Tofu Noodles with Mushrooms and Eggplant

This tofu noodles recipe is one my sister Jo created (although since she only gave me general verbal instructions I’ve kinda been winging it, too). She is the queen of finding time-saving hacks for making her low-carb lifestyle easy to navigate. And as with all my low-starch recipes, my husband likes this Asian-inspired dish, too–so I’m betting those of you watching a prediabetes or diabetes diagnosis would have willing-to-try family members. The key is finding the tofu as slices, which we’ve only been able to get in a local Korean grocery store. It would be just as tasty with cubed tofu. Oh, and if you’re like Jo then feel free to use store-bought ginger-garlic paste; I prefer leaving out the preservatives, so I make my own. Serves 6 Ingredients 2 packages hearty mushrooms, such as maitake or cremini, sliced 1 very large eggplant (or equivalent), cubed 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced 1 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced Optional: Dash of sesame oil and sprinkle of xanthan gum powder (if you have it) 1 large package (17.5 oz) soy tofu slices 2 Tbsp liquid aminos or reduced-sodium soy sauce 1+ Tbsp unsweetened rice vinegar 1 bunch scallions, sliced thinly Optional: 1/3 cup salted cashews, chopped, for garnish Optional: 2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish   Directions Heat a small amount of olive or sesame oil in a very large skillet on medium-high. Saute the mushrooms and eggplant until softened, approximately 10-15 minutes. In the meantime puree together the ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and xanthan gum in a blender or Cuisinart. You may also use just a bit of water in place of the oil and xanthan gum. (To make a larger batch to have on hand: Blend equal parts fresh ginger (1 large hunk) and garlic (~ 15-20 cloves) with 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil and 1/4 tsp xanthan gum powder.) Break up the tofu slices and add to the skillet, along with the ginger-garlic paste, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Saute 5 minutes, combining well. Add the scallions and saute 5 minutes more. Serve with the cashews and sesame seeds for...
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Low-Carb African Peanut Soup

This low-carb African peanut soup practically transforms the original recipe, which is decidedly high-starch, into something different entirely. I just love peanut butter, and so this makes a good jumping off point for enjoying it in a new way.  To be honest the original version, with its sweet potato and black beans, has a unique flavor all its own, so I decided to give you, the reviewer, the option based on your preferences or if you need to follow a diabetes diet. To that end, I list both the low-starch and original ingredients, below. Either way, enjoy this hearty–and peanut buttery!–soup. Oh, and, as usual, I’ve given the doubled recipe version so you have leftovers for lunches the next couple days or can freeze individual portions for another quick meal you don’t need to think about. Serves 8-10 Ingredients 2 medium sweet onions, diced Lots of fresh garlic (~ 6-10 medium cloves), minced 2 red bell peppers, diced 2 bags frozen grilled cauliflower florets, thawed and cut into smaller chunks, OR 4 small (or 3 medium) sweet potatoes 1 bag frozen cauliflower rice, thawed 1/2 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained (reserve the rest for other family members to add in if they like), OR 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth + 5-6 cups water 2/3 cup low-sugar Mexican tomato salsa 1 tsp ground cumin Optional: 1-2 bags (5 oz each) fresh baby spinach leaves or power greens–for an added nutrient boost 1/2 cup natural peanut butter, thinned with 1/2 cup water + extra peanut butter for topping   Directions Saute the onion, garlic, and bell pepper in just a tiny bit of olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat, until translucent. In the meantime, cut slits in the sweet potatoes (if using) and microwave until done. Cool, and cut into cubes. Add the sweet potato to the stock pot, OR, if you’re using the grilled cauliflower instead add both of those bags. Also add: the cauliflower rice, black beans, vegetable broth and water, salsa, and cumin. Bring to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, adding the greens (if using) during the last 5 minutes, and stirring to steam them. Add the thinned peanut butter and stir to combine. Serve with extra peanut butter to...
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No Breading Eggplant Parmesan

I absolutely love eggplant Parmesan–except all that breading makes it practically equivalent to having a full serving of pasta. So I’ve hit upon a great compromise that makes the eggplant and fresh basil sauce the stars, along with a healthy dose of yummy cheeses, of course. It uses a slightly different version of my Spinach-Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms. This means it’s a great low-starch/ low-carb recipe for those with prediabetes or diabetes, or just those of you wanting to limit refined carbs. It’s all good! Serves 8 Ingredients 1 very large (or 2 medium) eggplants, sliced thin 6-ounce bag fresh spinach 5 medium cloves garlic 2 large eggs, beaten 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 1/2 cups shredded organic or light mozzarella cheese, divided into 1/2 cup and 1 cup 15-ounce container fat-free Ricotta cheese 1 package (2 fistfuls) fresh basil, sliced 2/3rd container (24 oz) low-sugar prepared pasta sauce, divided 3 ways 1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese   Directions Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and lightly grease a large glass baking dish. Spread out the eggplant slices and lightly salt them. Let sit for 30 minutes. (Note: this step isn’t critical so if you don’t have time then skip it and just lightly salt the eggplant once you’ve microwaved and squeezed them dry.) Microwave 8-10  minutes (or steam on the stovetop), cool, and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. In the meantime, chop the spinach and the garlic in batches in a food processor, and transfer to a medium mixing bowl. In the same mixing bowl stir in the eggs, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, Ricotta cheese, and fresh basil. Combine until well mixed. Layer a small amount of pasta sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, followed by: a layer of eggplant, another light layer of sauce, the spinach ricotta filling. Repeat once more: eggplant, pasta sauce, filling. Sprinkled remaining 1 cup mozzarella followed by the fresh Parmesan over the entire dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until topping is golden brown and cheese is...
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Butternut Squash Casserole

This butternut squash casserole is a wonderfully warm and spiced Autumn dish that may make a good diabetic recipe if you’re someone who needs to watch your starches and you know butternut squash is reasonably moderate on your post-meal blood glucose readings. As with everything I make my husband (who doesn’t need to eat low-carb in the least!) also enjoys it. Note: The fresh basil may seem out of place but it actually adds a nice balance to the sweetness, although it can certainly be skipped. To make this recipe super easy I opted for already cubed and packaged squash. Makes 8 side servings, or 4-6 dinner servings Ingredients 2 small (or 1 extra large) sweet onions, chopped Lots of fresh garlic (~ 6-10 medium cloves), minced 1 pkg (approx 20 oz) peeled and cubed butternut squash 3 large eggs 3/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 cup fresh basil, chopped 1/4 tsp ground black pepper 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 1 cup light or organic mozzarella cheese Optional: 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese   Directions Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, and lightly grease a 9×13-inch glass casserole baking dish. Heat a very small amount of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions, garlic, and squash until the squash is slightly tender, approximately 15-20 minutes. Season with salt. Lightly whisk the eggs in a bowl. Stir in the yogurt, grated Parmesan cheese, basil, black pepper, and nutmeg. Pour egg mixture over squash mixture in its skillet and stir to combine well. Transfer entire mixture to the casserole baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese and the extra fresh Parmesan cheese (if you’re using). Bake in the preheated oven until the casserole is lightly browned and squash is tender, about 25...
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Lighter Egg Salad

This egg salad is much lighter on the amount of mayonnaise, making it lighter in calories and fat while still being big on taste. This way you get the nutrition of the full egg without extra additives–natural or not (which is often the case in commercial mayonnaise or salad dressing brands that contain added sugars.) This is good news if you have heart health issues, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, or struggle with your weight. I also opt for a more unadulterated canola mayonnaise (look for few ingredients and pure ones at that!) to keep to a whole food focus. Serves 5 Ingredients 10 large eggs 1/4 cup + 1/2 Tbsp canola mayonnaise 2 tsp Dijon mustard 2-3 Tbsp sweet onion, diced 1/4- 1/2 tsp paprika salt and pepper to taste   Directions Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for approximately 12 minutes. Drain the hot water and add very cold water to stop the cooking process. While the eggs are still cooling peel them one at a time, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Use the back of fork tongs to break the eggs into pieces. Stir the mayonnaise, mustard, and onion together and add to the eggs. Stir well to combine, and season with the paprika, salt, and...
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Stuffed Zucchini

This stuffed zucchini (or summer squash) actually calls for chicken sausage, but to make it vegetarian the sausage can easily be left out or swapped for beans. The mix of flavors and melted goat cheese make it a surprising bake. It is both a good side dish and, with double servings, a light low-carb summer entree. Makes 4 dinner servings Ingredients 4 large or 6 medium zucchini 2 tsp olive oil, divided 4 links chicken sausage, chopped 1 whole red bell pepper, diced 3 shallots, diced 8-10 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled 1 Tbsp dry whole wheat bread crumbs   Directions Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat it with 1 tsp oil. Using a spoon hollow out a modest well in the center of each zucchini half. Place each piece on the baking sheet, cut-side up, and make room for a couple small mounds of the scooped-out insides (no need to waste good squash!) Heat the other tsp oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Saute the sausage, shallot, and red bell pepper until the sausage is lightly browned and the shallot and pepper are soft. In a mixing bowl combine the sausage mixture with the goat cheese. Fill each zucchini with a few spoonfuls of the sausage-cheese mix, and top with a sprinkling of bread crumbs. Bake in the preheated oven until filling is lightly browned and squash is tender, about 30...
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