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Garden Fresh Sesame Noodles

Posted Aug 28 2012 1:45pm
I'm finally back with a great recipe for this time of year... I have made this dish half a dozen times in the last month and it is because it is so easy and fresh and a great use for all the fresh veggies you are gathering from your backyard garden or farmer's markets. Besides this dish being quick, it has become one of my husband's favorites and a sneaky way to get the whole family to eat a nice variety of veggies.
In the late summer, it is nice to have a go-to dish that you can gather most of the ingredients in the back yard or from a local garden stand. Last week I was running around most of the day making stops at stores and even a quick trip to a park for my son to let out some energy. And, then before you know it is 5:15pm and my husband calls to say he's on his way home from work. Ah! How did it get to 5 already?! And, the question of the hour..."what to make for dinner??" It would have to be something that will not cause more stress to a busy day. And that is exactly where this dish comes into action. It is easy to find a few things to chop up from the garden, throw in some wonderful Asian flair and comforting brown rice pasta and viola, dinner in 30 minutes or less! I am not the first to say that this year's garden was a bit of a disappointment with all the weird weather conditions, lack of rain and excess bugs. The soil just seems tired this year. But regardless, there still has been a bounty, even if there is not an overflow to freeze or can. In some ways, you can't feel guilty for not canning peaches and tomatoes this year because in many places (especially here in Michigan) the weather circumstances have made it difficult. My beans have been producing a ton in the past few weeks, and I couldn't be happier because they are one of my fav's fresh from the vine. Plus, one of my zucchini plants has been a trooper and has produced well over a dozen zucchini and I am thinking we still may get a few more before the season is done. Peppers are just about to pop, I have been having an occasional one here and there, but by next week I think I will have them coming out my ears. I guess that will be one I can freeze for later soups, chilli's and stews this winter. After talking with other gardening friends, it is easy to see that this season hasn't been the greatest, but we are still finding joys and lessons from the earth this year regardless. And this dish will have you sharing in the harvest with it's vegetable variety. All of the veggies and herbs came from my back yard minus the garlic, onion, ginger and carrots. Next year I think I will try and plant those (maybe not ginger though-wrong climate) just to see if I can make this one pretty much from backyard to table. So good!
Fresh Garden Sesame Noodles Recipe 
(gluten, dairy, nut and sugar-free)

1 package of 16 ounce brown rice pasta ( I use Tinyada's spirals fusilli, or spaghetti )

3-4 cloves of finely minced garlic
1 TB of finely minced ginger root
2-3 TB of olive oil
1 TB of toasted sesame oil

1 cup (2-3 stalks) of sliced celery
1 medium zucchini sliced and halved
1 large chopped bell pepper (or 2-3 smaller sweet red peppers)
1 heaping cup of finely sliced green beans
2 cups of shredded carrots
large handful of finely chopped fresh basil
large handful of finely chopped fresh cilantro

2-3 TB of wheat-free low-sodium tamari sauce
1-2 TB of rice vinegar
1 ts. of ume plum vinegar
2 TB sesame seed butter (tahini)
2 TB of natural sunflower seed butter
1/3-1/2 cup of water or vegetable broth to thin the sauce
dash of sea salt
dash of black pepper
dash of cayenne powder

First, if you want to chop all of your washed veggies that might be the best way to assemble. Cut zucchini into chucks or half circles, slice the green beans into almost pea sized pieces and roughly chop the bell pepper. I like my celery chopped big and thick as well, but you can chop it thin and make it unseen as well. Then grate 2-3 large carrots to get about 2 cups of shredded carrots, and finely chop a handful of cilantro and basil as well. Grate or mine your ginger root and garlic and then you are ready to start the cooking. Boil a large pot of water for your 16 ounces of pasta and when the pasta starts cooking you can start sauteing your veggies.

Start with pouring the olive and sesame oil in a large saute pan or wok. Then toss in the garlic and ginger first and let saute for at least 2 minutes alone on medium heat, then throw in the celery and peppers, cook down for a minutes and then add the green beans and zucchini. There is really no order to the veggies- just make sure you try and let a few cook down before adding the rest so that they are not all trying to cook at the same time. Cook for another 2-4 minutes until all of the veggies are getting soft and translucent. Then add the tamari sauce and the rest of the liquid ingredients. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Even though there is a lot of sodium in the tamari and vinegar, you still want a touch of the sea salt to bring out the flavors as well. Then lastly add the carrots and herbs and turn down the heat, Let simmer and bubble and make sure to also watch the bottom of the pan to not have any burning. Stir consistently with a nice large spoon or spatula.

Then about this time the noodles should be al dente (about 10-12 minutes of boiling). Then drain the noodles and pour the al dente noodles into the vegetable sauce. Stir well and let sit off of heat for 5-10 minutes for the noodles to soak up the sauce. Then you are ready to serve hot and fresh. Serve with a topping of more fresh herbs or some fresh grated carrot. It looks more pretty that way, but to be honest it is so yummy you will not care too much how it looks and will be thinking about seconds before you finish firsts. 
This dish has everything you want in a late summer meal. It's creamy, tangy, fresh and crunchy, savory and sweet, and not to mention super budget friendly as well. You can add some added protein with some grilled chicken, salmon or keep it vegan with some tossed garbanzo beans or other favorite legume. It is nut-free and you wouldn't know it. It is perfect for the peanut lover that cannot have nuts anymore. And, really, the bottom line is that it's addicting. 
This recipe will serve between 6-8 people, and can be easily stored for leftovers or even a cold pasta salad. I have done both of those options over the past month and it still tastes great!
I hope you are finding yummy recipes to make with all your garden and farmer's market goodies. 
Much love as always!
Stephanie
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