Crave-Worthy Sesame Carrot Noodles with Grilled Asparagus

 
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Something that I'm really terrible at is succintly expressing my thoughts on paper. More is more, is my motto! However, I'm trying to nip this in the bud as it's disheartening to spend your days writing, hit the word count, and realize that you have to cut out one-third of your "totally awesome" thoughts. When I'm feeling like slamming my head against the keyboard after cutting out nearly all of the words I've carefully woven together, I tend to go into the kitchen and work on a recipe for the blog. Preferably something that takes at least thirty minutes of my time -like this sesame carrot noodle salad! I actually think this is called procrastination. But... semantics.  
 

 
I often crave the carrot dressing at sushi houses -that sweet, savoury, gingery, golden-hued sauce. Mmm mmm. Since I don't live near a sushi house, I make my own! 
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The mint is from my garden, and I sneaked the green onions from my neighbour's yard. I'm trying my best to eat what's in season, local, and fresh. Pulling something straight from the ground with dirt still clinging to it, is about as healthy as it gets. Summers in the country are what veggie dreams are made of.   
 
I haven't been writing a lot of nutrition facts about the ingredients in my recipes lately, as I know that people are busy busy busy (and I'm trying to be succint, remember?). Also, since this blog has been around for a while now, I'm pretty sure that I've covered the nutritional perks of carrots, asparagus, whole grains, tahini, etc. (I checked and I have!) 

Okay, the truth is, I listened to a BBC podcast with Michael Pollan about a year ago, and then read this New York Times article from 2007 (2007!), about "nutritionism." I would like to share an excerpt:  

In the case of nutritionism, the widely shared but unexamined assumption is that the key to understanding food is indeed the nutrient. From this basic premise flow several others. Since nutrients, as compared with foods, are invisible and therefore slightly mysterious, it falls to the scientists (and to the journalists through whom the scientists speak) to explain the hidden reality of foods to us. To enter a world in which you dine on unseen nutrients, you need lots of expert help.     

See where I'm going here? I think that me "telling you" that chia seeds are high in omega-3s or apples are a source of fibre, for example, inserts this nutritionism ideology. And I don't want that to happen, because that's not how I live my day-to-day! It also takes away from the pure enjoyment of real, whole-foods.    

I'm a nutritionist and lover of good food. However, I don't believe in "balance," as I'm also a social scientist and this is called "moral licensing." If it's fresh; whole; straight-from-the-earth; kind to the animals, the planet, and me, I personally don't think too much about it. All I can think about is GET IN MY BELLY.     
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Crave-Worthy Sesame Carrot Noodles with Grilled Asparagus (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

Serves 6

Ingredients: 

Carrot Dressing: 
1 cup carrots (about 2 medium), roughly chopped 
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1⁄4 cup white vinegar 
2 tbsp tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos
2 tbsp tahini 
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp sesame oil 
1⁄4 tsp chili flakes 

Salad: 
1 lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed 
1⁄2 cup chopped green onion 
1⁄2 cup chopped mint 
1 lb gluten-free brown rice spaghetti or soba noodles 

Directions:

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta and preheat grill to medium for the asparagus (if you don’t own a grill, simply roast them on a baking sheet at 375°F with a tsp of olive oil for 8-10 minutes). Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Combine all dressing ingredients in a Blendtec or other high-speed blender and combine until smooth and creamy. Set aside. 

Cook pasta according to package directions (about 8 minutes for brown rice spaghetti). Drain and rinse well with cold water. Transfer pasta to a large bowl and toss with carrot dressing, half the green onions, and half the mint. To grill asparagus, place directly on the grill for 8 minutes until cooked through. Cut grilled aspargus into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a medium bowl; toss with remaining herbs. 

Top each bowl of the carrot noodles with grilled asparagus and herbs, along with protein of choice, such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, or hemp hearts (optional). Serve with tamari for seasoning. 

Which local fruits and vegetables are you enjoying right now? 

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