Wow, I feel so healthy! This week I dined at Au Lac in Fountain Valley, a restaurant that specializes in what they call Humanese cuisine with an extensive menu of raw and vegan Asian dishes with a few Italian and American staples such as spaghetti, pizza, and burgers. Au Lac has been serving healthy vegan food for 15 years and has a loyal following – they were quite busy for a Tuesday night and some of the diners were regular customers.
With a newfound interest in vegan fare, I began experimenting with the Nori Wrap recipe from Chef Priscilla Willis’ healthy cooking demonstration at the Hyatt Regency, Huntington Beach. Nori wraps may not be something you want to spring on your kids but it is definitely a delicious way to add veggies to a dinner of purchased sushi and some children, depending on what they’re used to eating, may actually like it wrapped in a tortilla (see below). Plus, during the holidays, eating lean and healthy during the week is an excellent way to try to avoid (or keep to a minimum) the average weight gain of 3-7 pounds.
First, I bought Nori Sheets and tofu at Ebisu Supermarket, a Japanese market in Fountain Valley. The rest of the ingredients I purchased at Trader Joe’s – I added enoki mushrooms because they’re cute and add texture and crunch and, instead of regular cucumbers, I tried Persian cucumbers which are smaller and sweeter with a thin skin. You can buy tofu at Trader Joes, but when I was at Ebisu I picked up some broiled tofu which, to me, has a more appealing appearance because of the browning on top. I had miso paste in my fridge, but that is another ingredient you would probably have to get at a health foods store or Asian market.
1 pkg. Firm Tofu, sliced into ½” strips
1 pkg. shredded carrots
2 cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
2 avocado, sliced
1 pkg. sliced mango
1 pkg. enoki mushrooms (optional)
1 pkgs. Nori Wrapper (roasted)
1 head Bibb (butter) lettuce
Miso Peanut Sauce:
1 T. Low-sodium White Miso
½ c. water
2 T. rice wine vinegar
1 ½ t. Splenda
3 T. creamy peanut butter
1 T. light soy sauce
Whisk all ingredients in a small saucepan, taste test, cook over med-low heat until warmed and slightly thickened. The Nori wraps are wonderful as an appetizer, which is how they were presented at the cooking demo.
OPTIONS: More kid-friendly and more filling – make it a wrap with tortillas (I used Sonoma low carb, high fiber tortillas – from Trader Joe’s) and add a scoop of brown rice to the filling.
Not into vegan? Add grilled chicken or salmon. Be creative, own it! : )