I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has those meals where you just say, “forget good-for-you food, I want something I’m craving”. Well, this book, Plant Power by Nava Atlas brings those two mindsets into one plate. Healthy meets traditional desires for yummy flavors and fun. One of my absolute favorite Asian dishes has always been a big carry out container of Lo Mein. I usually try to get something with less fat, less carbohydrate and less money when we order Chinese. When I first tried Nava’s recipe for Lo Mein I was shocked at how easily the dish came together and just how much delicious flavor a handful of healthy ingredients whipped up for a homemade version of my carry-out favorite.
To let you all in on a behind the scenes process of food blogging, there are many times when you photograph a dish prior to ever tasting it. Just the logistics of creating a blog post makes it necessary to photograph your recipe in an unnatural setting to just someone sitting down to enjoy a meal. This recipe was just one of those times. I had been working all week from 4:30 a. m. , driven just over 1,000 miles for work and finally made my way to Friday afternoon and 2 days off. YEA!!
When I got home and started to review this Lo Mein for my post so that I could share the recipe with you, I really was dreading cutting up a bunch of veggies, getting out the sauté pan and I definitely didn’t feel like cleaning up a big mess in the kitchen. I also love Lo Mein, as mentioned. I was trying to work out how to get photos without spoiling the textures of the noodles or overcooking the veggies. Tiring just writing it here. But it turned out that the recipe was so splendidly simple that all those worries never came about. I did take a few minutes to wash and chop the broccoli and cabbage but that was simple enough. The beans I used were frozen so I just took out a handful to let them thaw. Soba noodles cook up almost before they hit the boiling water so I made those first off and dropped them in an ice bath before making the sauce for the dish. After getting the sauce heated (2 minutes – literally) I tossed in the cut broccoli, mushrooms and beans, removed the pan from the heat and mixed in the drained noodles and cabbage slices.
My point in explaining all this process at nauseum is just to emphasize that my favorite Asian meal is now a 15 minute, homemade meal with ingredients that I usually have on hand as well. I love it. I love the flavors. I love how simple it came together.
I love this dish. Thank you Nava!
“Plant Power” is divided into two sections.
Part One deals with having a plant based lifestyle including benefits, myths, setting up a plant based pantry, kitchen tools and ways to eat more leafy greens to name just a few chapters.
The second section is where the fun begins with recipe after recipe of delectable dishes you will get as much out of eating as in nutrition. She really knows how to make food pop!
Nava has a beautiful way of explaining cold facts on nutrition and the realities of shopping and preparing plant based meals and snacks. She really breaks down all aspects of this way of life;
Organics vs. Non, storing products and on and on with helpful, informative help for the beginner and expert on plant based diets. I love how simply she relates her own success and failures in living this healthiest ways to live. She gives her own life experiences to teach and improve on our own.
– “Many people would love to adopt a lifestyle that includes more fresh and whole foods and is better for their health.
The goal of this book is to provide a template for you to do just that.
Many vegan cookbooks, as well as other books about plant-based diets, assume that the reader is transitioning toward becoming
vegan or is there already. This one doesn’t – it’s for anyone who wants a more plant-strong diet, whether that diet is going to be followed full-time or not. No matter where you are on the path, a bit of motivation is always helpful, so I’d like to present you with some benefits of this way of life.” – pg. 6
Nava Atlas – Plant Power
- 8 ounces udon or soba, preferably whole-grain
- 1 tablespoon safflower or other high-heat oil, or 3 tablespoons vegetable broth or water
- 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil (optional but highly recommended)
- 1/2 small head green or napa cabbage, cut into long, narrow ribbons (see Note)
- 2 cups small broccoli florets
- 2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half (see Note)
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 3 to 4 scallions, white and green parts cut into 1-inch-long segments
- Vegetable broth or water for moistening
- Reduced-sodium natural soy sauce or tamari to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Cook the noodles according to package directions in plenty of rapidly simmering water until al dente, then drain.
- Meanwhile, heat the safflower oil, broth, or water and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil (if desired) in a stir-fry pan. Add the cabbage, broccoli, and green beans. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, if desired, and scallions and stir-fry over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender-crisp. Add a small amount of vegetable broth or water, just enough to keep the pan moist.
- Add the cooked noodles to the stir-fry pan and toss together. Add the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil, if using, then season with soy sauce and pepper to taste. Serve at once.
- When you’re in a hurry, you can substitute 8 ounces of preshredded coleslaw (preferably with carrots included) for the green or napa cabbage. And fresh, slender green beans are hard to come by for much of the year, so I give you my full blessing to use frozen organic whole baby green beans, which are consistently excellent—and also save you the time and trouble of trimming the ends.
- Nutrition information
- Per serving: Calories: 264 with oil, 234 without oil; Total fat: 4g with oil, 1g without oil; Protein: 11g; Carbohydrates: 52g; Fiber: 3g; Sodium: 473mg
- Use whatever you’ve got in the fridge in place of or in addition to some of the veggies called for in the recipe—romaine lettuce, mung bean sprouts, and/or bok choy in place of cabbage; broccoli rabe or Chinese broccoli instead of regular broccoli—it’s all good!
- Turn this into a heartier dish by adding 8 ounces seitan, cut into narrow strips, along with the cabbage, broccoli, and green beans.
More favorites from Nava’s book: Skillet Barbecue-Flavored Beans, Unbaked Fudgy Brownies, Quinoa Tabbouleh, Fully Loaded Emergency Nachos (HeHeee), Chapter 6. Wraps, Sandwiches and Burgers – yes, the whole thing, Gluten-Free Pizza Crust, Thousand Island Dressing…..you get the picture. Nava brings plants to life in this book and explains their nutrition, purchasing and storing, and of course preparing them to their healthiest and most delicious potential.
If you’d like to enter to win a copy of Plant Power by Nava Atlas for yourself, please enter the giveaway options below.
Contest ends November 15th. U. S. residents only please.
I was provided with a copy of Plant Power for review although I was under no obligation to do so.
More from my site
- Recycled Soups – 10 Minute Creamy Vegetable Soup
- Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck #20