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

By Carolyn Malcoun, March 25, 2011 - 12:47pm

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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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TAGS: Carolyn Malcoun, Food Blog, Dinner, Recipe Makeover

Carolyn Malcoun
A graduate of New England Culinary Institute and University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism, Carolyn pairs her long-standing love for food with writing as EatingWell's senior food editor. Carolyn’s culinary interest is rooted in her childhood; she grew up making thousands of Christmas cookies every year with her mom and picking leaves off bunches of parsley to make tabbouleh with her dad. Away from the kitchen, Carolyn enjoys seeking out rare craft beers and exploring the outdoors with her husband, 2-year-old daughter and dog.

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