Tag: homemade

Foodie Swellness: Spicy vegetarian (and low-cal!) noodle bowl recipe

vegetarian bowl

I received a few packages of NuPasta a couple of weeks ago and I was very intrigued. I’d never heard of konjac, which is a root vegetable native to East Asia. It’s grown 2,000 to 4,000 feet above sea level, and the root is dried and milled and this results in a fibre called konjac glucomannan (which is the main ingredient in NuPasta). Each serving of high-fibre NuPasta is only 25 calories a serving (which is one-tenth the calories of regular pasta) and it’s gluten-free, so I wondered whether this could be a satisfying replacement for pasta for people looking to slash calories or who follow a gluten-free diet. (Which is not me, but I love a good noodle option, so I tucked the packages into the kitchen cupboard).


It took several tries but I finally found a satisfying, delicious, and simple way to enjoy NuPasta. Here’s what I learned experimenting in the kitchen with NuPasta:

The first time I tried it, I’d just gotten home from a trip so my fridge was bare and I needed a quick dinner, so I ate the NuPasta with some jarred prepared pasta sauce. Bad choice. I’ve never found a jarred pasta sauce that is anything more than mediocre, and the noodles themselves I found to be very neutral in flavour and have an almost bouncy texture. Which is to say they are not al dente whatsover. I ended up with a very soft, very bland bowl of noodles.

Second recipe attempt, I knew I needed more texture to the dish, and I had a fridge full of fresh veggies I’d received at a cooking class. So I thought a pasta primavera would work well. I sautéed the veggies in batches so that they’d retain some crunch, but in the end my dinner again was bland and the Parmesan and creamy sauce wasn’t pleasing with the NuPasta.

By now, I realized the NuPasta is neutral in taste, very soft and reminded me of a thicker, springier rice noodle, so I opted to make a noodle bowl versus thinking of NuPasta as a replacement for conventional pasta. I ended up grating carrots for crunch, added sautéed tofu and a boiled egg for protein, green onions for colour and flavour, sliced jalapeño for spice, and sautéed mushrooms for some earthiness.

spicy bowl of NuPasta

The salsa macha I added once the bowl was complete is what takes this noodle bowl to the next level, though. It not only adds a fiery note but the jolt of red salsa bring the bowl alive visually. Salsa macha originates from Veracruz, and is made of chipotle chilies fried with garlic in olive oil (and it is also often combined with other peppers, more oil, nuts and sesame seeds). I received a few bottles of salsa macha from Los Colibris, a fine dining Mexican resto in Toronto, at a dinner event, so I used that, but here is Rick Bayless’s salsa macha recipe (or you can also just use sriracha to kick up the heat of your bowl if you have no salsa macha handy).

This noodle bowl was ready in a snap, was filling, had loads of different textures, and the soft and springy konjac noodles made much more sense to my palate when eaten in a broth.

Here’s a rough recipe of how you can make a comforting spicy vegetarian noodle bowl for yourself:

  • Chop or grate your veggies of choice. I usually aim for at least two to three colours and at least one or two veggies should be crunchy. Ones I typically use in noodle bowls: spinach, baby boy choy, carrots, mushrooms, jalapeño, red pepper, bean sprouts, ginger, edamame.
  • Sautée any of the veggies that you prefer lightly cooked. I prefer the texture and flavour of sautéed mushrooms compared to raw, for example. Set each veggie aside.
  • Sautée cubes of medium-firm tofu. Set aside.
  • Boil one egg. I prefer soft-boiled eggs with my noodles but you can go with hard-boiled, too.
  • Bring about two cups of broth to a boil in a small pot (I usually use chicken broth but here I used mushroom broth as it was what I had on hand.) Add a dash of soy sauce and fish sauce to the broth.
  • Drain one package of NuPasta in a colander and rinse under the tap with water.
  • Once broth is boiling, add NuPasta, veggies, egg and tofu to the pot and warm through.
  • Pour into a bowl and top with sliced green onions, about a half teaspoon of salsa macha and a drizzle of sesame oil.



Leave a Comment April 19, 2016

Foodie Swellness: Philips Pasta Maker (+ GIVEAWAY!)





THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS FOR ENTERING! Congrats to Pam H. of Kitchener (Pam, I’ve emailed you!), you’re the lucky winner of the Philips Pasta Maker! 

One of my favourite foods is pasta, and even more so, fresh pasta. Delicate and laced with a delicious sauce and maybe some spicy ‘nduja. Or with some fresh veggies. Or carbonara (with salty chunks of pancetta, mmm)…gosh, is anyone else hungry now??


I’ve made fresh pasta in a cooking class or two, and have had friends make it for me, but have never attempted to make it myself at home. Partly out of laziness (it seems like a lot of work), plus I didn’t know if I wanted to invest in a manual pasta machine. But when I had the chance to try the Philips Pasta Maker (which essentially does all of the work!) I jumped at the chance. I eat pasta at least a few times a month, after all. And with all the running I do, I feel like I’m always looking for carb-y meals to fuel me.

fresh penne

I’ve used the machine over the past month or so and I love it. All you have to do it throw the ingredients into the machine, press start and it mixes them and then extrudes it out (I’ve made linguini with pesto, peas and avocado, spaghetti with buttery mushrooms, and penne with spinach, sausage and roasted peppers — the machine comes with a choice of shaping discs) and you slice it into the length of pasta you want.

Philips Pasta Maker


I’ve made both the smaller recipe (which serves 1 to 2 people) and the larger recipe (serves 2 to 4), and I swear it only added maybe 10 to 15 minutes to my cooking time, it’s that fast and simple. While the pasta hasn’t come out exactly the texture I had in mind (I think I need to find some semolina flour, rather than the whole wheat flour I’ve been using, to get it to the taste and consistency I prefer), I had dinner ready so quickly and it was still tasty.


I’ll be playing with the machine more to perfect my pasta (and then I’ll start experimenting with making flavoured pastas and other types of noodles!), but for a fresh pasta lover, I am pleased as punch with having this appliance in my kitchen and am  looking forward to having friends over for a pasta dinner. The only downside? The machine is a bit bulky and storage in my downtown Toronto condo is limited. And I’d say you have to be eating pasta a fair bit if you’re investing in a pasta machine…

But here’s the thing: you don’t have to invest in the Philips Pasta Maker yourself if you WIN this one that I’m giving away!

You can enter to win the Philips Pasta Maker (retail value $299.99) in four different ways:

  1. Email me at healthandswellness@gmail.com with your name and address (please put “Philips Pasta Maker” in the subject line).
  2. Twitter. Follow me on  Twitter (@healthswellness) and tweet:

I love fresh pasta! And I want to win this #giveaway of a Philips Pasta Maker from @healthswellness! http://bit.ly/1hjkOQf

  1. Instagram: Follow me on Instagram (@healthandswellness) and like the photo of the fresh pasta dish I made with the Philips Pasta Maker on Instagram, and tag a friend who loves fresh pasta as much as you do in the comments.
  2. Facebook: Like the Health and Swellness page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/healthandswellness) and comment on the photo of the Philips Pasta Maker about what pasta dish is your favourite.

This giveaway is open to Canadian residents and you can enter up until 12 p.m. EST, Wednesday, August 26, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random and notified via the method they’ve won. If they do not claim their prize within five days, another winner will be selected at random.

Good luck!




6 Comments August 17, 2015

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