Classic Chinese noodle dish with half the sodium (and more than twice the fiber!)

By: Carolyn Malcoun  |  Friday, March 25, 2011
One thing I love about working in the EatingWell Test Kitchen is that we can make just about any recipe healthier. Even though Asian food in general has a healthier halo (often lean meat or fish and lots of vegetables cooked with little fat, over rice or noodles), it’s easy to end up with a plate piled with chunks of fried meat drowning in a sauce sweeter than fake maple syrup over a pile of white rice.
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Take, for instance, one of my favorite Chinese recipes—Dan Dan Noodles. I first tasted this Sichuan dish of ground pork and noodles in a spicy broth at P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, a popular Asian restaurant chain. It seemed healthy when I dug in, and when you look at P.F. Chang’s nutrition analysis, things start off all right: 270 calories and 7 grams of fat (1 gram saturated) per serving—this is, of course, only if I ate 1 of the 4 servings that came to my table as a single order. But the next 2 numbers were what bothered me: 1 gram of fiber and 1,388 milligrams of sodium. One serving has 60% of my recommended intake of sodium for the day!
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I knew we in the EatingWell Test Kitchen could do better, and one of our recipe developers, Carolyn Casner, came through. Our version has a few more calories and grams of fat, but we were able to up the fiber to 6 grams and slash the sodium down to 633 mg per serving. (Plus it only takes 30 minutes to prepare.) Now that’s a dish I felt better about digging into!
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