“The doctor of the future will give no mediation, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
Over the past three years, I have spent my days observing and teaching in more than 10 different public elementary and middle schools here in Austin. In turn, I have also been endowed with the opportunity to see what goes on in these said schools’ dazzling lunch lines. For ages, a bad reputation has tarnished our schools’ cafeteria food: devoid of flavor. Minimally nutritious. And guess what? Nothing has changed. If I were a kid in this day and age….I would be choosing the pizza over the raw, flavorless broccoli too. Even if I knew better.
While there have been recent “initiatives” to increase the plant-based options in our children’s schools (ummm pizza=a vegetable?), I am still beyond appalled at what I witness on a daily basis. The “vegetable” options are predictable and tired,to put it lightly: corn and green beans straight from a can, carrots so unappetizing I think a rabbit would turn up its nose, and oh yes, let’s not forget our favorite superfood…ketchup.
The sad thing is…this isn’t just happening in school cafeterias. We are all guilty.
I thought we were revolutionizing our thinking about food and health? Certainly, there are some arenas of the health food scene that have undergone a makeover, but in many ways we seem to be backpedaling. We know the solution to bodily health lies almost entirely in a diet rich in whole foods. But there also needs to be a little effort on our end to enhance their natural flavors and make our vegetables taste good. So, let’s do it! Start with these Soba Noodles with Peppers, Edamame, and a Spicy Peanut sauce. It is an easy, inexpensive, nutritious, plant-based meal. Kids love it. Carnivorous grown men won’t (and didn’t) cry over missing meat. So what are you waiting for? Go make this! It is delicious served hot or cold, for lunch or dinner. ¡Buen provecho!
- 1 package soba/buckwheat noodles
- ½ package frozen shelled edamame
- 4 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil (separated)
- 3 cloves fresh minced garlic
- ½ pound assorted fresh peppers, sliced lengthwise (i.e. red and yellow bell peppers)
- 1 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ½ Tablespoons chile-garlic sauce
- 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
- juice and zest of half a lime
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large wok or skillet, pour in 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil.Toss in peppers and sauté for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Turn off heat.
- Now, make the sauce. Whisk together remaining sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, honey, chile-garlic sauce, peanut butter, fresh ginger, fish sauce, and juice and zest of half a lime. Taste and adjust flavors to your liking.
- Add edamame and soba noodles to the boiling water for about 4 minutes. (Take heed: Soba noodles cook much more quickly than regular pasta!)
- Reserving about a cup of the pasta water, drain noodles and edamame and then mix into the wok/skillet with peppers. Pour sauce over the top and add a bit of pasta water to loosen it up. Toss to combine and then top with sesame seeds. ¡Buen provecho!