janet @ the taste space

Posts Tagged ‘kelp noodle’

Rasta Pasta

In Mains (Vegetarian) on January 27, 2012 at 6:50 AM

It is no secret that Rob and I may choose our next vacation destination based on its cuisine. Obviously, Iceland wasn’t picked based on its cuisine, although the food I had was top-notch (although not Icelandic).

One country that is creeping up in our list of places to visit is Jamaica. I don’t know how widespread the Rastafari movement is, but with its mostly-vegan cuisine (called ital), vegan options free of chemical and artificial additives should be available throughout Jamaica. According to wikipedia, they prefer more natural vegetables and fruits such as coconut and mango. Rob would be in heaven.

There are Rasta communities around the world, including Toronto where I’ve been to One Love, which serves ital and other Caribbean vegan meals. However, my introduction to Rastafarian cuisine was in Japan of all places. Around the time I was heading to Japan, Heidi gushed over Tokyo’s only ital noodle shop. Sure enough, a lover of food but not even vegetarian at the time, we scoped out this teeny tiny restaurant completely off the tourist track. We enjoyed our noodles and other veggie dishes. While this was Heidi’s best meal of her trip, I will admit that my fresh sashimi was unbeatable at the Tsukiji Market.  If I were vegan at the time, I would have really appreciated the vegan soba noodles. In Japan, fresh soba noodles are richer because they are typically made with Japanese fish broth, dashi.

Now that I am vegan, I was stoked to try Rasta Pasta that I found in Big Vegan. A bowl full of vegetables (green beans! mushrooms! collards!, tomato!), with some noodles, too, in a coconut-curry-tomato sauce. It had a lot of the similar ingredients as my favourite Kelp Noodles, Baby Bok Choy, Broccoli and Red Pepper with a Coconut-Peanut Sauce but it was so different.  The recipe called for 1 tbsp of curry powder. I’ve made other Caribbean dishes that were unpalatable by their heat (ok for Rob, just not me), so I went tame. I didn’t even use curry powder. I substituted 1 tsp of garam masala instead.

It was a quick noodle stir-fry. With the garam masala, it was savoury. It lacked the sweetness from coconut-peanut sauce, and originally I thought it was rather pungent but truthfully, as I ate the leftovers, that was exactly why I liked it. Nothing too crazy and creamy, just a savoury veggie and noodle dish. However, now that the Madras curry powder has been given the green light in my kitchen, I’d love to try this again with curry powder. If you try it, let me know how you like it!

As a vegan, where would you prefer to travel?


This is my submission to this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Ruth, to this week’s Wellness Weekend and to My Kitchen, My World for Jamaica.

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Raw Zucchini Wraps

In Mains (Vegetarian) on December 26, 2011 at 6:11 AM


Hope you are enjoying some time with family and friends this holiday season. A time to (hopefully) relax… and even catch up on some television and movies. Maybe.

There is no television in my house.

Thus, I do not watch the food channel or other cooking shows.

It is not that I don’t need help in the kitchen, though. I am mainly a self-taught, learn by experience (and sometimes from my family/friends) kind of cook. I love cookbooks that explain and educate so that I can figure out how and when I can modify the recipe to my own tastes.

Truthfully, I still firmly believe that I don’t make anything too complicated and anyone can make the recipes on my blog. Because if I can do it, so can YOU! 🙂

Rob bought me the Cadillac, I mean Excalibur, of dehydrators for Christmas. While I quickly made some snacks and treats (apple chips, zucchini chips and kale chips, galore!), what I really wanted to make were crackers, flatbreads and wraps. After giving up refined flours, I have only enjoyed these at raw restaurants so I was itching to make them at home.

However, dehydrating is not as simple as it may seem. I made these zucchini wraps after only consulting Gena’s recipe at Choosing Raw, but it took 12 hours for  them to dry and by that time, they were more chip than wrap. Tasty, but very hard to roll. So I consulted the lovely youtube and found this great tutorial. I needed some visual guidance.

It was here that I picked up some great tips. First, I was worried that my wraps were too thick, but thinner wraps would actually be more likely to break. To help dehydrate them better, I could flip the wraps over mid-way (and there is an easy way to do that with an extra tray). Lastly, the best tip I found out in this video, is that if you over-dehydrate something, you can always  rehydrate it with some water!!

I thought I had zucchini flatbread, but with a brush of water, I could roll them into zucchini wraps. Therefore, I made the recipe again, this time flipping the wrap over after 3 hours. I let it dehydrate one more hour and it was finished. A little sprinkle of water is all that it needed to become pliable to roll. However, they are still delicate and there is no fancy tucking of the rolls, though. Just rolling.. At least for now, until someone teaches me otherwise. 😉

My only new tip is that these wraps don’t keep very well once assembled. The fillings will fall out unless you wrap them in plastic/wax paper. Just as they will absorb water, they will absorb the moisture from your filling, too.  Therefore, they are best eaten freshly wrapped.

These wraps have good flavour as-is: nutty from the flax with a hint of zucchini. Season it with your favourite seasonings if you want something more  pronounced. I wanted my filling to shine, so I kept the wrap without extra flavours.

Currently, I am testing recipes for Terry Hope Romano’s new vegan cookbook, Vegan Eats World, and I stuffed my wraps with her filling for Rice Paper Rolls with Kale and Asian Pear with a Peanut Coconut Sauce. I can’t share the recipe, but it is delicious. Truly. One of my favourite recipes from the book so far.

Each aspect makes this wrap shine. I loved the juxtaposition of a lime-coconut-kale salad with Asian pear, packed next to some noodles, next to a spicy and creamy peanut-coconut sauce. Terry uses her peanut sauce as a dipping sauce, but I preferred it to be right inside the wrap, making it a lot less messy with my zucchini wrap. With the rice paper roll, the dipping sauce worked well, though. It really was the perfect merriment of flavours- sweet, sour, spicy, creamy. Feel free to add in some baked tofu for a complete meal.


This is my submission to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend.

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Kelp Noodles, Baby Bok Choy, Broccoli and Red Pepper with a Coconut-Peanut Sauce

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on December 2, 2011 at 6:19 AM

I live in the largest city in Canada, with a population of 2.5 million, and my favourite restaurant is in a town with only 100,000 people. I’ve only been to Thrive Juice Bar once but it was enough to have me hooked. Sadly, the commute kills me. They aren’t open late on Saturdays, and not open at all on Sundays, which makes it hard to visit.

I really liked their pad thai which was overflowing with Asian vegetables topped with a spicy cashew sauce, with a raw option to replace the rice noodles with even more veggies! The menu says it is filled with daikon radish, snap peas, bok choy, Asian cabbage with a raw cashew pad thai sauce, topped with spicy peanuts and cashews, Thai basil and Thai mint (??), while finished with an almond chili oil and mint lime vinaigrette. Wowzers, eh? I am not even going to try to recreate it home because it seems so complex.

I will, however, try out something more simple. Something just as tasty, even though it was not at all the same. But it definitely made me go Mmmmmm! Yes, I made MamaPea’s infamous Peanut Mmmm Sauce!

Inspired by Thrive, I loaded my dish up with veggies: a huge bunch of baby bok choy, 2 red peppers, broccoli and edamame. For my noodles, I opted for kelp noodles, but feel free to use soba instead. Or as they used to do at Thrive, add more veggies! (Scanning their recent menu, it now seems that the raw option is to add kelp noodles). The sauce is a zippy and creamy peanut-based sauce that coats the veggies ever so lightly. Delicious…. all I can hear is the resonant Mmmmm

This is a super simple dish to make, to boot.  Perfect when you have leftover coconut milk. Whiz together your sauce, then quickly stirfry your veggies to remove their raw edge, but keep them crisp and bright. Add your noodles and simmer a bit with your sauce. Now you’re good to eat!

This is my submission to this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Jamie of Cookin’ With Moxie and to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

Sea Weeds and Greens Salad (aka Kelp Noodles with Wakame and Radish Sprouts)

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on September 19, 2011 at 5:58 AM

Sometimes my friends know me better than myself.

What did I want for my birthday, I was asked.

Nothing! Your company is all that I ask for… honestly!

(Except I did leave heavy hints for Rob that I wanted a spiralizer – which is awesome, by the way. And that Vitamix is heavenly. Dude, I am spoiled.)

My friends rarely listen to me, though.

One of my friends, knowing my love of healthy food, specifically with my pea shoot infatuation, gifted me with some radish shoots.

They are some spicy shoots, let me tell you! Pea shoots are sweet and mild, but these are feisty. They taste like radish, which to me, is spicy. While you could throw them into any salad, I somehow stumbled upon a recipe that highlighted their spiciness in all the right ways.

Found in Plenty, I modified Ottolenghi’s Soba Noodles with Wakame, to try out kelp noodles.  While it is brimming with a long ingredient list, including such isoteric items like wakame (and now kelp noodles), the pack-rat that I am, I had everything I needed.  Except a second cucumber because two cucumbers seemed like a bit of cucumber overload. However, after the cucumber rested, wilted, and lost its moisture, it condensed to a small mass. I compensated by adding shredded kohlrabi. The mint and cilantro were courtesy of my garden.

Just as Rob became cranky as he prepared The New Best Salad Ever, I gradually became cranky as I made this… because I had to destem my wakame! This was such a tedious process, and since I used the entire bag of alaria (a common wakame substitute), I had a lot of destemming to do! Part of my uneasiness was that I was using such uncommon, wacky ingredients that I had no clue how this would turn out. Was it worth the half hour of wakame destemming?

By golly geeze, a resounding yes! This salad had me giggling all night with its sheer deliciousness. It was light and bright from the lime, sweet but now overpoweringly so, sea-like with saltiness from the wakame, yet with an undertone of spiciness from the chili flakes and radish shoots. The cucumber and kohlrabi meld well with the slightly crunchy kelp noodles to highlight the sauce.

Sometimes I wonder if my palate is changing, definitely less mainstream meat and potatoes, but this recipe from Ottolenghi is a keeper. Soba noodles would be wonderful here as well, as he originally suggested.


This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to Ricki’s Wellness Weekends, to this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Tandy of Lavender & Lime and to this month’s Monthly Mingle featuring Scintillating Salads.

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