As I mentioned in the “Why Gluten Free?” section of my blog, I was diagnosed with lupus during my senior year of college and have been working on managing it to the best of my ability for the past four years. While I’ve been extremely lucky and have seen a drastic improvement in my health since my initial diagnosis, it still will pop back up when I least expect it, usually in the form of migraines, severe joint pain and overwhelming exhaustion. Unfortunately, some days I push my body a little too far and will regret it the next morning when I wake up to flare ups of my lupus symptoms. For me, these mini-flare ups can last weeks, and pretty much mean that during any “free-time” I’m asleep (and “non-free-time” I wish I was asleep), which drastically cuts back on my cooking and food prep time.
When I was first diagnosed with lupus, I essentially only left my dorm room to go to class, and would often opt out of walking to the dining hall for meals. This resulted in me eating a lot of contraband peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that my friends stole for me from the dining halls, and a disgusting amount of ramen noodles from the vending machine outside my room. Ramen became my quick and easy comfort food to keep me going during those periods of exhaustion when I didn’t have enough energy for anything else except binging Netflix.
Since then, I have opted to follow a gluten-free, vegan diet which has eliminated ramen from my life. I’m also a lot more aware of how important continuing to eat healthy and exercise is, even when I’m feeling my worst. Despite this, something about flare ups leave me missing that quick and easy comfort food on days when I am just too exhausted to spend time prepping meals. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed to come up with an easy alternative for myself, and my Easy Microwave Spiralized Potato Ramen recipe was born. It has been the perfect quick and easy meal for me and has been a life-saver during flares. This recipe can really be as easy or as complicated as you want (or can handle, based on exhaustion level) and is so easy to customize based on what foods you have in your house, for when I’m too tired to make it to the grocery store.
The basis for this recipe is really just using a spiralizer or julienne peeler to make “noodles” out of potato (I highly recommend the spiralizer, it makes this ridiculously easy). After that you just add the potato to your broth of choice, microwave, and season to taste and the job is done! I’ve also been loading mine up with a bunch of extra vegetables, since it makes it a little more interesting, and I’m a bit more aware now of how eating healthier will help me feel better. For this version, I made up a miso broth using miso paste, but feel free to sub in any vegetable based broth that you have on hand!
Extra veggies will help bulk up your meal and keep the ramen interesting
- 1 peeled potato spiralized or julienned
- 2 cups water
- ½ tbsp miso paste
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Any mix-ins you have on hand (Possible mix-ins include: scallions, hot peppers, red pepper flakes, baby bok choy, cabbage, sliced peppers, sliced carrots, edamame, tofu, broccoli, mushrooms, peanuts, cashews, onions, curry paste, sesame seeds, etc.)
- In a microwaveable bowl, combine water, miso paste, tamari and sesame oil (or 2 cups of a vegetable based broth broth of your choice)
- Add “potato noodles” from one spiralized (or julienned) potato
- Cover the bowl and microwave for ~6 minutes, or until “potato noodles” are softened
- Add any mix-ins you have on hand. For the bowl pictured I used baby bok choy, red cabbage, thinly sliced peppers, thinly sliced carrots, edamame, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes and scallions. You can make it as simple or complicated as you want!
- Enjoy lazily while binging Netflix.
Back to school season is here, which means a reprieve from the blistering heat (hopefully), my last semester of graduate school, and the promise of pumpkin spice and fresh apple flavored foods in my near future. Unfortunately, it also means exhaustingly long days, hectic schedules and a goodbye to anything resembling free time.
Once September rolls around I am back to leaving my apartment before 6 every morning, and often not getting back until around 10pm. Between classes, getting to the gym, working as a research assistant and getting my homework done, my schedule is pretty much booked solid during the week. Not only does this leave me very little time to cook, it also means I eat almost all of my meals away from home either while sitting through lectures, in my office or while commuting. This means a lot of meal prep over the weekends, and a backpack full of food at all times.
Farm fresh broad beans from my weekly CSA box
For my first week of class I decided to make a simple dish using the produce I had left from my weekly CSA box. I needed something that was easy to make, and that I would be able to easily pack as meals on the go. I paired up my farm fresh potatoes and broad beans with some wild rice, toasted pecans, fresh figs and a sherry vinaigrette inspired by a dish my sister-in-law has made me before. It was a perfect combination of flavors, and lasted well in the fridge all week to help get me through my long first week of classes.
I’ve been kind of obsessed with figs recently, and thought they’d be a perfect sweet addition to this rice salad, but feel free to use dried cranberries or another sliced fruit instead!
This recipe allowed me to mix a bunch of different ingredients I had around the house, and is really very versatile.
- Don’t have pecans? Try roasted walnuts, or slivered almonds, or omit the nuts all together.
- Don’t have broad beans? Try green beans, or snap peas.
- Don’t have figs? Try dried cranberry, or sliced pear, or sliced apple
It’s an easy dish to throw together with delicious results, even during those busy weeks.
Wild Rice Salad
- 1 cup dry wild rice, prepared as instructed on package
- 1 lb flat beans, trimmed and cut into ~3” pieces
- 5 small potatoes, cut into 1” cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 5 figs, chopped
- 1/3 cup pecans
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 small clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Toss potatoes, beans, garlic and olive oil in a large bowl until evenly covered, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Distribute the vegetables evenly on a baking sheet and cook for around 35 minutes, or until the potatoes start to get crispy.
- While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the dressing by whisking together the sherry vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Remove the baking pan and lower the oven temperature to 350.
- Spread pecans on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and allow to toast for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked wild rice, roasted vegetables, chopped figs, and toasted pecans.
- Drizzle dressing over the top, and toss until well distributed
- Enjoy! (or in my case, pack up into individual sized portions, and enjoy throughout the week at my desk or during lectures)
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m making an effort to design new recipes using the fresh produce from my weekly CSA box. After using the eggplant to make eggplant bacon, I had my eyes on something a little sweeter and went straight for the peaches. I may have gone a little overboard baking this weekend and I know there are going to be more peaches in my box next week, so expect a few more peach-based recipes in the near future. My first creation was a vegan, gluten-free version of a classic peach cobbler, with a few fresh blueberries mixed in.
Since I’ve been baking a lot, I keep ending up with a surplus of baked goods. While this doesn’t seem like a big problem, it is a little troubling when I find myself with three full batches of peach-based baked goods and a huge sweet tooth.
In order to combat this I’ve been trying to:
- limit the amount of processed sugar in my recipes whenever I can. This way I feel a little less guilty about having these foods as my snacks during the day.
- design recipes with a smaller yield so that I don’t end up with a kitchen (and stomach) completely full of baked goods. Most often when I’m baking I do it as stress relief, or procrastination and I’m not actually in need of a huge supply of sweets. Lately, I’ve been making half, or even quarter portions of recipes that allow me to get the stress relief of baking, the fun of testing out new recipes, and the ability to feed my cravings, without having a excess of food around that I won’t (or shouldn’t) eat all of.
This recipe paired fresh, local peaches and blueberries with a “buttery” biscuit topping, perfect for enjoying on these last (and excessively hot) days of summer. I cut the recipe down to two single-serving portions, but it can easily be doubled or tripled if you have more people to serve. It also contains no processed sugar, and uses only maple syrup as a sweetener, so you can feel a little less guilty when you have cobbler for breakfast (at least that’s what I’m telling myself).
For the fruit filling:
- 1 peach, sliced
- 2 tbsp blueberries
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch
For the biscuit topping:
- 3 tbsp gluten free flour (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour, but any flour will work)
- 3 tbsp oats
- 1 tbsp Earth Balance
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp cashew milk (or your non-dairy milk of choice)
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Combine sliced peach, blueberries, lemon juice, cinnamon and cornstarch in a bowl and set aside
- In a separate bowl mix flour, oats, baking powder, maple syrup, Earth Balance and cashew milk until it is well combined.
- Evenly distribute the fruit filling between two small ramekins.
- Spoon the biscuit topping over the filling.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until the cobbler topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.