Are you familiar with The Dish column in the Toronto Star?
They routinely give the nutritional stats of local eats based on laboratory analysis. Not surprisingly, most meals get a failing grade.
Salad King’s Chicken Pad Thai: 1114 calories and 3479mg of sodium
Burrito Boyz’s Steak Burrito: 1000 calories and 1452mg of sodium
Veggie options are not usually any better:
Gandhi’s Spinach and Paneer Roti: 1482 calories and 3360mg of sodium
a1 Sweet’s Indian veggie thali: 1690 calories and 2134mg of sodium
And what about vegan eats? Not any better.
Urban Herbivore’s sweet potato date muffin (just one! one muffin!) is 986 calories and 689 mg of sodium.
And supposedly “healthy” restos? Depends on what you order:
Fresh’s Buddha Bowl (brown rice bowl with peanut sauce, tofu cucumber, tomato, cilantro, bean sprouts and peanuts) is 1168 calories and 1076mg of sodium
And Fresh’s Green Goddess Bowl (steamed bok choy, kale, swiss chard and broccoli with grilled tempeh, pickled ginger, toasted sunflower seeds, tahini sauce, toasted nori and ginger tamari sauce) is only 687 calories with 647mg of sodium.
Moral of the story? If you are eating out, be mindful of your portion sizes and the amount of non-veggies…. and preferably, only eat half your meal.
This always encourages me to try my hand at making the food at home, more in tune to my regular portion sizes. The culprits for the giant calorie counts are mostly due to the sheer amount of food, including heaping portions of rice and rich sauces. Fresh’s Green Goddess Bowl is lighter because it is filled with less caloric dense green veggies.
And yes, because I still couldn’t get Hot Bean’s peanut miso sauce out of my head, I made another version.
Last time, it was just chickpeas and broccoli but this time I went more extravagant by adding spaghetti squash, shallots and sesame seeds to the chickpeas and broccoli. I also wanted to test my theory of a thicker sauce by using some toasted sesame oil with the peanut butter and miso dressing.
Compared to my last attempt, this dressing was thicker, coating the veggies nicely. This version also had a more pronounced sesame flavour from the toasted sesame oil. In fact, a little of the sauce goes a long way. Big bold flavours means you don’t need to use as much. If you like it to cover everything, thin it or make a double batch. Both dressings were good, though. Side-by-side, I preferred the first dressing (I like dressings a bit more tart) whereas Rob preferred this one, but it was close.
Broccoli and Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl
Adapted from The First Mess
1 medium spaghetti squash (2 lbs)
2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained if canned
4 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets
1 shallot, thinly sliced, soaked in water for 10 minutes, then drained
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Peanut-Miso-Sesame sauce (see below)
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place rack in center of oven. (I prefer to roast it whole and cut it later, but if you are fancy, try smearing a halved squash with garlic, oil and salt and pepper first). Pierce the spaghetti squash multiple times with a fork or knife. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate squash and bake another 30 minutes or until the shell feels soft. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Once the squash has cooled, cut it in half and remove and discard the seeds and scrape the strands of squash out with a fork. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, prepare your sauce (see below).
3. Prepare the rest of your ingredients: slice and soak the shallot (I find soaking it relieves some of that bite). Toast your sesame seeds. Chop your broccoli.
4. Just prior to wanting to eat, steam broccoli for 2 minutes, or until slightly al dente and a brilliant green.
5. To serve, plate spaghetti squash. Top with chickpeas, broccoli, shallots and sesame seeds. Drizzle with dressing.
Adapted from Your Bella Life
3 tbsp peanut butter
1.5 tsp white miso
1 tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
1/4 cup water, to thin to your desired consistency
1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. It will thicken once cooled.
(I prefer more flavourful dressings in moderation, so thin further if you want to drench your noodles, or make a double batch)