I love pasta. Love. It. I could eat pasta everyday for the rest of my life and die bloated and happy. But, sigh, pasta does not reciprocate my feelings, forcing me into erratic encounters with these comforting carbohydrates, usually when I feel I "deserve" some pasta after a hard day at work or several successful dieting days. Rather than dieting and binging, I have been trying to find tasty recipes for healthier pastas. I have even experimented with tofu substitutes, such as House Foods Tofu Shirataki noodles, which aren't bad, if you know how to dress them.
And then, a couple of weeks ago, Mark Bittman showed me just how easy it was to make a satisfying soba salad. Having braved the squishy, slipperiness of Tofu Shirataki noodles, I was confident I could tame the sometimes tricky soba.
I knew I wanted to do something with fresh ginger and garlic. No-brainer, right? That is like saying, "Gee, maybe I'll try a recipe with tomatoes and basil." Obvious, I know, but we are taking baby steps, here, people. Baby Steps. I also had a hankering for some mung bean sprouts, which are so satisfying to munch. (Somewhere in the back of my mind, I can hear my dad saying something like, "muncho bean sprouts." Not sure where that is coming from). Finally, I walked down to my local Whole Foods and saw some snow peas, also of the satisfying munch variety, and decided I had rounded out this recipe pretty well.
Spicy Soba Noodles
(inspired by this Bon Appetit recipe)
Makes 4 servings.
8 oz. soba noodles
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp sriracha
about 1 cup snow peas
about 1 cup mung bean sprouts
Cook soba noodles according to package, rinse with cold water until cool. Set aside. Heat olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl. Add peanut butter and honey and mix until melted. Whisk in next four ingredients. Add noodles and toss to coat. Add snow peas and toss again. Let the mixture cool until it reaches room temperature, tossing occasionally so that sauce evenly coats noodles. Add mung bean sprouts, toss and serve. (I would have liked to top each serving with chopped peanuts, but I didn't have any on hand).
The fresh, crunchy veggies and spicy sauce make this dinner an excellent candidate for lunch box leftovers. (Note: I originally used one whole tablespoon of sriracha, but as my boyfriend told me between sniffles and gasping breaths, that may have been too much. You may wish to go with the half tablespoon or even less. My feeling is that as long as the heat doesn't overwhelm the other ingredients, a spicy dish isn't hot enough unless I have a couple of sniffles, [clear out those sinuses!], but I always err on the side of spicy).
Coming up: a huge weekend of dining out with Mom and Dad at Art and Soul, Founding Farmers and others.