Spicy Sesame Vegetables


If I had to choose the foods I have grown to love with complete abandon, it would be vegetables. Crunchy and cold as a snack, sautéed or roasted warm but still holding a bite, puréed and served as comforting soup, even steamed and masquerading as spaghetti with my Mom’s homemade tomato gravy, vegetables make my day. Essentially, as championed in song and story, I embrace vegetables Truly. Madly. Deeply.*

Of course, any food, even a favorite food, gets boring really quickly if eaten the same way every time. Part of my puzzling over food is to address that issue, and to make it easier for me to stick to healthy habits.

The above-pictured veggies are part of breakfast on this chilly New England Winter morning, served with a gently fried egg for a filling start to my day. I love the smell of garlic and red pepper flakes cooking in a little oil, and in this case opted for sesame oil and its warm nuttiness.

This dish puts together well, and would make a great side for chicken or fish, tossed with pasta, in a pita half with slices of cheese or, as I did today, topped with an egg.

In the nutrition information below, you’ll see how the fat levels are high, despite the minimal amount used (the unfortunate trade-off for omega 3s and 6s) as well as the sodium levels. If you prefer or need to reduce the use of these ingredients, swap in water for most or all of the cooking oil, exchange another teaspoon of onion powder for the 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and you’ll still have a very tasty dish!

Spicy Sesame Vegetables
Copyright 2015 Lauren Bradford (aka The Food Puzzler)

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yield: 2 large or 4 side servings


1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon water*
1 teaspoon veg oil
2 cloves sliced garlic
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes*
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 zucchini, diced
1 summer squash, diced
1 cup shredded carrots
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted


1. Add the oils/water, garlic and red pepper flakes to a medium-sized frying pan and warm on medium heat, stirring continuously to keep the garlic from burning.

2. After you start smelling the lovely fragrance, about three minutes in, add the remaining seasonings and stir to combine.

3. Add in the veggies and toss to coat. Turn up the heat and cook for three minutes on high, which helps brighten the colors and soften the texture of the veggies.

4. In a small frying pan, with no added oil, place the 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and toast on low heat until lightly golden. This should take a few minutes, so toss as you toast to keep them from scorching.

To serve, arrange the vegetables on a plate and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.


~ The song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQnAxOQxQIU&sns=em
The story: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103129/

~ If you serve this dish right away, you won’t taste much heat from that amount of red pepper, but if you make it to serve later, the heat gets pretty intense. I like that much heat, but if you don’t, 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes still gives lovely flavor.

~ I like to add a little water to oil when cooking garlic, as it helps keep the garlic from burning, and also releases the water-soluble flavors present in the garlic.



387 calories
25 grams carbs (8 grams fiber)
16 grams fat (22% of your RDA)
2 grams Saturated
7 grams Monounsaturated
9 grams Polyunsaturated
Protein 6 grams
Sodium 1,162 mg (48%)
Potassium 1,026 mg (28%)
Omega 3 fatty acids 40.5 mg
Omega 6 fatty acids 5576 mg
Vitamin A 21,383 IU (428%)
Vitamin C 113%
Vitamin B-6 35%


193.5 calories
12.5 grams carbs (4 grams fiber)
15 grams fat (11% of your RDA)
1 grams Saturated
3.5 grams Monounsaturated
4.5 grams Polyunsaturated
Protein 3 grams
Sodium 581 mg (24%)
Potassium 513 mg (14%)
Omega 3 fatty acids 20.25 mg
Omega 6 fatty acids 2,788 mg
Vitamin A 10,691.5 IU (214%)
Vitamin C 56.5%
Vitamin B-6 17.5%


96.75 calories
6.25 grams carbs (2 grams fiber)
7.5 grams fat (5.5% of your RDA)
0.5 grams Saturated
1.75 grams Monounsaturated
2.25 grams Polyunsaturated
Protein 1.5 grams
Sodium 290.5 mg (12%)
Potassium 256.5 mg (7%)
Omega 3 fatty acids 10 mg
Omega 6 fatty acids 1,394 mg
Vitamin A 5,345.75 IU (107%)
Vitamin C 28.25%
Vitamin B-6 8.75%

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