Spicy Cold Soba Noodles with Peanut, Scallion, and Cilantro
Radish, Tofu, Shiitake, Carrot, Cucumber, Edamame, Shrimp
Natasha, the 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! host the 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group, a fabulous monthly event for “sharing ideas and creating gourmet makeovers of selected classic dishes or flavor combinations.”
The 5 Star Makeover assignment for May is Gourmet Picnic Food, perfect for the Memorial Day holiday. “Take your favorite picnic food for a ride and make something special. Lots of leeway and freedom, you choose the ingredients. Just make sure it is 5 Star.”
My contribution to May’s Picnic is a makeover of the ubiquitous pasta salad. This one is portable, delightfully colorful, bursting with flavor, healthy, and since guests compile the salad themselves can be made vegan (just skip the shrimp).
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Soybean Sprout Namul with Leek & Red Bell Pepper
Namul (a Korean seasoned vegetable dish) is usually served as banchan (a side dish accompanying the main course). In atypical fashion here, I serve kongnamul (soybean sprout namul) with a sliced tofu cutlet as the main course of a heart-healthy vegetarian lunch. We enjoyed a simple bowl of vegetable dumpling in broth on the side. Crunchy sprouts pair very well with mellow sautéed leek and bright red bell pepper plus a bit of spiciness from gochugaro (Korean chili powder). Toasted sesame oil adds a rich nutty component.
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Chilled Soba Noodle Soup
Fragrant Soy Milk Broth with Ground Sesame, Lemongrass, Ginger, Curry Leaf
Buckwheat Soba Noodle & Chick Pea
Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber, Scallion, Cilantro, Red Jalapeño, Sesame Seed
Lemongrass, Ginger, Curry Leaf
Buckwheat Soba Noodle
As we Angelenos bask in a mid-winter heat wave with temperatures reaching the 80’s…we’re dining on a cool fragrant heart healthy soup here. Soy milk is infused with lemongrass, ginger, and curry leaf. Ground sesame seeds add a nutty component. The garnishes are bright and refreshing. My friends in the mid-west and north-east may want to remember this recipe for the hot months to come, and those in the Southern Hemisphere and Southern California (for the time being), can enjoy this chilled soup now!
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Stuffed Shells just the way everyone likes them…filled with Italian Sausage, Spinach, Ricotta, topped with a homemade Tomato Sauce, Parmesan, and melting Mozzarella…but here, they are heart healthy and vegan! Please don’t stop reading if vegan is not your cup-of-tea, simply make this exact recipe and use the authentic ingredients instead of the substitutes that I am suggesting. Either way, this is one satisfying dish.
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Whole Wheat Spaghettini
Vegetable Protein Italian Style Sausages
Spicy & Garlicky Green Chard
Lemony Tofu Ricotta
Creating Heart Healthy dishes is a fun adventure for me. I feel like I have discovered a whole new cuisine! In this dish I use whole wheat pasta for the extra fiber, a green leafy vegetable, vegetable protein to replace pork sausage, and tofu to replace ricotta cheese. Eating vegetable-based meals several times a week helps me to control my cholesterol. And these meals are so satisfying, I don’t miss the meat or cheese.
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