This space has been quiet lately.
At the beginning of March, I got some news. Not the good kind of news, but the kind that stops you in your tracks in the middle of an otherwise innocuous Friday, that warps its tendrils of grief around your heart, wakes you up in the middle of the night, and puts a cloud over everything you used to enjoy.
So I haven’t been cooking. At all. And it’s been weird. In the past, when I’ve dealt with heartbreak or stress, cooking is one of the first things I do to make myself feel better. I love working with food, I love feeding others, I love feeding myself! But this time it was different. I didn’t want to be in the kitchen, I had no interest in cooking for myself, I even lost interest in eating (gasp!). So I took a break.
I focused on work, I went to Japan (highlights coming soon!), and I didn’t put any pressure on myself to cook anything, or write any posts.
But sometimes when you’re feeling down, you need to give yourself a push to get back into the things that make you happy. I was inspired by Pinch of Yum’s Feeding a Broken Heart series, where Lindsay cooked up a bunch of swoon-worthy comfort food recipes that are perfect for feeding the broken hearts around you. (If you need a good cry, read some of Lindsay’s beautiful essays on dealing with the loss of her sweet son Afton – start here and get the kleenex ready).
I’m all about comfort food. But when I need to make myself feel better from the inside out, (and when I’ve spent the last two months on the couch eating gummies), I turn to nutritious, wholesome recipes that are bright and colourful and packed with nutrients.
Like this sweet potato and asparagus ‘pasta’! Sweet potato and asparagus noodles, pesto, peas, and lentils. It’s bright in both colour and flavour, super healthy, and cooking it makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself – that whole self care thing.
This recipe is also super easy to make. Perfect for those days when you know you should be cooking something, but just don’t wanna. The sweet potatoes are lightly cooked with garlic and pepper flakes, and tossed with asparagus noodles (raw). It’s crunchy, packed with flavour, perfect for spring.
I’m going to be easing back in over the next few weeks, posting recipes that make my belly and my heart happy. Hope you enjoy!
1 sweet potato
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
large pinch red pepper flakes (or more if you want more heat)
1 bunch asparagus, washed
1 cup peas
2-3 tbsp water
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp tamari
1 cup green or brown lentils
1/4 cup pesto (use whatever kind you like; I usually make my own so it’s nut-free)
crumbed feta cheese, if that’s your thing
Peel the sweet potato and spiralize into noodles. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add garlic. Cook a minute or two, until fragrant, then add sweet potato noodles. Season with salt and red pepper flakes. Throw in peas.
Meanwhile, cut the heads off the asparagus and add to the skillet. Set asparagus stalks aside. Add water to the skillet, cover, and cook until sweet potato noodles are just al dente.
Next, cook the lentils. Rinse them well and pick through for tiny stones. Put the lentils in a small pot and add 3 cups water, tamari, and apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until water is absorbed.
While the noodles cook, use a vegetable peeler to peel asparagus stalks into long ‘noodles’.
When the sweet potato noodles are ready, remove toss with asparagus noodles and lentils. Add pesto and top with crumbled feta cheese.