17 November 2008

Nourished By The Sea


Confession: one of the cooked foods I have really craved since going raw is pasta. Sure, I've used my trusty Spiralizer and made "noodles" out of zucchini, yellow squash, sweet potato and a host of other vegetables, but it's just not the same.

Well, my friend Deb turned me on to kelp noodles and I am over the moon. They look like a noodle, feel like a noodle and taste like a noodle – although on that last point, kelp noodles really have no taste of their own. They will, however, pick up the taste of whatever they are prepared with. The best part? No cooking required.

The Sea Tangle Noodle Company uses only kelp (a sea vegetable), the natural salt extracted from seaweed, and water to made their noodles. Just rinse with warm water and they're ready to eat.

Sea vegetables, commonly referred to as seaweed, grow along coastlines around the world. A staple of the Japanese diet, most regions and countries located by waters – including Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and coastal South American countries – have been consuming sea vegetables since ancient times.

Why would anyone want to eat sea vegetables? Because they offer the broadest range of minerals of any food, containing virtually all the minerals found in the ocean – the same minerals that are found in human blood.

Kelp is especially high in iodine, which is necessary for proper glandular function and metabolism. It's also a wonderful source of vitamins, amino acids, and is mineral-rich in iron, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, as well as magnesium and potassium. In addition, sea vegetables contain good amounts of lignans, plant compounds with cancer-protective properties.

You can use kelp noodles in your soups and salads. Or, when you're really hankering for a pasta dish, give this recipe a try:

Mermaid Pasta with Veggies

6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
2 medium-sized pieces wakame, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
handful of fresh baby bok choy
3 scallions, thickly sliced diagonally
1 red bell pepper, cut into fine strips
1 small zucchini, cut into fine strips
1 carrot, cut into fine strips
12 oz kelp noodles

Dressing:

2 Tbsp cold-pressed sesame oil
3 Tbsp tamari (or Nama Shoyu or Bragg's)
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp local raw honey (or agave nectar)
3 cloves garlic, minced
fresh black pepper to taste


Place kelp noodles in a colander, rinse under warm water and drain well.

When mushrooms and wakame are soft, slice the mushrooms thin and chop the seaweed. Combine with bok choy, onions, bell pepper, zucchini and carrot.

Drizzle dressing on top and toss lightly.

Tip: like wine and women, this dish improves with age. Try marinating the veggies for several hours, or overnight, before eating.



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