-free option)
  • 2 small apples
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Stir all the ingredients for the pudding into a bowl (except the yogurt). If you don’t want to measure the liquid, just use enough liquid to keep everything covered + add 4 tbsp. You can use only nut drink or water or half nut drink and half water. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, add some yogurt to the pudding and mix well – if you prefer a more liquid pudding, just add extra liquid. Take the pudding outside from the fridge approx. 15 minutes before eating, to allow it to warm up a little – if you are in a hurry, you can add 2 tbsp of lukewarm water and stir well.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat with ½ tsp of ghee and then add the chopped apples, cinnamon, and ginger. Stir for less than a minute – the apples should not become too soft or start breaking.

Use the apples cold or warm as topping together with some pumpkin seeds.



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Pink Crepes with Green Sauce and Tempeh

Tasty pink crepes made with chickpea flour and beetroots, filled with a green sauce and marinated tempeh. A nice mix of nutrients, that it’s also gluten and dairy free.

I generally use chickpea flour a lot, I like how it’s versatile and has always been by my side in the busiest times to ensure that my meals were packed with nutrients.

Chickpeas are high in fibre and proteins – they have both soluble and insoluble fibre. This makes them a good ingredient not just for maintaining a healthy digestive system, but also to keep under control the levels of cholesterol and sugar in the bloodstream. They are especially rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B6. This composition makes chickpeas a great addition to the diet to help the body fighting stress.

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Pink Crepes with Green Sauce and Tempeh

150 g chickpea flour, water
fennel seeds, a pinch of black pepper

1 medium-sized beetroot, water

100 g tempeh
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
a pinch of black pepper
1/3 tsp ginger powder
juice of 1/2 lime (or lemon)

1 avocado
1 medium-sized courgette (or 1 small head of broccoli)
juice of 1 lime (or lemon)
a pinch of salt
a pinch of cayenne pepper

To make the batter: in a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour and the spices (crushed fennel seeds and black pepper) and the beetroot that has been blended with a minimum amount of water. Mix well and add enough water to get a batter similar to one for pancakes. Let it rest for 5-10 min. Stir until there are no lumps. Add more liquid if needed. Heat a frying pan, preferably a non-stick one, on a medium heat with ½ tsp of ghee or olive oil. Use 3 tbsp for each crepe, moving the pan until the batter is evenly distributed. Cook each crepe until it can be easily flipped with a spatula.

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To make the marinated tempeh: mix spices, olive oil, and lime juice with the chopped tempeh. Mix well with a spoon (ideally with your hands, but they will turn yellow!). Let it rest for 15 min. in the fridge. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for approx. 15 minutes or until it starts to turn slightly golden brown.

To make the green sauce: blend all the ingredients into a smooth paste (add a little bit of water if necessary, but remember that the final result should be a quite thick sauce. You can roast the courgettes or broccoli in a pre-heated oven at 180°C or cook them in a pan just for a few minutes – then wait until they are cold to blend your cooked greens together with the other ingredients.

Fill each crepe with a generous amount of green sauce and some baked tempeh. You can pair them with a simple salad or just eat them as they are.

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Quick non-laminated Croissants

A quick alternative to the classic laminated croissants. Obviously, it’s not flaky and less fancy, but you will be surprised by their nice texture, the slightly sweet crust, and the fragrant smell that will spread all over your home.

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