Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ramen? Really?

Yes, actually -- really.

I am constantly looking for a way to make vegetables more interesting and fun to eat.  I don't really dislike them, I'm just not excited by them.

(Note to self:  Um, you have some emotional food issues.  Food should not have to excite you to be eaten, it should nourish your body.  Add "dealing with food issues" to your to-do list.)

So anyway I try to keep veggies appealing by choosing multi-colored carrots over the standard orange ones, mesclun salad mixes over iceberg lettuce, yellow and purple tomatoes over plain old red -- you get the idea.  Plus, I have a three-year-old and an admittedly culinarily unadventurous husband to feed so variety is important in our house.

Enter:  ramen.

I mixed up a salad last night that was so good I made it the entree for dinner tonight.  Didn't help that the husband was out this evening & my sister was here so the only ones duplicating were me & my daughter (and she's not going to rat me out).  Anywho, here's the scoop:

6 cups of your favorite mixed greens

Whatever salad veggies you have on hand -- I used red & purple carrots, scallions, and celery

About 1/4 cup of pine nuts (available pre-toasted from Trader Joe's!)

One package of ramen noodles

Low-fat asian salad dressing (below)

6 ounces thinly sliced flank steak (mine was left over from last night - teriyaki!)


Throw the greens, veggies, & pine nuts in a nice big bowl. 


Break up the ramen into small pieces (but not crumbs) and toast it in a dry non-stick pan for a couple of minutes.  Add hot water to the hot pan, just enough to float the ramen, and let it cook about 2 minutes -- til it's soft but not mushy.


Drain off the excess water and let it cool while you make the dressing:


1/2 cup fat free balsamic vinegarette (keep it basic)

~ 1/2 tsp crushed garlic

~ 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger

~ 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

~ 1 Tablespoon sugar (or you could substitute the sweetener of your choice)

Whisk together with a fork & you're done!


Add the ramen and dressing to the veggies & toss.  Plate it up and top with the flank steak.  This will make two REALLY BIG adult salads as well as an appropriate plate for a three-year-old. 

Delicious!  My daughter digs it because of the ramen and "purple carrots and purple leaves."  (We are VERY into purple these days.)  My husband likes it because it seems less like a salad with the noodles mixed in.  And I love it because it's tasty and filling and is only about 375 calories for the whole meal.

I know a lot of the ingredients may not be things that everyone has on hand, but if you like Asian foods and want to stock your pantry I highly recommend the toasted sesame oil -- TONS of flavor by adding very little oil.  Pine nuts could easily be swapped out for another nut of your choice -- almonds come to mind first, but I'm sure others would work too.  You could also use any protein you like (chicken, seafood, other cuts of beef) as long as it wasn't seasoned too heavily with competing flavors.


And the ramen?  Come on.  You're probably got some hidden away, right?

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