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It’s officially picnic and BBQ season. Hooray! If you are looking for a snazzy side, Peanut Sesame Noodles could be your winner. This recipe gets a thumbs up from adults and kids (just watch for peanut allergies!) and keeps well at room temperature. You can even prepare it in advance and toss everything together just before serving.
Organic or conventional?
Organic vs conventional agriculture can be a delicate topic. And there is a LOT of conflicting information. Some sources state that organic produce is healthier, while others that it has marginal significance. Some claim organic is better for the environment, while others say certain aspects, like greater land use and lower yields, make it more damaging. Research studies conclude that the current evidence does not provide a definitive statement on the health benefits of organic dietary intake, yet observational research is showing demonstrable health benefits with organic food consumption. Huh? Doesn’t sound too conclusive, does it?
As Nutrition Therapists, we encourage consuming organic foods whenever available and feasible. Although the vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates may be similar in organic and conventional foods, there are numerous other aspects that must be considered from a nutritional standpoint. Organic foods are higher in flavonoids (antioxidants), while being lower in pesticide, herbicide and fungicide residue and heavy metal contamination. When considering organic vs conventional, we have to think about the entire nutrient package, as well as potential chemical contamination. Remember – a Nutrition Facts label provides only a small snapshot of nutritional status!
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) provides information on contamination levels of various fruits and vegetables. A few tips:
- When possible, consume organic varieties of the produce from the Dirty Dozen list
- When opting for non-organic, it’s best to do so for the produce on the Clean Fifteen list
- Rule of thumb for produce: if you eat the skin or the skin is thin, it’s best to eat organic (greens, apples, berries, peaches, plums, bell peppers, etc.). If you peel off the thick skin, you can choose non-organic (bananas, pineapple, kiwi, melon, onion, avocado, etc.).
- Regardless of the agricultural methods, eating a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits is always encouraged!
Peanut Sesame Noodles
- 8oz spaghetti or linguine (for gluten-free use brown rice noodles)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- ¾ cup peanut butter
- 3 tbsp tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1-2 tsp hot sauce (see note)
- 1 cucumber, peeled (if not organic), quartered lengthwise and sliced thin
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ¼-inch strips
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- COOK PASTA: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot. Add pasta and salt to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve ¾ cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta in colander, rinse with water until cool, drain once more, and transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 tbsp sesame oil and toss to coat.
- DRESS AND TOSS: Whisk 2 tbsp sesame oil, peanut butter, tamari, vinegar, lime juice, ginger, hot sauce, and 6 tbsp pasta cooking water in a medium bowl until smooth. Use a food processor or blender for a smoother sauce.
- SERVE: Add dressing, sliced cucumber, sliced bell pepper, and cilantro to the pasta and toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water as needed to adjust consistency. Serve warm or room temperature.
Hot sauce: Use a mild hot sauce, such as Frank’s. If you use a hotter hot sauce, such as Tabasco, reduce the amount to 1 tsp. Adjust as needed.
Make ahead: The pasta, dressing and vegetables can be refrigerated in separate airtight containers for 2 days. Bring ingredients to room temperature before tossing together. Add warm water to thin as needed.
Recipe adapted by Chef Lynda Lacher
Want to learn how to create and prepare recipes like this?
Join our Natural Food Chef Program! Picture yourself in your kitchen surrounded by nothing but organic vegetables, whole grains, top-quality meats, eggs and a range of the more unusual things like pâté, kimchi, kefir and bone broth. If you resonate with the idea of creating delicious meals that are not only healthy but downright regenerative, then join us for our 15-week program!
Daina Rasutis is a recent graduate of NTI’s Nutrition Therapist Master Program. She plans to use her certification to spark a craving for health through movement, sustainable living, and, of course, nourishing food. Follow Daina’s cooking creations and lifestyle tips on her website: www.tabletocrave.com
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