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.

Continue reading “Pumpkin and Almond Cookies”

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.

Continue reading “Energy Balls with Pumpkin, Nuts, and Chocolate”

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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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.

Continue reading “Quick non-laminated Croissants”

Lentil and Carrots Dahl

Another lovely idea for #meatlessmonday: a lentil soup inspired by the traditional Indian cuisine, nourishing and rich in flavour!

Chiara x

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Lentil and Carrots Dahl

(serves 4)

200 g red split lentils
3 medium-sized carrots
1 large shallot (or 2 small)
4-5 sundried tomatoes
1 tsp freshly grated ginger (or 1/3 tsp ginger powder)
1 tsp turmeric powder
a pinch of cayenne pepper
½ tsp tahini per person
extra virgin olive oil or ghee

option 1: ½ tsp garam masala
option 2: ½ tsp cumin and coriander seeds, ½ tsp fennel seeds, ¼ tsp cinnamon powder, 1-2 small cloves.

Heat a little bit of olive oil in a pot over a medium heat. Add the chopped shallot and stir until turns golden. Add the lentils (previously rinsed with water using a colander) and mix well. Add the chopped sundried tomatoes and enough water to keep the lentils covered. Add also the bay leaves and crushed fennel seeds (half of the total amount that you are using for this recipe). While the lentils are cooking, keep adding water in small amounts to be sure that there won’t be water left when they will be ready, but just a nice creamy soup.

After approx. 10 minutes, add the finely chopped carrots, with turmeric, cayenne pepper, and ginger. Mix well. If you are using the garam masala mix add that too. Cook the lentils for approx. 25 minutes or until they start to become quite creamy.

If you are using the mix of spices: heat in a pan ½ tbsp of olive oil and add the cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir well until fragrant. You can crush them in a mortar before or after toasting them. Add your mix of spices into the dahl and mix well – remove the bay leaves.

When the dahl is ready, turn off the heat – add ½ tsp of tahini per person and mix well. Leave to rest in the covered pot for 5-10 minutes before serving. You can serve it as itself with just a little bit of olive oil on top or you can decide to use some fresh parsley and/or a dollop of yogurt as topping. You can also decide to add a few slices of fresh green chilli on top for some extra spiciness.



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