The panic started to set in on day two.

Because twenty four hours without exercise is reasonable.  Recommended, even, at least once a week for those of us who have a tendency to hit the gym as if our lives (and certainly our waist circumference) depend on it.

But forty eight?  That’s just a bad week.

Seventy two is uncalled for.

Ninety six is. well.  Strange and unusual and thoroughly unprecedented.  Would my muscle cells revolt from lack of use?  Would my adipocytes start doing keg stands in a fit of sheer exuberance?  And most importantly, would my brain shut down from all the lack-of-exercise-induced anxiety that was sure to be thrust upon it?

It was anyone’s guess.


Truly, though I had a fabulous time at BlogHer Food and got to know some fabulous bloggers in a real life kinda way, it was also all of my worst fears combined.

No exercise.  An overabundance of food, none of which I had any control over.  And while I like to think I’ve got this eating-disorder-recovered thing under control 99.9% of the time…this was for real my worst nightmare.  And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it gave me pause to fly 3,000 miles across the country to submit myself to such anguish.

But it’s true what they say.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  So I went.

And while there were moments of “ohmygod I’m going to come back to new york at least thirty pounds heavier” ridiculousness.  I just tried to tell myself not to sweat it.  To make the best possible food choices (which obviously meant eating the most glorious buttery grilled cheese at Etta’s) and move on.

To let go and have fun and just. Live.

So I did.  It was liberating.

And the fallout, when with bated breath I stepped on the scale yesterday?  Zilch.  Exactly the same as when I’d left.

It’s amazing the tricks your mind can play.  But even more, it’s amazing how unfounded they can be.

So while I learned a lot at BlogHer Food about SEO and social media and cookbook photography.  I also learned a lot about myself.  My strength. My ability to overcome my own wayward thoughts.  And for that alone it was worth going.

When I left I was under the impression I was going to have to come home and immediately start detoxing.  But all I really wanted was pasta.  And green. Lots of green.  This dish most certainly did the trick.  It pairs pesto with Asian flavors – cilantro, nori, tofu, and soy sauce – and lots of veggies (asparagus! sugar snaps!) so that you get that comfort food feel while still feeling good about eating a whole bowl of it.  Seriously. Love.


Coriander and Nori Pesto Soba with Wok Seared Greens
Serves 4, adapted from Veggie Num Num


  • 3 grams nori
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 20 g pickled ginger
  • 7 oz firm tofu, broken into small-ish pieces
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp wasabi
  • 10 oz soba noodles
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 lb sugar snap peas
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds


  1. For the pesto, soak the nori in a little bit of water until soft.  Roughly chop the cilantro and add it to a food processor along with the pickled ginger and tofu.  In a small bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup and wasabi.  Process the tofu mixture and gradually add in the oil mixture so that it forms a smooth sauce.  Season to taste with wasabi and soy sauce.
  2. Cook the soba noodles in salted, boiling water until al dente.  Strain and set aside.
  3. Heat a nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  Spray with cooking spray.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots, asparagus, sugar snaps and sesame seeds.  Toss until veggies are cooked to desired consistency.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the soba noodles with the veggies and pesto.  Season to taste with soy sauce and wasabi.

I am submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights which is being hosted this week by Elizabeth of The Law Students Cookbook.

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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87 Responses to Coriander and Nori Pesto Soba with Wok Seared Greens {}

  1. SO SO proud of you! And now I want this pasta too!

  2. Sounds like conference was a success! I’ve had similar worries when I go for a stretch without exercising and/or am attending events where I’m eating more than usual… But, a few days generally don’t make a huge difference in the end! As long as you get back on track with routine, like you have with this yummy looking dish :), it’s all good!!

  3. london bakes says:

    Oh I so know how you feel and I’m really glad that it went well. I was following the tweets from the conference and it sounded really inspiring.

  4. Just discovered your lovely blog. Glad you enjoyed BlogHer Food—I’ve missed going the past few years. I love the brilliant flavors in this pasta dish!

  5. Saguna says:

    Nori pesto- most definitely a brilliant idea! Awesome detox recipe and so gorgeously green and pasta-friendly. Trying to eat well while travelling IS tough- last summer I had quite a few experiences involving gigantic meant-to-be-shared-but-not ice cream sundaes with family and grilled cheese sandwiches as well. Fun, but so hard to stay on a budget and be healthy, the two primary reasons I love to cook!

  6. Sam says:

    I think this recipe is what the last of the sugar snap peas in my fridge want to be. I love soba noodles covered in green sauce!

  7. Way to go, Joanne! I must admit that the same cannot be said of my adventures in Colombia. I figured my 5-day jungle hike would counteract my new obsession with trying all the new fruits and eating more fried veggies and rice than ever before, but sadly not. I was also craving a nice big salad when I came back… although it took me a few days to make it to the grocery store. Healthy, comforting soups held me over until then which was best because travellers’ diarrhea ain’t fun either. 😛

  8. Faith says:

    So glad you had an amazing time at BlogHer!! And definitely awesome about the zilch weight gain…our minds definitely play tricks on us! (I so don’t think that happens to men, lol.)

  9. Maureen says:

    What an inspiring post. Terrific that you went and had such a good time.

  10. daphne says:

    totally understand where u r at with no exercise for a few days! More veges!!! ):) loving the pesto- how about with some zucchini noodles.

  11. I have been on an exercise hiatis! It’s horrible. I come from work everyday and put on my workout clothes and than nothing happens. I have pushed myself for over two years, overdoing exercise and now I hate to say this, but it has been a month since I did anything. I’m eating better, but I feel just horrible about myself. This week I started slow back on the exercise train. I started to walk more do a little kickboxing and today hell or high water I’m going to do strength trianing. It was hard at foirst to stop, but than it felt great not to have the pressure on me and rush through things so I can sqeeze in exercise. But now the bad feeling has hot so I can’t let this happen so I vowed this week to make my exercise goal and I plan on doing it.

    Your pesto dish looks amazing! Ijust love pesto and you picked some wonderful veggies to go with it.

    Have a great week!

  12. Margarita says:

    I get those obsessions too and during big city travels would sneak in long walks at dawn and yoga classes. The long walks would be disguised as, “I just don’t wanna waste my time sleeping when I’m in a new city”, but truth is, it is the obsession of having to exercise, because crazy guilt feelings arise if I don’t. Love this pasta, and just inspired me to make something with some of the ingredients that I already have.

  13. Amy says:

    Every time I go out of town, I promise myself that I’m going to stick to the daily exercise routine (why not, right?…that’s the benefit of walking/running…you can do it anywhere), but I never do. Bet your body needed the break, anyway. Also bet it feels good to be home…

  14. kelsey says:

    Just when I think I couldn’t possible love you anymore I do.

    When your in recovery food + no exercise is seriously the worse possible thing you could ever imagine. Just when you think you’ve got this whole ED thing under control the second your routine changes to all eating and no exercising all hell breaks lose (or at least that’s what happens to me). I’m SO proud of you for just relaxing and enjoying the conference and the food and not letting the silly ED make your life hell for a few days. <3 you!

  15. Marcia says:

    I just love green + pasta. And cilantro-Asian style is the bomb.

  16. Ranjani says:

    Yum – I love all the ingredients in that pesto! So creative

  17. Oh man, I am on day three of no exercise due to an injury and it making me a bit mad! Kudos to you for getting through it, being ok in the end, and making some delicious food!

  18. This pesto sounds amazing – so, so creative!

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Quick question, did you use sugar snaps or snow peas or both? In the pic it looks like snow peas.

  20. Danielle says:

    This sounds like a great and healthier alternative to a big bowl of pasta. We love soba noodles I bet this tastes great!

  21. I can relate. I panic when I don’t get to workout too for several days, but I’m trying to be better and just relax. Pasta (comfort food) + greens and Asian flavors sound great!

  22. Jenna says:

    Glad to hear your fears were unfounded! Fears . . . well, they usually are.
    I’ve been working on not even going there, and not wasting an ounce of emotional energy on worrying. It’s a battle, but an absolutely worthwhile one!

  23. Shannon says:

    what a great post! i actually have alot of those same feelings, but still have trouble staying strong in situations like this. work in progress! and now i’m ready for lunch, thanks to looking at this 🙂

  24. marie says:

    Wow, this recipe looks great, the perfect healthy dish after vacation. I always gain weight on vacation, it doesn’t even shock me anymore. I get right back on track when I get home and lose it within a week thank goodness.

  25. I love all the green in this! I always crave green and vegetable heavy dishes after I’ve been away from home. And, this pesto sounds fantastic. Must try!

  26. Glad to know that you have learned so much from BlogHer Food. Like you, I cook lots of green after returning my recent vacation. I miss them so much. Your Asian flavoured pesto sounds so delicious!!

  27. That Girl says:

    I’ve been getting antsy over lack of exercise too. I’m trying to squeeze it in where I an which id far less often than ever before.

  28. Hannah says:

    Cilantro is not a legal ingredient in my kitchen, but nori pesto? Now that’s a concept I can get behind. It just might be supplemented with parsley instead. 😉

  29. polwig says:

    Yeah Congratulations !!! I am so glad you had fun and got yourself under control by loosing some of it 😉 Just wait till you have kids I have not been to the gym or raised my heart rate in over 3 months I miss it, soon though.

  30. Erica says:

    Glad you did it and had a great time!

  31. Glad you had fun. One of these days (money pending) I would love to go to a giant blogger conference and finally meet all these food bloggers.
    Did you see how skinnyKevin was? Don’t you hate him? LOL All that food and he’s soooo skinny.
    When I messed up my knee a few months ago I could not walk for a while and the cabin fever was the worst, way worse than winter cabin fever I get stuck on this island.

  32. Cathleen says:

    I’m glad you had fun! And you achieved something that I could never do: after going away not gaining a pound. I can’t say that has ever happened to me..
    This looks SO good. A perfect return meal! I love it!

  33. Cara says:

    This might just be the most incredible sounding pesto ever! So glad you had a great time at BlogHer – wish I could have been there!

  34. I still have lots of nori in the pantry…must give this pesto a try.

  35. Lynn says:

    I’m glad you had a good time there and that there was no major fallout. That’s some good looking pasta right there.

  36. You remind me so much of myself in this post. I have such a fear of being unable to exercise and having no control over my food. My worst nightmare is breaking a limb and being unable to exercise for weeks/months. Glad to know i’m not the only one. I also sometimes think it’s OK to just relax, indulge, and realise the world won’t end – I do it when I’m on holiday! It’s good for you and I’m glad you did it. Well done.

  37. Camila Faria says:

    Sometimes a week (yes, I said a week) without exercise is necessary. But also dangerous, I must say! 🙂 Beautiful pasta dish!

  38. I enjoyed meeting you at BlogHer Food, Joanne! This recipe sounds delicious, and the photography is definitely drool-worthy. 🙂

  39. Sounds like you made it through unscathed – nice. And how much fun I bet you had…one day… Beautiful dish!

  40. Natalie says:

    proud of you–this sounds like a great weekend, more for the personal lessons than anything else (and ugh wish i’d been there to meet you…AND to eat at Etta’s, love that place! next time try serious pie!!)

  41. Pam says:

    Are you going to share some of what your learned with those of us who weren’t able to go??? Please!

  42. Beth says:

    It sounds like it was a cathartic experience for you. Congratulations for having a great time, and for learning something about yourself!

  43. Reeni says:

    The sauce is so unique! Its hard to feel bad about eating pasta when all those good things are wrapped around it! I’m glad you had a great time and all turned out ok in the end!

  44. I can relate to the fear of recently stepping on the scale after a food binge and exercise hiatus – only mine followed two weeks of gorging myself in Europe. Doh. A dish like this could definitely help me get on track!

  45. Nina says:

    You wrote whats been running in mind…lol what a coincidence:) I have no control over food and have not been able to hit the gym…oh all the fat…huh!!!

    The sauce is very different,looks great:)

  46. So happy you had such a good time, Joanne! 🙂 I love the comforting feel of this dish, and all those lovely greens. 🙂

  47. Chris says:

    I didn’t go to Blogher and I gained the same amount of weight. It’s that pesky “conservation of matter” issue 😉

  48. Hotly Spiced says:

    Last year I was invited to stay with friends at their house for four nights. The wife is a great cook but she cooks very heavy food and there is never a vegetable in sight; it’s all carbs and meat. I was feeling so ill by the third day and when I got home it took me about a week to feel right again. I’m glad you faired better. Your pasta looks very good – lots of green! xx

  49. Natalie says:

    Glad to hear you had a good time in Seattle! This pesto looks amazing – I love all the green goodness in that bowl and that the pesto has nori in it .. so unique!

  50. Katie says:

    What a treat to attend the conference! Totally worth the days without exercise, I’m sure. Those things are good for our bodies in a totally different way. This seems like a great dish to come back to too.

  51. Carolyn Jung says:

    It must be soba noodle week! I made it tonight. Another blogger friend I know also made it this week. Great minds — and stomachs — think alike. 😉

  52. wow that looks so delicious! i love soba noodles — gluten free and fabulous! thanks for sharing! gorgeous pics too!

  53. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, Good for you! You enjoyed and didn’t gain. I am happy for you. This dish sounds real healthy and delicious. I am sure it satisfied you want for greens and spaghetti. Blessings dearest. Catherine xo

  54. Kari says:

    I’m glad you managed to turn what could have been a horrible experience into one that sounds like quite the opposite. Thanks for being open about the hard bits too! And this dish sounds lovely, I would happily eat a bowl right now if I could pull it through the screen.

  55. Guru Uru says:

    You are always so positive my friend, I love how life turns out that way for you too 😀
    I am in love with this dish by the way, so healthy yet delicious!

    Choc Chip Uru

  56. What an amazing experience, not only from a blogging perspective but for life itself 🙂

  57. Rachana says:

    Such a creative pasta ! Looks absolutely fantastic!

  58. Barbara says:

    I always feel that way when I go on vacation…I’m going to miss my workouts. I go with good intentions, even to the point of taking a stretch band with me, but end up not using it. One thing I do though, is walk each day. A lot. The muscles still hurt once I get back and into my routine again, but mentally, the vacation has done so much good, it outweighs the lack of exercise.
    Agree green dinners and green salads help to get you back to normal. Looks good, Joanne!

  59. Your recipe sounds delicious! I love coriander, one of my favourite herbs. I actually had a LOT of coriander in a dish I made tonight. 😀

  60. Love the flavors in this! Looks delicious, but if I were using chopsticks I’d be starving! Sounds like a great trip.

  61. Ben says:

    OMG that’s exactly how I feel if I miss going to the gym one, two, and godforbid three days in a row… but you can’t gain 10 lbs in a day, I hate when my mind play tricks on me. Glad to hear you had a great time at the conference and didn’t gain an ounce. I’ve noticed that with so much exercising we can eat more and still be hot! hehe. Thank you for the bday wishes my friend!

  62. Pam says:

    I am so glad you had fun AND didn’t gain the weight you feared you did. The pasta looks healthy and comforting!

  63. Funny, I had anxiety about the conference for completely different reasons! This dish looks wonderful, by the way. I absolutely adore cilantro, and pretty much anything made with cilantro!

  64. Blond Duck says:

    I couldn’t have done it. I would have found a gym.

  65. Jay says:

    absolutely tempting recipe..nice presentation
    Tasty Appetite

  66. Great story, stunning photos… total package blog post


  67. Geni says:

    I always lover your honesty Joanne. It’s why I’m a tried and true fan. So glad you had such a great time and overcame your fears. What a fabulous looking dish of pasta and veggies. Totally stunning. I would eat that whole bowl in a heartbeat and then ask for more.

  68. Jenn Kendall says:

    beautiful dish – i’m loving how that pesto clings to the soba noodles. sounds absolutely delicious!

  69. I have some soba noodles calling my name and this pesto just spunds divine. What a nice way to get seeweed (nori) into the diet! Love it.

  70. Claudia says:

    I like that pesto with an Asian twang to it on those soba noodles, that I’m going to have to dig out of storage. Immediately.

  71. tigerfish says:

    I think I have experienced 48 days without exercise in the past and it happened many times! Awwww….*guilt-stricken*

    Love your dish, the pesto, the soba, the wok seared greens, everything!

  72. I love that you brought up the exercise because my doctor wouldn’t let me work out for 48 hrs after I got my wisdom teeth pulled. Insanity right?! Well at least I have this pesto soba to make it all better 🙂

  73. Nori pesto! HMM! Very impressive and so creative! I love how non-Japanese make food using Japanese ingredients because it’s always out of traditional box and something we never thought of. You know, in my mind Nori should be used this and that… that gets boring. I love this idea and I’m going to make it myself!!! What a fun recipe. And about exercise, I think you will roll your eyes if I said I have been too busy that I stopped exercise for the past 3 weeks. :-O

  74. Debbie says:

    What we fear usually never comes to pass. Anxiety and I know each other well!!! Glad you had a great time…..

  75. Ruth Daniels says:

    Years ago I went to a BlogHer conference and it was awesome… and overwhelming…but worth the trip! As for your pasta, it’s exceptional! But then I expect no less 😉 Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Night

  76. Johanna GGG says:

    oooh nori in pesto sounds interesting – and your blogher experience sounds great too – lots of good food and coming home to pasta and greens is exactly my sort of thing!

  77. Nicole, RD says:

    Ahh! Good for you! I gained 3 lbs AND I went on an 8 mile hike up Mount Si that had me waddling for the 3 days after! Please tell me you had the mac and cheese and Beechers!

  78. You are awesome – I love this post and that you went back to NYC stronger! This pesto is on my to make list – these are my favorite flavors!!

  79. What a wonderful way to eat your greens! Always looking for new ways to make these and to get my family on board. I think the girls will love them, especially if they can use their chopsticks!

  80. Lori says:

    Cheers to living life, letting go and having fun! Glad to hear you had a great time at the conference and learned more than you expected. Embrace that pasta (and the greens)! Looks great!

  81. Sounds like a great time! Sometimes, you just have to let loose and have fun :). This also looks like great meal to come home to!

  82. Kerstin says:

    Nori pesto?! Very cool! And I love all the veggies you packed in there – soba noodles are the best 🙂

    Glad you had fun at BlogHer!

  83. I am definitely tagging this one to make. I love how green it is and love anything with nori. 😉

  84. Nicole says:

    Hello food fusion!
    Look delicious!
    Yeah for blog her! Color me jealous!

  85. I love the sound of this pesto. I’ve been eating a lot less meat lately and am acutally feeling better about it. My body seems a bit happier haha

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