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!

Formula Meals: Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are an easy to make, delicious side dish that will turn even the pickiest of eaters into instant veggie lovers!

how to roast vegetables

Formula meals are back this week with a cooking basic so many people forget about: roasted vegetables. If roasted veggies are not in your weekly repertoire, they should be. Not only are they super easy to make, they also make most vegetables taste even better.

When vegetables are combined with a little oil and some high heat an amazing thing happens…they become addictively delicious. But in a good way! Roasting is the difference between knowing you should eat your veggies to actually looking forward to eating them. If you have a picky eater in your midst, treat them to roasted carrots, Brussels sprouts or some butternut squash. I have been known to eat an entire head of just-roasted cauliflower standing at the stove. With my fingers. I don’t even bother with a fork. To me, there are few rivals to a hot, slightly charred roasted veg. And the best part? There’s a formula. Which is code for you really can’t screw these up…too badly.

I like mine a bit on the charred side so I tend to keep the heat up at 425°. If you like yours a little less toasty, you can lower to 400°. Remember that thinner veggies (think bell peppers) will need less time than a starchy potato or Brussels sprout so you’ll have to adjust the time and temp accordingly. I usually set the timer for 15 minutes, give them a quick toss with a long wooden spoon, and then roast 10-15 minutes more, depending on the veg. As with most things, practice makes perfect so keep doing it until you get the result you love.

What’s the Formula?

1 part vegetables: choose from Brussels sprouts, turnips, squash, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini,etc.

1 part seasoning: salt and pepper work just fine, but consider adding cumin, turmeric, chili pepper, oregano, smoked paprika, dill, garlic, thyme, salt, cinnamon…I think you get the idea. :)

1 part oil: I actually just drizzle olive or coconut oil over the veggies — no measuring necessary.

Always the same: salt, aluminum foil, baking sheet

Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or some other high-heat baking sheet protector. Or don’t, this part is personal preference. Personally, I don’t like to scrub the baking sheet so I line it. Dice up your vegetables into bite sized pieces (remember, the more surface area exposed to the heat, the more caramelized goodness you get). Place veggies into a large mixing bowl. Douse with oil of choice. Season with favorite seasonings. Shake the bowl or toss with a wooden spoon. Pour veggies onto baking sheet and bake for 12-25 minutes. Try not to eat all at once.

Easy Butternut Squash noodles with lentils

Butternut Squash Noodles with Lentils & Pistachios

A busy girl’s weeknight dinner: butternut squash noodles tossed with cashew cream sauce on a pile of steamed lentils and topped with chili-spiced pistachios. A delicious, gluten free and dairy free meal — on your table in minutes.

Lazy girls weeknight dinner...julienned butternut squash noodles tossed with easy cashew cream on a layer of lentils. Topped with chili-spiced pistachios. Dinner in less than 10 minutes. This dish is as simple as you can get — while still looking like a rockstar in the kitchen. Butternut squash noodles are my version of a pantry meal. Leftover cashew cream sauce from last week. Leftover TJ’s steamed lentils. Bibb lettuce courtesy of a Costco 4-pack. And pistachios…a pantry staple!

Easy Butternut Squash noodles with lentils

These chili-spiced pistachios are a great way to fancify a dish. Just throw them in a bowl, sprinkle with some chili powder and toss with a little bit of really good, tasty olive oil. I use these all the time to add some oomph to a bowl of veggies, salads, grains and pasta. Any nut, seed or spice will work! You can also get fancy with different types of oils, like truffle or avocado oil.

julienne the butternut squash

The noodles are super easy to make, too. No fancy spiralizer needed. A regular vegetable peeler created these long strands of noodles. The size and shape of your butternut will be what predicts the length of your noodles. You can also spiralize your sqaush if you have one. Once you’ve shaved off enough noodles, cut up the leftover squash and roast it for another meal.

Butternut squash noodles with cashew creamI tossed these noodles raw with my cashew sauce. If you want a warmer dish, heat the noodles, not the sauce. It doesn’t heat well. To heat, just add the noodles to a warm pan with a little olive oil and then toss with the sauce. So the next time you’re pressed for time, remember that this healthy, delicious easy to make dish is just a few minutes away!

Butternut Squash “Noodles” with Lentils & Pistachios

Butternut Squash “Noodles” with Lentils & Pistachios


  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled
  • 1 cup cooked lentils (I use Trader Joe's steamed lentils)
  • 2 Tbsp shelled pistachios
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp good extra virgin olive oil or truffle oil
  • 2 leaves Boston Bibb lettuce
  • For the Cashew Cream
  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 20 minutes or overnight
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 very small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp miso paste
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Dash sea salt, to taste
  • 2-3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • few drops liquid stevia, optional


  1. Blend cashew cream sauce ingredients in a blender until well combined and set aside. Place pistachios, chili powder, and olive oil in a small bowl, mix well and set aside. Using a vegetable peeler, peel butternut squash into noodles. To heat noodles, warm in a pan with a little olive oil. Remove from heat and toss with a tablespoon or so of cashew cream (you can also toss noodles raw with the warm cashew cream from the blender). Heat lentils and place on top of a few leaves of Bibb lettuce. Top lentils with squash noodles and sprinkle on pistachios.