Calming lettuce noodles for a challenging day

by sophie on May 11, 2007 · 6 comments

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Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. This one is so simple, it is really just a serving suggestion. No really, that’s not just me being modest, it literally is; I found it in that most unlikely of places for a recipe gem, the back of a lettuce packet!

These noodles are food at its most unchallenging. Effortless to make, easy on the mouth and completely lacking in feistiness (not hint of spice to be seen). They are a little bit bland even, but at the same time wonderfully calming. Sometimes that’s what you need after a hard day at work. If you’re feeling really pitiful, you could just eat a big bowl of these then go to bed, or if you’re not quite ready to hide under the duvet yet, have some salmon on the side, and maybe a green veg (It’s not very nutritionally hard-working that lettuce).

My theory is that the calming effect is two-fold in these noodles. Carbohydrates are well known for their sleep-inducing effects and then there is the lettuce which contains a mysterious substance called Lactucarium, which has sedative properties of its own. There is a very short wikipedia entry for Lactucarium and I was also amused to find out that the University of Huddersfield recommend lettuce sandwiches to ease their students insomnia during stressful times. You can’t use just any lettuce for this, it needs to be the untrendy sort with big leaves and crisp white veins, the sort that ooze a little bit of white stuff when you break them (the said lactucarium). Old-fashioned sweet English lettuces work a treat, as do varieties like Cos and Romaine.
(Due to its uncharacteristically herbal nature, this post is my entry for weekend herb blogging, hosted this week by PatL)

Recipe for Calming lettuce noodles

Boil some noodles, drizzle with a little sesame oil, stir through sliced strips of crispy lettuce and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Eat immediately.

You could try and be clever like me and use flax seeds instead of sesame seeds, for their ultra-high fibre content, but then you’d find out how pesky they are when wet (they stick to everything – surface, mixing bowl, plate, fork, sink, the list goes on).

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kalyn May 15, 2007 at 00:12

Most interesting. This is definitely a combination that’s new to me. First I’ve heard of that sedative ingredient in lettuce. I eat a lot of lettuce, but it doesn’t seem to be working on me!

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Freya May 15, 2007 at 18:19

I need something calming and sedative like at the moment – I have a big headache and I’m waiting for some brownies to come out of the oven. I think I might have screwed up the recipe…!
These noodles look delicious though!

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Eye_carl May 17, 2007 at 07:46

I saw this page posted on a food site and I had to come check you out, from what I’ve seen so far it rocks!

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Sophie May 27, 2007 at 19:41

Hi Kalyn – maybe you need to be feeling highly strung before you get the sedative benefit :-) It’s probably a psychological effect but you definitely need to get the right sort of lettuce too. At least there’s no chance of getting fat while you test them out!
Freya – I hope your brownies worked out in the end. I’m a kitchen disaster when it comes to baking :-(
Eye_carl – thank you very much, I’m glad you like the site!

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Amy O'Sullivan August 10, 2008 at 18:17

Well I just entered it into my recipe software…a pain and not something I just ‘do’.
It looks calming…Nigila Lawson (spelling) does a recipe with peas and lettuce that I just love…it goes will as a side dish to compliment a spicy main and this looks like it will do that to. I am thinking grilled porkchops, sweet potatoes, mashed or roasted in chunks, and this noodle/lettuce beauty.
Also I have two grown children that have trouble unwinding and actually going to sleep at times…yes…forwarding this page to them.
Oh…hope this is not a vegan site, if it is please ignore the pork chop suggestion.

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Angela @ A Spoonful of Sugar November 1, 2009 at 17:48

This post made me smile. I remember the Flopsy Bunnies falling asleep after eating lettuce and Beatrix noting in her narration that lettuce had soporific effects. Nice to know there’s some truth to that!

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