Asian Sesame Noodle Salad

This vegan, gluten-free version of Asian Sesame Noodle Salad with Almond Butter Dressing is the perfect dish to celebrate spring! 

This Asian Sesame Noodle Salad with Almond Butter Dressing is the perfect dish to celebrate spring! It's vegan and gluten-free made with black bean noodles, fresh asparagus and beautiful purple cabbage.

This lightened-up version of Asian Sesame Salad is dear to my heart. It played a starring role in my life during the summer of 2004…the summer when my husband and I started dating. We ate so much of this Asian Sesame Noodle Salad we had to break up with it, literally. You can read more about our love affair with this noodle salad and get the recipe hereI’ve been recreating it for years using different types of noodles but never found a good replacement. I think this recipe comes pretty close!

This Asian Sesame Noodle Salad with Almond Butter Dressing is the perfect dish to celebrate spring! It's vegan and gluten-free made with black bean noodles, fresh asparagus and beautiful purple cabbage.   #cleaneating

I’ve tried using kelp and zucchini noodles but these Explore Asian black bean noodles might just be the best iteration thus far. I love that they’re dense enough to hold up to the almond butter dressing, which really is the key. I created this version for my Inspired Vegetarian Column on Healthy Aperture, a site where you can search for healthy recipes (which also happen to be quite pretty). I modeled the recipe after a similar salad made with thick and delicious udon noodles. Udon is great, but it’s super dense and very high in calories. You can’t eat too much of it, as me and my husband found out the hard way.

This Asian Sesame Noodle Salad with Almond Butter Dressing is the perfect dish to celebrate spring! It's vegan and gluten-free made with black bean noodles, fresh asparagus and beautiful purple cabbage.   #clean #vegan @glutenfree

This salad is the perfect way to ring in the spring here in DC, but I’ve also brought it to many an outdoor summer potluck. I hope you’ll try it! Click here to Healthy Aperture for the recipe!

trader joe's favorites

Food Finds: My 8 Top Trader Joe’s Favs

trader joe's favorites Trader Joe’s has been creating food especially for me. Well not officially, but that’s how it feels these days. Inspired by this post from The Kitchn, I thought it was high time I shared some favorite finds from my neighborhood TJs.

Here goes:

The raw, fermented sauerkraut is my most recent find and probably the most exciting.  Why do I love thee? Well for one, this ‘kraut tastes fantastic. A long time fan of Bubbies, I have to admit, it’s a little…shall I say…pungent.  But not this sauerkraut! It’s the delicious addition of Persian cucumbers that has me eating half the container in one sitting. I think the cucumbers make it a bit less crunchy and gives it a slight sweet taste. It’s also fermented and raw. This means there’s no vinegar or cultures added and it’s not cooked or pasteurized. I love the delicious just-right combination of cabbage, cucumbers, sea salt and garlic – naturally preserved and a great source of probiotics (which are good for you, remember?).

I discovered TJ’s miso paste in April and was delighted. Hey, that’s one less trek to the Asian grocery store for this girl. This miso is a mild yellow type and I pretty much use it every single day. In case you’re wondering, the Japanese have been fermenting soybean into miso paste for over 1,000 years. It gives food that delicious umami flavor that you probably love, even if you don’t know it. Added bonus: Trader Joe’s uses organic soybeans and their miso is vegan and gluten-free.

I don’t have to tell you that I love my green juice. I mean geez, I even wrote a book about juicing. So you can imagine how excited I was to see that Trader Joe’s now has their own line of green juice. The best part? The price tag. Only $4.99 (other juice brands charge twice that). And it’s tasty, too. Only 10 grams of natural sugar and 100 calories in the whole bottle; it’s a perfect pick me up any time of the day. Their Green Juice contains seventeen kale leaves, a whole pound of spinach, a quarter of an English cucumber, one stalk of celery, one lemon, and two inches of ginger!!  And only one apple, which I think is the perfect sweetness. They press out the juice using a slow hydraulic press (the mack daddy of all juicers) and then preserve it using a cold water pressure method called High Pressure Processing (HPP). The companies that use this process (pretty much all of the juicing brands) claim it does not reduce the drinks nutritional value or flavor. Did I mention it’s only $4.99?

I got hooked on roasted seaweed snacks when I started my Clean Eating Detox. On the lookout for snacks that were detox-friendly and nutrient rich (high in vitamins A, B6 and C, as well as iodine and fiber) I fell in love with the odd but addictive flavor of these snacks. I buy 5 of these bags at a time. They’re only  60 calories for the entire package. I like the plain flavor but they also have a spicy wasabi. They’re the perfect side to a sandwich at lunch or a nice mid-day snack with some almonds. I also make mini nori rolls with them for Norah by wrapping them in cooked rice.  So good!

It’s no secret I’m a peanut butter fan first, but I do love Trader Joe’s Almond Butter…..mostly because it’s such a great value. It’s the least expensive option for any nut butter lover! It’s also natural and minimally processed, no sugar or anything added. Yes, you can make your own almond butter pretty easily but if you don’t have the time or the inclination, this is a great second-best!

The coconut milk at Trader Joe’s is a staple in our house. We use it in smoothies, oatmeal, my DK Cereal Swag, chia pudding, etc. I love TJ’s version because it doesn’t contain carrageenan and it tastes pretty good. It’s dairy free, soy free and vegan. They’ve got unsweetened plain and vanilla as well as the sweetened versions.

The organic virgin coconut oil is another great TJ’s find. Again, the price point can’t be beat and the product is so versatile. I use it mainly in the kitchen, but there are many other uses for coconut oil…I know people who use it on their hair, as soap, as shaving cream, as hand and body lotion and even toothpaste! I will admit I’ve slathered it on my very dry heels in the winter but other than that, I am not so adventurous. TJ’s coconut oil is cold pressed, raw filtered and unpasteurized — pretty good stuff for just $5.99.

And finally my latest obsession is white balsamic vinegar. For someone who makes their own salad dressing, I tend to get overly excited about vinegar. I love the delicate flavor of this white balsamic, it has the perfect balance of flavor without overpowering my salad. I whisk a  few tablespoons of this with a tablespoon of miso and some olive oil and I’m set to go…delish!

So now it’s your turn, what are YOUR favorite Trader Joe’s finds? 


Food Finds: Time Saving Kitchen Gadgets

It’s Friday, friends.  Time for some fun food finds for you. Today I’m talking kitchen gadgets. Things that make your life easier in the kitchen. I kinda love gadgets…but only truly useful ones.  That’s why I’m sharing a few favorites I turn to every day to store, cook, and prep food easier.

Here you go:



This lemon squeezer is what I get asked about the most in my Detox Kitchen cooking classes.  It never fails that someone will ask where to find this. You either love using it or you don’t, and I love it!  I also have one for oranges and limes. You can find it on my Amazon store here;  but I’ve seen it at World Market, Bed Bath and Beyond, and TJ Maxx.


These fridge coasters are the best, they literally are “fashion for your fridge.”  They keep your drawers and shelves clean and they look pretty, too. I recently got a new fridge and I couldn’t wait to put these puppies on every shelf!  Learn more about fridge coasters here.



This Simple Human sensor soap dispenser is the best. I wash some serious dishes in my house and I love not having to use both hands to add soap onto my sponge. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but once you’ve tried this baby, there’s no going back.  Just place your sponge under the spout, and out pours the perfect amount of soap…every time.


Okay, I admit it.  This one I don’t have personally…my sister has it.  But I LOVE it and I totally want it. I mean, who wouldn’t want an automatic one-handed pepper grinder, right?

What’s your favorite time-saving kitchen gadget?