Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Spring is here! Smell ya later Old Man Winter. I’m so over you. I feel like everyone had a spring in their step today, the day was longer, and the city was a little happier. Didn’t you just feel like you had more time in your day? That being said, you probably want some quick weeknight meals so you can go out and enjoy what spring has to offer. I know I do.

garlic shrimp pasta ingredients

This is a fresh and light pasta that is packed with garlic-y, fresh lemon-y flavour with just a touch of heat. It’s a flavour combination that’s delicious and goes great on just about anything, especially shrimp. This dish is easy and fast to whip up, and perfect for lunch or weeknight supper.

Garlic Shrimp Pasta | Freshnessgf.com

People always ask if I cook every single night. Honestly, sometimes I go from making full on dinners to scraping together random meals out of whatever is in the fridge, to pulling out stuff from the freezer. Of course, there’s always a little take out in the rotation and the occasional grilled cheese sandwich.

Garlic Shrimp Pasta | Freshnessgf.com

I feel like a well-stocked pantry is your weeknight best friend. We usually have frozen shrimp in the freezer and lemon, parsley, dried pasta, and garlic on hand. So this is really a pantry meal that’s comforting, fresh, and fast. Like maybe if you had this stuff handy in your kitchen, you could whip this up after the gym or even a long day at the office. Happy spring y’all.

P.S. – To see what I’m cooking/eating, follow me on Instagram.

Garlic Shrimp Pasta | freshnessgf.com

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

This is a fresh and light pasta that is packed with garlic-y, fresh lemon-y flavour with just a touch of heat. It’s a flavour combination that’s delicious and goes great on just about anything, especially shrimp. This dish is easy and fast to whip up, and perfect for lunch or weeknight supper.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free, fast, fish & seafood, gluten-free, noodles, nut-free, pasta, rice & grains, soy-free, yeast-free
Servings: 2
Author: ness

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces dried gluten-free spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • zest of one lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 12 raw shrimp (peeled, de-veined and halved lengthwise)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (chopped)
  • Sea salt and black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package ingredients or until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan on medium heat. Add butter and oil. Once the butter is melted, add garlic, chili flakes and lemon zest and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add the shrimps and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimps just turn pink and are tender. Do not over cook. Remove pan from heat and add in pasta, lemon juice, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine and serve. Drizzle with additional olive oil if desired.
I like using brown rice gluten-free pasta. My hubby likes it a lot too and claims that it tastes just like 'normal' pasta. Bonus is that brown rice has more nutritional value than some other corn pastas or white rice pastas.
Recipe adapted from Donna Hay Fast, Fresh, Simple
Japchae (Gluten-Free Korean Glass Noodles)

Japchae (Gluten-Free Korean Glass Noodles)

Do you bring a bagged lunch or do you buy?  With my dietary restrictions, I almost always bring my lunch.  If I’m not prepared, I’ll end up buying ginger ale and a bag chips or popcorn for lunch at the convenient store in my office.  Not ideal.  In the summer, I prepared fresh salads the night before but now that the weather has cooled down, I prefer hot lunches.   To avoid cooking lunches every night (and dinner) I’ve been trying to make big batches on Sundays.  The tricky thing is, I’m not a huge fan of leftovers. So it has to be pretty tasty for me to eat it for a couple of days straight.

Jap Chae (Gluten Free Korean Glass Noodles)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Korean japchae (or chapchae) glass noodles are one of my fave dishes and super easy to prepare.  The beauty of these noodles is that the sauce, a combination of soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil gets tossed into the noodles after they’re done boiling and vegetables are sauteed.  Simple to prepare, super delicious, and healthy. Since my version is meatless, this dish is vegetarian and vegan.

Japchae (Gluten-Free Korean Glass Noodles)

Japchae is normally served as a side or as a main with beef slices in it.  I enjoyed my japchae lunch with grilled coriander lime chicken and sizeable portions of kimchi.   The glass noodles are made of sweet potato starch (aka sweet potato vermicelli) and are gluten-free.  You can find them in the dried noodle aisle at your Asian grocery store.   Since the noodles themselves are sweet and salty but not spicy, I like to add some heat with kimchi (spicy Korean pickled cabbage), chili sauce and/or Japanese chili peppers (nanami togarashi).  I ate this three days straight for lunch and loved every bite.

 

Japchae (Gluten-Free Korean Glass Noodles)

Korean japchae (or chapchae) glass noodles are one of my fave dishes and super easy to prepare. The beauty of these noodles is that the sauce, a combination of soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil gets tossed into the noodles after they're done boiling and vegetables are sauteed. Simple to prepare, super delicious, and healthy. Since my version is meatless, this dish is vegetarian and vegan.
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, pasta, rice & grains, vegetables
Author: ness

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 300 gram package Sweet Potato Starch vermicelli noodles (Dangmyun)
  • 1 bunch spinach (washed)
  • 1 medium carrot (cut into matchstick thin strips)
  • 1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 package mushrooms (thinly sliced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 7 green onions (finely sliced)
  • Gluten free Tamari sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Corn or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Black pepper
  • Sesame seeds (Japanese chili peppers (nanami togarashi) for garnish (optional))

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Boil package of noodles in boiling water in a large pot for 3 to 5 minutes, or until noodles are soft. Drain and put in a large bowl.
  • Cut the noodles several times with scissors. Mix together 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce and 1 tablespoon sesame oil and pour over noodles. Mix and set aside.
  • In a non-stick pan on medium heat, add 1 teaspoon canola oil and add onions. Stir until onions is translucent. Add carrots to onions and stir to cook for 1 minute or until carrots are soft. Add onions and carrots to bowl of noodles.
  • Return pan to heat. Add another 1 teaspoon of canola oil and add mushrooms. Stir and cook for a few minutes or until mushrooms are soft. Add to bowl of noodles. Return pan to heat. Add another 1/2 teaspoon of oil and add spinach. Cook until wilted. Add to bowl of noodles.
  • Return pan to heat. Add another ½ teaspoon of canola oil and add green onions and garlic. Stir and cook for 1 minute and add to bowl of noodles.
  • In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons sesame oil and 1 teaspoon pepper. Pour over noodles and vegetables and stir together. Garnish with sesame seeds and Japanese chili peppers if using. Serve with kimchi.
Nanami Togarashi is a blend of chili peppers, orange peel, black sesame seed, white sesame seed, Japanese pepper, ginger, seaweed. A delicious spice to add some heat to soups, stir fries, noodles, etc. Adapted from Maangchi
Five-Spice Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Five-Spice Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chinese New Year is this weekend and I’m new year prep mode.  Unlike its January 1st counterpart, which is basically about a countdown followed by new years resolutions, Chinese New Year feels so much more celebratory.  Typically, the weeks leading up to the new year involves cleaning and de-cluttering, so you can start the new year fresh.  By throwing out the trash or the bad luck, you make room for good luck to enter your life.

lettuce condiments

Every year, my grandma treats the whole family to dinner at a Chinese restaurant (at last count, that would be about 25 to 30 of us that live in town, including her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids).  It’s the one time of year that all the amazing cooks in my family don’t actually have to cook (and mess up the kitchen) and can relax and enjoy the festivities instead.

old fam pic

Classic Family Pic: Doesn’t my grandma look so young to have that many grandkids? Five grandkids are missing from the pic because they weren’t born yet. That’s my dad holding me in his lap on the far right.

After dinner, we all go to my parents house where the little ones get red envelopes with lucky money and then we start gambling. I have fond memories of all of us squishing around the table to play blackjack, which is the first card game we all learned to play.  My dad is usually the dealer, with his ‘family house rules’ and we have a great time heckling him.  And yes the eating continues here too. Usually fried shrimp chips, coffee, and clementines.  Savoury, caffeinated, and sweet.

asian chicken done

For this recipe, the five-spice powder gives the chicken a distinctly Asian flavour and isn’t actually hot spicy, more earthy and aromatic.  The heat factor comes from the Thai bird chilis in the marinade and the toppings.  Be careful, sometimes those little guys can be brutally spicy.  I always de-seed before adding to the marinade to give it some kick, without being too overpowering.

My nephew is totally the Golden Child in his Chinese New Year outfit. Look at those delicious cheeks!

My niece and my dog Pucci dressed up for Chinese New Year in 2012. Cuteness overload.

Honestly, this batch of chilis was so spicy, we picked them off the wraps after the photos were taken because they were melting our faces off (the ones in the marinade were perfect).  But if you like heat, go for it.  You can always leave them on the side and let your guests garnish as they please.

lettuce wraps rice noodles
lettuce wraps with chicken
lettuce wraps with carrots
asian lettuce wraps top view

This recipe for lettuce wraps is a hybrid of many different food loves: chili chicken, Peking duck (the second course), and Vietnamese cool rolls.  Over the holidays, I watched Jamie Oliver create something similar on TV, though he start plopping on raw tofu and lost me, but I loved his Asian fusion approach.  This would be a great meal to put out for a crowd and it’s fun and festive to eat no matter what time of year.  An Asian taco of sorts.  And like all tacos, make sure to have lots of napkins on hand.

Wishing everyone a New Year full of happiness, health, prosperity and lots of good luck. 

cousins with headpieces

Here’s a more recent pic of some of us hamming it up in headpieces my sister brought back from her trip to China. So cute!

PS – I used a julienne peeler to get those pretty shreds of carrot.

lettuce wraps on platter

Five-Spice Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This recipe for lettuce wraps is a hybrid of many different food loves: chili chicken, Peking duck (the second course), and Vietnamese cool rolls.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Asian
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: chicken, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, noodles, pasta, rice & grains, poultry, spicy, tacos
Servings: 4 as a main
Author: ness

INGREDIENTS

Five-Spice Chicken

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (trimmed of fat and cut into 1" pieces)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • 1 to 2 Thai bird chilis (de-seeded and finely minced)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro/coriander
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • canola oil for frying

Lettuce Wraps and Garnishes

  • 2 heads of iceberg lettuce
  • 2 stalks green onion (finely sliced)
  • 1 medium carrot (julienned)
  • 1/4 cucumber (cut into matchsticks)
  • Handful fresh cilantro/coriander leaves
  • 2 cups cooked rice noodles (cooked according to package instructions)
  • Gluten-free hoisin sauce
  • Sesame seeds (optional)
  • 2 to 3 Thai bird chilis (finely sliced (optional))

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for chicken except canola oil and stir to combine. Cover and marinate in fridge for 30 minutes up to 2 hours.
  • Prepare lettuce wraps. Carefully peel away leaves of lettuce from the head, trying not to tear the leaves, and trim excess ends with kitchen shears. Wash and dry lettuce leaves, and place on platter.
  • In large non-stick frying pan over medium high heat, add one tablespoon canola oil. Add half of the chicken to pan and let cook for 2 minutes or until browned. Flip chicken over and cook other side for another 2 minutes or until cooked through and no longer pink inside. Remove chicken and place on paper towel lined plate. Wipe any brown bits from pan with a clean paper towel and add pan back to heat. Add one tablespoon canola oil and cook remaining chicken.
  • Assemble wraps. Place about 1 to 2 ounces of rice noodles inside each lettuce wrap, followed by carrots, cucumber, and chicken. Add remaining garnishes and serve.
Viet-Lamb Vermicelli Salad (Bun)

Viet-Lamb Vermicelli Salad (Bun)

I still remember my first time trying bun. Not ‘bun’ like ‘hamburger bun’ or ‘buns of steel’ but ‘bun’ the Vietnamese dish made of vermicelli rice noodles, veggies, fresh herbs, and meat.  I remember swooning over the fresh ingredients, tasty chicken, and tangy/salty/sweet sauce.  It was a work trip to Edmonton, where my doppelganger cousin Mel and her Vietnamese hubby Paul had me over for dinner.  Always thoughtful, Paul and Mel knew I was craving some healthy home cooking – and ‘bun’ it was.  Paul’s a great cook from a family of great cooks (good going Mel) – I’ve tried bun in restaurants but it’s never as good as the homemade version.

veggies on board for bun

I’m no expert on Vietnamese food, but I do know this – it’s delicious and flavourful.  Vietnamese food is most commonly associated with pho – a clear beef broth with rice noodles, various cuts of beef or meat, and fresh herbs. Comforting and filling, yet light at the same time, these soupy noodles are normally served in pretty generous portions and are fairly inexpensive (I don’t do beef, so I get the seafood version instead).  At home, I find it easier to whip up bun over making pho stock.  My version is a slight twist on tradition though – I use a Vietnamese flavoured marinade on lamb steak instead of the usual chicken/pork/seafood.

vietlamb marinade ingredients

vietlamb marinade part 1
vietlamb marinade part 2

I marinated the lamb in a variation of a Vietnamese lamb rib recipe from a recent issue of Fine Cooking.  I modified the ingredients so they more intensely flavour the meat, and swapped for a lamb steak. The marinade can be whipped up in no time, especially if you have a mini chopper, and would also be great on chicken, steak, or pork.  And of course, you can always adjust the spice factor with the chili sauce.

vietlamb marinade part 1
Slicing lettuce shreds

 In restaurants, bun is normally served with a few shreds of lettuce, bean sprouts, carrots, and fresh herbs.  I like to up the veggie factor and make it more of a salad.  When slicing the carrots and cucumber into matchsticks, first cut into thin slices on the diagonal. Then stack a few slices and cut into matchsticks. PS – They had purple carrots at the farmers market.  So rad.

three squeezed limes

The guac nom sauce is crucial for adding flavour – it’s a perfectly balanced blend of tart (lime), sweet (sugar), salt (fish sauce), and spice (garlic/chili).  You just pour it over the veggies, noodles, and meat and dig in.

guac nom w jalapenos

In terms of plating, I squished everything into a bowl here but the bowls were a bit too small.  Now when I make this dish, I prefer using a plate which means no pre-cutting the steak. Any way you slice or serve it, this version of bun is healthy, delicious and perfect for hot summer days. (PS – I don’t claim that this is authentic Vietnamese, just yummy).

vermicelli in bowl for bun
bun with veggies for bun

VIET-LAMB VERMICELLI SALAD (BUN)

I modified the ingredients so they more intensely flavour the meat, and swapped for a lamb steak. The marinade can be whipped up in no time, especially if you have a mini chopper, and would also be great on chicken, steak, or pork. And of course, you can always adjust the spice factor with the chili sauce.
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: Asian
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, lamb, meat, noodles, nut-free, pasta, rice & grains, sauces & dips, spicy
Servings: 2
Author: ness

INGREDIENTS

Lamb

  • 1/3 cup shallot
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp GF soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil (plus more for cooking)
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chili sauce or Sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 lamb steaks (about 3/4" thick)

Guac Nom Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp chili (optional)

Bun

  • 2 cups cooked vermicelli noodles (prepare according to package instructions)
  • 1/2 cup carrot (cut into matchsticks)
  • 1/2 cup cucumber (cut into matchsticks)
  • 1 cup romaine lettuce (shredded)
  • 1/2 cup radish (thinly sliced)
  • 2 sprigs green onion (finely sliced)
  • 1/4 coriander leaves
  • 2 Tbsp mint leaves
  • Chili sauce or sriracha sauce (optional)
  • Hoisin sauce (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Lamb

  • To make marinade, puree all ingredients except lamb to create a paste. Add marinade and lamb to a container just big enough for the lamb or large zip top bag. Make sure lamb is fully coated with the marinade and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours up to overnight.
  • Remove lamb from fridge about 10 minutes before ready to cook. Add 2 teaspoons of canola oil to a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Remove excess marinade from the lamb and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Lower heat to medium and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest in the pan for 5 minutes until ready to serve.

Guac Nom Sauce

  • Combine all the ingredients and set aside until ready to serve.

Bun

  • Place vermicelli in a bowl and arrange half the carrots, cucumber, radishes, and lettuce on top of the noodles. Add sliced lamb and garnish with green onion, coriander and mint. Serve with guac nom sauce - spoon over noodles, rice and vegetables.
Singapore Noodles

Singapore Noodles

Singapore noodles are spicy rice noodles stir-fried with curry powder and veggies.  But I heard they don’t actually have Singapore noodles in Singapore?  I guess it’s like how in China, they don’t call it ‘Chinese food’, just ‘food’?  Have you been to Singapore and had these noodles?

It’s a spicy, simple, easy to make weeknight supper, and considering my family is Hakka Chinese from India, these flavours definitely suit my taste buds.  You can find it on the menu at most Chinese restaurants, but with this recipe, you can make them at home instead – that way you can control the spiciness.

veg for singapore noodles
prepped veg singapore noodles

Chopping the veggies and chicken is the most time-consuming part of making this whole dish – the cooking time is actually pretty fast.  If you plan to make this on a weeknight, prep the veg and chicken the night before and put everything in the fridge.  That way when you get home, you can just toss everything in the wok and eat in no time.  Oh, and you can add bean sprouts too – they just need a rinse.  No chopping = saving time.  They didn’t look so fresh when I was shopping so I passed on them.

vermacelli soaking

The noodles don’t take too long to soften (use hot or boiling water to speed up the process).

cooked chicken on plate

Coating the raw chicken in some GF tamari soy sauce and cornstarch is a Chinese technique to give the meat a more velvety texture and more flavour.  It’s called velveting the meat and you can read more about it here.  As for the vermicelli noodles, you can find them in the Asian aisle of your grocery store.  In the Asian supermarkets, there are whole aisles dedicated to the different varieties of noodles, which can be overwhelming.  Don’t stress out – anything that says ‘rice stick’ or ‘vermicelli’ will work.

onions in wok cooking
veg in wok for noodles
noodles in wok singapore
vermacelli pkg
singapore noodles finished large

Singapore Noodles (Gluten Free)

It's a spicy, simple, easy to make weeknight supper, and considering my family is Hakka Chinese from India, these flavours definitely suit my taste buds. You can find it on the menu at most Chinese restaurants, but with this recipe, you can make them at home instead - that way you can control the spiciness.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: dairy-free, egg-free, fast, gluten-free, noodles, nut-free, pasta, rice & grains, poultry, spicy, yeast-free
Servings: 4
Author: ness

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 oz dried vermicelli rice sticks
  • 4 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 organic chicken breasts (thinly sliced across the grain and cut into thin slices)
  • 1 tsp plus 2 Tbsp GF tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 2-3 carrots (cut into 3" matchsticks)
  • 2 celery stalks (cut into 3" matchsticks)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 stalks green onion (thinly sliced)
  • salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Soak vermicelli in warm water for 10 minutes in hot water, until softened but not mushy. In a medium bowl, mix the chicken with 1 teaspoon soy sauce and cornstarch and mix until chicken is evenly coated. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large wok on medium-high heat and add half the chicken. Stirfry the chicken until just cooked, about 3-4 minutes. Remove chicken from wok and repeat with remaining chicken.
  • Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to wok and add onions; cook for 2 - 3 minutes until softened. Add carrots, celery and peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add drained vermicelli noodles, curry powder, chili powder, turmeric, remaining 2 tablepoons soy sauce, and fish sauce. Toss until well combined - the noodles should be evenly yellow coloured and a bit powdery. Add back the chicken, green onions and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve.

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