Basil Thai Noodles with Bison and Zucchini + Spicy Quick Pickled Cucumber

Bison (or Buffalo) is a sustainable alternative to beef, as bison don’t graze nearly as intensely as cattle and, since they are native to North America, are adapted to the American climate and natural food sources.  This means less land and energy needed for shelter/heating and we don’t need to spend gallons of water growing their food.

Aside from the ecological bonuses of eating bison rather than beef, the health benefits of bison meat include lower saturated fat, more omega 3s, more protein, and fewer calories. Another plus, it’s illegal to administer growth hormones to bison in the U.S and antibiotics are rarely needed since they’ve evolved to survive in North America.

So choose bison next time a recipe calls for beef!  Bison’s flavor is similar to, if not better than, beef and it’s becoming more and more readily available.

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Before you start working on the noodles, do the Spicy Quick Pickled Cucumber.  It takes five minutes to prepare and it’ll be perfect within 30 minutes, just when you’ve finished your colorful bowl of noodles.

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This answer to take out is a fun way to enjoy ground bison, but feel free to substitute the meat with tempeh for vegetarians.

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Basil Thai Noodles with Bison and Zucchini

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1/2 pound wide rice noodles

1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 pound grass fed ground beef or bison (or tempeh if vegan)

¼ teaspoon salt

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons coconut aminos, or 1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon coconut sugar

1 large carrot, thin matchstick cut or bias cut

1 large zucchini, medium matchstick cut

1 ounce Thai basil or regular basil (about 1 cup picked leaves), stemmed and left whole

juice of 2 limes

3 scallions, bias cut (reserve some of the green cuts for garnish)

1/2 cup roasted peanuts, to finish

What to do:

Cook wide rice noodles 9 minutes (may vary depending on the brand you buy- check package directions), and toss with toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds.  Set aside.

Sauté ground meat in oil in a large high sided skillet over high heat.  Break it up as it cooks, but be careful not to agitate too much- you want to allow the meat to brown.  Season with salt and remove from pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and add to noodles, trying to keep drippings in the pan.

In the same pan you used to cook the meat, sauté onion, ginger, and garlic in drippings and remaining 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil over medium high heat, about 5 minutes.  Deglaze pan with coconut aminos and fish sauce. Add carrot and zucchini and continue to cook, tossing frequently, about 5-8 minutes or until softened.  Add vegetables to noodles, along with basil, lime juice and scallion.  Toss and serve.  Garnish with reserved scallion and more sesame seeds or some roasted peanuts.

Great with sesame roasted broccoli and spicy quick pickled cucumber (below).

Spicy Quick Pickled Cucumber

Ingredients:

1 cucumber, peeled and cut into quarter moons

1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled

pinch red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar

What to do:

Combine all ingredients, cover, and let marinate 20 minutes or overnight.

 


Creamy Vegan Red Pepper and Tomato Summer Sauce

Creamy Vegan Red Pepper and Tomato Summer Sauce - The Clean Gourmet

If you have tons of tomatoes, this is a great way to preserve them.  I make this sauce every August/September when I’m drowning in tomatoes and peppers, picked ripe from local vines.  None may go to waste!
Creamy Vegan Red Pepper and Tomato Summer Sauce - The Clean Gourmet

Simmering tomatoes with olive oil makes the naturally occurring lycopene and carotenoids much more available for absorption by the body.  The longer, the better!

Creamy Vegan Red Pepper and Tomato Summer Sauce - The Clean Gourmet

Use this as a dipping sauce, pasta sauce or eat is alone as a soup.

Creamy Vegan Red Pepper and Tomato Summer Sauce - The Clean Gourmet

Creamy Vegan Red Pepper and Tomato Summer Sauce:

Makes about 1 1/2 cups sauce.

1 red bell pepper

1 tablespoon high quality olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

2 large heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped (include skins and guts)

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 turns black pepper

1/2 cup creamy homemade almond milk or walnut milk (whole milk if you’re okay with dairy)

1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

Start by roasting your pepper:  Place pepper on a parchment lined sheet pan and place in your broiler.  Once you see dark browning/blackening, turn the pepper and repeat once or twice until blackened all over (should take about 10 minutes per side).  Remove pepper from oven and place in closed paper bag or covered bowl for 15 minutes to steam.  Remove blackened skins.

Sauté garlic in olive oil over medium heat in a small saucepan until golden.  Add roasted pepper, tomatoes and salt.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes, uncovered.

Blend simmered ingredients on high in blender until smooth.  Add nut milk and black pepper.  Continue to purée until silky smooth.  Transfer to a container or bowl and stir in basil.

Creamy Vegan Red Pepper and Tomato Summer Sauce - The Clean Gourmet


Summer Cold Green Bean Salad

This is a pretty simple salad but I thought I’d share it anyway.  You can easily play with this by adding things like walnuts, goat cheese or olives.  I’ve kept it clean by leaving out oil, but feel free to add some.

The picture is of Version 1, but I thought I’d include the recipe for Version 2 as I did it a while ago and really enjoyed it.

Serves 4

What you need:

10 oz FRESH green beans, ends trimmed

2 heirloom tomatoes, diced

Salt and Pepper

Version 1:

Handful sweet basil, torn into pieces

2 endives, chopped in thirds and leaves separated

Balsamic

Version 2:

Handful fresh dill, minced

1-2 oz goat cheese

Fresh lemon juice

Red wine vinegar

What to do:

Trim green beans and blanch in boiling salted water for about 3 minutes.  Strain and let cool.

While green beans are cooling, put tomatoes in medium-sized bowl and add the acid ingredients (Version 1: balsamic; Version 2: lemon juice and red wine vinegar) and oil, if using.

Once beans are cooled, add to bowl along with endives and basil for Version 1 or goat cheese and dill for Version 2.  Season salt and pepper and toss to coat.

You can either serve immediately or let marinate for a few hours.

Downloadable/Printable Version