Our daughter is growing faster than I can comprehend inside me, and at 5 months pregnant, each day brings new challenges and a new, foreign body that seems to morph constantly though I still just look like I ate a big sandwich! As my husband knows well, my pregnancy diet has veered far off course from my initial aspirations. I’ve under estimated this physical process in so many ways—how rigorous it would be for my body (more on that one in my upcoming post on traveling pregnant), how insistent the cravings & aversions would be, how exhausted & relatively fragile it would render me. That said, I put my cravings on the shelf for at least one meal a day and make sure to take in something nutritionally rich whether it’s this pasta or plenty of green juice and oatmeal. So, as promised, here’s the recipe for one such go-to healthy dish that I made as my lightening fast main for the dinner party I threw together in an hour in the previous post.
I particularly like this pasta because not only is it a one bowl meal, it happens to be vegan & gluten free which means it’s safe for virtually any dietary restriction that might walk through your door, yet my father, a southern man with a strong aversion to the mere idea of vegan food, loved it. So everyone wins. On top of that, it’s a go-to recipe for me during pregnancy due to the high nutritional content of buckwheat, chickpeas, and spinach. It has loads of the ever essential folate, dietary fiber, protein + essential amino acids, iron, and myriad other vitamins and minerals. Whole grains, leafy greens, pulses (chickpeas, dried beans & peas, lentils), and tons of flavor. A win.
Between travel and cravings, it’s all a bit hard to manage. My breakfast today consisted of a ham & bread roll (and a half…) from a bakery in the Tokyo train station, a warm & sugary coffee from a vending machine, and two bites of a sesame donut as we rushed to catch the Shinkansen. But my philosophy is that every good decision counts, and the indulgences & make shift meals won’t kill you or your baby. The important thing is to take those prenatal vitamins and try your best to not overeat whatever it is you’re eating & get at least a bit of exercise frequently (I just walk a lot), and to, even more importantly, relax into whatever your pregnancy brings and go easy on yourself. You’ll lose the weight, and if you’re too tired and sore to exercise give yourself a break. I certainly do. But when you can manage about 20 minutes of cooking, eat this. Your body will thank you (pregnant or not!)
Also, we have a spare bed open for our very last available retreat of the year on the island of Formentera, Spain. Clear blue sea, white sand beaches, yoga, photography, and tapas & wine. You can reserve the spot here.
PS. Want to follow along with our travels in Japan this month? Find our moments on instagram & a real time behind the scenes (like what’s in my bag & how we failed at the Japanese washing machine) on Snapchat, username : localmilk
soba noodles + chickpeas & spinach with tahini miso sauce (vegan + gluten free)
- 1 8 oz. pack 100% buckwheat soba noodles (Eden Organics makes a 100% type)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 5 scallions, sliced thin, white and light green parts
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 5 oz. baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves (about a handful)
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ponzu and soy sauce to taste
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- pinch of cayenne
- 1.5 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- 1 teaspoon ponzu
- 1/2 teaspoon tamari (soy sauce)
- 1/3 cup water
- Boil the noodles according to the instruction on the packet. Drain and set aside when done.
- Meanwhile, make your dressing. Combine the tahini, sesame oil, miso paste, mustard and cayenne in a bowl. Whisk in the lemon juice, mirin, ponzu, tamari, and water until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large sklllet heat a splash of sesame oil until shimmering. Add garlic and ginger and sautee just until fragrant and softened, 5 minutes. Reduce heat to prevent browning if needed.
- Add the spinach and parsley to the skillet and sautee until just wilted, about one minute. Toss in the chickpeas, soba, and sauce. Toss well to coat and warm everything through really well. Season to taste with ponzu, salt, and tamari. If reheating, bring back to life with a splash of water in the pan.
- Transfer to a bowl, top with scallions, and serve either warm or at room temperature.