Kimchi Bowl with Red Curry Almond Sauce

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Happy Tuesday all! I’m right in the middle of a crazy week of research but made this recipe last night and it was SO good, it’s a must-share. I love the idea of “throw it all together” bowls – an easy, stress-free, busy weeknight meal (as you know, lots of recipes around here follow a pretty simple formula: grain + veggies + protein + delicious sauce = booyah). My sister was the one who gave me the idea to make rice bowls for dinner when I’m super busy during the week. As a working mom of a two-year-old, she knows what’s up. She recommended that I get myself a rice cooker, as it’s a no-brainer: it eliminates one step in the prep process. You throw the rice in there, don’t even have to pay attention to what it’s doing, and it will always come out perfect. If you’ve been following along the past few years, you’ll know that I love me some quinoa, and quinoa works perfectly in a rice cooker too. SLAM DUNK.

I originally saw this recipe posted on Shape.com and found it comes from a cookbook called Vegan Bowl Attack. Right up my alley, right? I changed a few things in the recipe: I used way more lime in the sauce because I’m obsessed with lime and there is no such thing as too much citrus IMO, and I substituted black quinoa for brown rice (just cuz I felt like it). When I made it the first time, I added sautéed mushrooms and used Romanesco instead of regular broccoli. Either way – it’s damn good.

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Kimchi Bowl with Red Curry Almond Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup black quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water*
  • 1 pound broccoli florets
  • 1 can (15 ounces) adzuki beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon liquid aminos
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 2 – 3  limes, juiced
  • 1 cup store-bought vegan kimchi
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Directions:

    1. Place the quinoa and water in a rice cooker and cook for 20 minutes or until the quinoa is soft.
    2. Bring water to boil on the stovetop to steam broccoli. Place the broccoli florets in the steamer basket and cook for 5 minutes, or until bright green and slightly crunchy.
    3. In a small pan over medium heat, mix the adzuki beans with the liquid aminos and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
    4. To make the red curry almond sauce, whisk all water, almond butter, red curry paste, and lime juice together until smooth.
    5. Divide the quinoa and broccoli among 4 bowls. Divide the adzuki beans among the bowls. Place one-quarter of the kimchi in each bowl and drizzle the red curry almond sauce over the top. Garnish with the black sesame seeds and serve.

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This recipe was STELLAR. The sauce is amazing, and it’s super simple: everything is ready in less than half an hour (which also reduces the likelihood that I will eat an entire container of hummus before my dinner is ready). And when you’re super busy (as we all seem to be) and trying to eat healthy, nothing is better than being able to whip up something super delicious with minimal prep.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 🙂

With warmth,

L

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Do you ever have a day where you feel like biting into a chocolate chip cookie warm from the oven would dissolve your stress and make you feel waaaaay better about life? Today I had that day. This week was a long one – full of exams and general school/life stress. It’s the final push to the end of my first semester in grad school, and I needed to whip up something good to help me to keep powering through. After not being a student for six years, you quickly forget what it’s like. 😉

Being in the kitchen is my number two favorite way to relax (clocking in right behind going for a long trail run), and I find baking to be especially soothing. These chocolate chip cookies are sooo delicious – they would fool your Grandma into thinking you made them from the Tollhouse recipe. Not only are they completely dairy and egg free, but they don’t have anything weird in them – so they are easy to whip up with ingredients on hand. I hope you enjoy this vegan treat as much as I did. 🙂

L’s Delicious AF Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips (or the whole 12 oz bag, whatev)
1 cup chopped pecans, if you feel like it

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 or 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat (if you don’t have either of those, no worries – they work fine on regular ass baking sheets).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a kitchen mixer or hand mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, sugar, water, and vanilla until fluffy. Slowly beat in the flour mixture in portions. Once the flour mixture is incorporated, add chocolate chips and pecans.
  4. Scoop about 1 rounded tablespoon of dough at a time onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each scoop. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Let cool on the pan and serve.

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I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

With warmth,

L

Resilience

Happy Monday, all! This week will be a true test of mental stamina. I am facing my first two exams of graduate school, and seeing that I haven’t taken an exam in about 6.5 years, I have just a teeny bit of testing anxiety. In addition, I finally feel that I have fallen into a consistent routine crushing my workouts, and I don’t want to lose my forward momentum. I’ve already passed the first test: despite muscle soreness from yesterday’s kettlebell workout, and simply not wanting to get out of bed because I was so warm and comfortable (and it was 14 degrees outside and snowing), I did indeed throw my covers off at 5:30 am when my alarm went off (it definitely helps to know that all of your Boston area friends are awake getting ready to get their ass kicked by Sarah). Score one for Team L.

Some other weekend highlights: 

  1. Saturday’s Wicked Intense Track Workout. I ran 100 m sprint repeats until I lost count and my legs were crying. In between sprints, I mixed in walking lunges, side squats, frog jumps and long jumps to really go for it with the leg workout. I will get faster and conquer the hills that have magically appeared upon moving (which did not exist in Boston – Boston hills are a joke compared to here) if it kills me, dammit. IMG_5385
  2. Sunday Super Kettlebell workout. I did a cardio circuit for 30 minutes, and then crushed a kettlebell workout with some of my favorite moves: goblet squats, one arm kettlebell swings, shoulder press, bent over rows.  I got kettle bells on sale at Dick’s! They are the one piece of equipment the campus gym is missing, and I couldn’t resist. If you’re a kettlebell lover like me, there are some great ideas here: The 6 Best Kettlebell Exercises You Need to DoFullSizeRender
  3. Simple AF Sunday Night Dinner. After spending the afternoon studying, I was super hungry (mildly hangry) when I got home. I roasted all of the things last night, and while I was waiting for them to brown to perfection, I incorporated a quickie core workout with plank variations (walk out plank, opposite arm lifts, hip dips side to side).

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Simple AF Sunday Night Dinner

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 bag of Brussel sprouts from Trader Joe’s, quartered
  • 1 cup of tricolor quinoa
  • 1 cup of dried sprouted lentils
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 small lemons, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp liquid aminos
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic

Directions

1. Toss the diced sweet potatoes in olive oil and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Place the quartered Brussel sprouts on a separate baking sheet and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Roast both at 400°F for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy edges.

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2. Prepare quinoa and sprouted lentils according to package directions.

3. While your quinoa, lentils and veggies are cooking, combine the tahini, lemon juice, liquid aminos and garlic in a food processor. Blend until smooth, and set aside.

4. Once your quinoa and lentils are finished cooking, combine into a large bowl. Toss with tahini-lemon dressing.

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5. Serve the quinoa-lentil mixture alongside the roasted veggies – voila! Perfect, easy meal. You can add some extra protein by adding frozen edamame, tofu or tempeh to your lentils – I had just downed a protein shake while I was waiting for my stuff to cook, so I didn’t need any extra prots.

Today’s mantra is resilience: overcoming challenges despite stress, life, everything else going on in your head. A significant part of being physically active/being alive is the mental toughness – you have to be able to put mind over matter and not quit when everything in your head is yelling for you stop what you’re doing. Resilience and consistency: the two attributes that make an athlete, which also happen to be my focus this week.

I hope you all have a week full of booyah! Happy Monday!

With warmth,

L

Booyah Split Pea Soup

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Hi All! It’s been a little crazy here, as Booyahville is packing it up and getting ready to ship out of Boston. Three weeks from today, and all of my worldly possessions will be in the back of a 16 foot truck heading westward ‘ho! I am wildly balancing the mental scales between excitement and anxiety of the transition from Boston Career Gal to Small-Town Graduate Student. With the constant To-Do lists for work, my personal life and getting ready for my move swirling around me like a stock ticker, I am doing my best to stay committed to my active and healthy lifestyle. It’s not always easy: the holidays and being sick over the past two weeks have done a number to derail my progress (Like really, immune system? Don’t throw in the towel now, I need you!). BUT, I haven’t given up! I have started this week off on a great foot, with a slow and somewhat pathetic 7 mile run on Sunday (but I did it, DAMN IT!), small group training on Monday and a kick ass workout with R this morning, where we crushed arms, box jumps and abs. I’m back on track with workouts and eating things other than Thanksgiving leftovers, and this recipe is definitely a good one. It is super low calorie, fiber and plant-protein rich. To be perfectly honest, I had never tasted split-pea soup before I made this batch. I had no compulsion to try my hand at a plant-based version of this soup until I read that split peas have 23 grams of protein and 17 grams of fiber per 3/4 cup. Cue the heart-eye emoji! OH, HAI SPLIT PEAS. I loosely followed a generic recipe and threw in large amounts of booyah to make it taste awesome and far from bland. You can also have this soup two ways: chunky and funky, or smooth and soulful – aka you can leave it alone after simmering for an hour or two, or throw that whole sucker into a Vitamix or blender and blast it to create a silky smooth texture. Totally and completely up to you. Now let’s roll up our sleeves and get started, shall we?

Booyah Split-Pea Soup

Ingredients

  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups dried green split peas, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 – 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning (includes thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the onion over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until tender and fragrant. Add the garlic, carrot and celery and saute for 2 – 3 more minutes. IMG_4633
  2. Slowly pour in the veggie broth, split peas and herbs and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover, simmer for 1 hour or until peas are tender, stirring occasionally. IMG_4635
  3. Optional: Add salt and pepper to taste, allow to simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. In small batches, puree the coup in a blender. Return to the saucepan and reheat for 5 minutes. IMG_4639
  4. Enjoy! 😀

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I enjoyed this soup both blended and au natural (mostly because I was testing this recipe out for the first time). Honestly, I really liked them both – it’s really up to your personal preference. This recipe requires you to not be shy about adding extra spice after tasting. I feel that soups especially can tend towards bland if you’re afraid to really go for the booyah. 😉 This recipe turned out awesome, and I truly hope that you guys enjoy it as much as I did! YUM. Enjoy that extra booyah from the plethora of plant-based protein so you can crush your next workout. 😛

With warmth,

L

Green Beans Almondine

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Happy Hump Day, everyone! I hope everyone is having a stellar start to their day today. I went for a super speedy 5 mile run this morning and it felt GREAT. It was one of those good ones where you feel fantastic from start to finish, and you really go for it. It’s a good feeling to be able to step on the gas when you hear a power song on your playlist! This morning brought perfect run conditions for me: dark (stars were out!), quiet (it was 5 am), prime temperature (55°F / 13°C) and I was feeling really zippy. All around awesome, and a great way to start the second half of my week! Booyah!

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It was still pretty dark when I finished my run around 6 am.

Two nights ago I made this super simple, yet extremely delicious side dish. My mom sent me home from Rochester with Ang’s sauce (translation: the secret family recipe of marinara sauce), and I made this dish to accompany the luscious and comforting tomato sauce. I bought a boatload of fresh, snappy green beans at a local farm stand, and this is one of my favorite ways to prepare them. The best part? There are three ingredients, and it takes only about 15 – 20 minutes to whip this up. 😉

Green Beans Almondine

Ingredients

  • Green beans (~1 lb)
  • 4 oz slivered almonds
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance

Directions

  1. Cut the ends off your green beans and chop them in half. Steam green beans for 3 minutes (you want the green beans to still be firm and slightly crunchy). Once steamed, transfer your green beans to a plate or bowl and set aside.

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    The green beans after steaming.

  2. Over medium-high heat, add the Earth Balance. Once the butter has melted, add the slivered almonds. While continuously stirring (otherwise these suckers will brown), cook the almonds until fragrant and lightly golden, 1 – 2 minutes.

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    Right after adding the slivered almonds to the hot (vegan) butter.

  3. Add the steamed green beans to the pan, cook for 1 – 2 minutes, until the almonds are golden brown.
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy! 😀
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The finished product. 😉

I hadn’t eaten this dish for awhile, so when I got my first bite, it was a big “Mmmmm!” moment. This dish is really, really good. Even though it’s simple, your family/friends/dinner party guests will be uber impressed by the big flavor impact. The toasted almonds really give a nice foil to the crunchy texture of the green beans. YUM. Also, you can feel really good about eating this dish, since green beans are full of phytonutrients and good things for you! In addition to conventional antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and beta-carotene, green beans contain important amounts of the antioxidant mineral manganese. However, the area where green beans really shine is through in their antioxidant value. Green beans contain a wide variety of carotenoids (including lutein, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin) and flavonoids (including quercetin, kaemferol, catechins, epicatechins, and procyanidins) that have all been shown to have health-supportive antioxidant properties. The overall antioxidant capacity of green beans has been measured in several research studies, and in one study, green beans were shown to have greater overall antioxidant capacity than similar foods in the pea and bean families (for example, snow peas or winged beans). Woo! Go green beans!

I hope that you guys enjoy this dish as much as I did. Happy Hump Day, everyone! 🙂

With warmth,

L

Baked Sweet Potato Stuffed with Black Bean, Corn and Pumpkin Chili

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Literally the easiest thing EVER. I made this chili from scratch for my carbo-loading food festival this week (last few days before the race!) and it is SO delicious. It does require a little prep, however – I used dried black beans, soaked them overnight and then pre-cooked them the night before making this chili, so throwing this dish together would be a breeze. I also learned something new: eating raw or undercooked beans is dangerous! Why? Beans contain a compound called lectin. Lectins are glycoproteins that are present in a wide variety of commonly-consumed plant foods. Some are not harmful, but the lectins found in undercooked and raw beans are toxic. I find it interesting that unlike a lot of other plant foods (most vegetables), beans have a better nutritional profile after they are cooked. Boiling destroys the lectin and renders them safe to eat. The toxic lectins are thought to exist in order to discourage animals and other pests from eating the raw beans or seeds of the plant. Animals are apparently able to smell the toxic lectins. Make sense – even your pooch will sniff food before eating it and turn away from anything that doesn’t smell juuuust right (bring on the peanut butter!). Us humans have no such olfactory sense, so we can’t tell that those raw beans are going to cause a serious bout of Montezuma’s revenge. Kidney beans are particularly dangerous, not only because they are one of the most consumed beans globally, but they also have the highest concentration of lectins. For comparison, cannellini beans have only about a third the amount of lectin of red kidney beans (yet even that amount is still enough to make you sick).

The toxin in kidney beans is called phytohemagglutinin (PHA). Your body reacts to this poison by emptying the entire digestive tract as quickly as possible. Sounds fun, right??! Exactly how you want to spend your night. 😉
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So, we can take away a few important lessons here:
1. Soak your beans overnight.
2. Drain beans before cooking, and change the water.
3. Cook beans thoroughly, according to package directions.
4. Make sure all beans and brought to a boil for the specified amount of time.
5. Don’t eat raw beans, dude.

Black Bean Prep:

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My pre-soaked, pre-cooked black beans ready to jump into the chili

In order to follow all of these important points, I soaked 1 cup of dried beans in a large glass bowl covered with water (I put plastic wrap over the top so the water wouldn’t evaporate – it’s still pretty warm in Boston). I rinsed and drained my beans, and transferred them to a medium saucepan the next day. I added 32 ounces of veggie broth, 1 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp caynne, 1 bay leaf, a dash of Herbamare (salt seasoning), a few turns of black pepper, and 1 Tbsp dried garlic*. I brought the liquid to a rolling boil, then turned the heat down to allow them to simmer covered for 1- 2 hours. You can also do this in a crockpot, bring to a boil on high, and then cook on low until you’ve achieved the desired consistency. Once my beans were soft, I transferred everything – beans and liquid to a large airtight container, allowed them to cool completely and then put them into the refrigerator overnight to use the next day in the chili. Or, you can use two 15.5 oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained.
*Please note: Even though I added spices and seasoning to the beans alone before adding them to the chili, I added more seasoning to the chili itself to make the entire dish more flavorful. So yes, you add double the seasoning if you are cooking the beans from scratch. It tastes awesome.

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Baked Sweet Potato Stuffed with Black Bean, Corn and Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of dried black beans, cooked following directions above
  • Black bean cooking liquid (or 32 oz veggie broth)
  • 1 16 oz jar of salsa, medium or hot
  • 1 15.5 oz can of pumpkin, or 2 cups pureed pumpkin
  • 3 ears of fresh sweet corn
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • Dash of Herbamare
  • Few turns of black pepper
  • bay leaf
  • Sweet potatoes (4)
  • Avocado (1)

Directions

  1. I was serving this chili over baked sweet potatoes. Preheat oven to 400°F, pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork five or so times on each side, and place into the oven to roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour.

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    My baked sweet potato ready to be stuffed with chili.

  2. Meanwhile, grill or boil your corn. I boiled my ears of corn for 10 minutes, allowed them to cool enough to touch, and cut the kernels off the cob.
  3. Transfer your beans, bean cooking liquid (or broth), spices and jar of salsa into a medium saucepan. Stir to mix, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium low to simmer and add the corn. Cover and simmer on low until the potatoes are done.

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    Chili simmering away. 🙂

Serve chili over a sweet potato, top with avocado, Greek yogurt, a squeeze of lime, freshly chopped cilantro – whatever you like! Enjoy. 😀

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Sweet potato stuffed with chili…NOMS!

This dish really was quite simple. Yes, it does require some preparation and planning ahead if you use dried beans, but when you get down to it, it’s a lot of simmering downtime. And, it is full of nutrients, protein, fiber and my favorite combo ever: sweet potato and black beans. In addition, the ingredients are inexpensive and you can make it for as many or as few people as you like – it’s easily scale-able to feed a crowd. You can eat the chili as it is, or served over baked potato or on top of greens for taco salad, or as a burrito/taco/enchilada filling. This was really, really delicious. I can’t wait to make this again when pumpkin is in season! 😀

I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!!

With warmth,

L

Sun Goddess Bowl

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Hey everyone! This weekend in preparation for my race, I made a bowl bursting with flavor and nutrients, to give me a good kick in the pants and get amped up. This one was really good – I’m stoked to share it with you guys! At the end of last week, I headed to my local farm stand and grabbed a whole bunch of fresh, locally grown veggies to create something awesome, including fresh kale, broccoli and cilantro. To make these veggies shine, I combined tahini, lemon, ginger, garlic, turmeric, cayenne and liquid aminos into a bangin’ and spicy sauce that tastes (and looks!) like sunshine. I tossed my sunshine sauce with gently steamed kale and broccoli, chickpeas and soba noodles to create a one-of-a-kind and incredibly nutrient dense meal to give me energy for race day. It was beyond stellar. Best of all? It’s completely egg, dairy, nut, soy and gluten free. 😀 Without further ado:

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All the ingredients for the Sun Goddess Bowl.

Sun Goddess Bowl

Ingredients

For Sunshine Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 – 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp liquid aminos
  • 1 inch cube of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp water (as needed, to create a smooth texture)

For Bowl:

  • Soba noodles (or your favorite grain/pasta)
  • 1 bunch of kale, destemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 crowns of broccoli
  • 1 15.5 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or 2 cups of cooked chickpeas)
  • Fresh cilantro, a handful roughly cropped
  • Hemp seeds
  • Sesame seeds

Directions

  1. First, I created my sunshine sauce. I combined all of the ingredients into a mini food processor and blended until it was mixed. Be sure to stop and scrape the sides of the food processor with a spatula to incorporate the dry spices into the sauce – they tend to get flung to the edges of the food processor in the early stages of blending. I had to add about 2 Tbsp of water to get a nice smooth consistency with the sauce. You could also use veggie broth to thin the sauce if you have some on hand. Set the sauce aside while you steam your veggies.
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    Sunshine sauce in the food processor.

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    It makes quite a bit. I transferred to an airtight jar and stored the remainder in the refrigerator.

  2. Steam the veggies! I steamed the kale for one minute, and the broccoli for 3 minutes. I like it just barely steamed, with the veggie retaining a little bit of texture. When they were done, I set them aside with the rinsed and drained chickpeas.

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    I allowed to steamed veggies to rest for a minute before incorporating them into the dish.

  3. Cook the soba noodles! Soba noodles only take 4 minutes to cook, so I left that step for the very end. When your sobas are done, toss your warm noodles with a large dollop (~1 – 2 tbsp) of sunshine sauce to better incorporate it into the dish.

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    The soba noodles tossed with about 2 tbsp of sauce.

  4. Top with steamed veggies, chickpeas, fresh cilantro, hemp and sesame seeds. Enjoy! 😀

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    The finished product!

Wow, was this GOOD. I really enjoyed it: the spiciness of the sauce was warming, the tahini and aminos added a nice, earthy balance and the turmeric added a really unique element to the overall taste. Since I was making a single serving, I only cooked a single serving of soba noodles, tossed the hot noodles with the sauce and then topped with the steamed veggies. If you’re making for a crowd, feel free to toss all the ingredients together before serving. I also ate this for lunch yesterday, and served the sauce and steamed veggies over red quinoa. It was delicious!

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I hope that whatever way you enjoy it, you love it as much as I did! It’s definitely one of my favorite concoctions thus far. Happy eating, booyahville!

With warmth,

L