Soba – the Un-Pasta

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve been on a sort of cleanse – not a hard-core juice or smoothie cleanse, more of a three-juice-a-day-cut-out-the-sugar-and-pretend-I’m-a-vegetarian-for-a-few-days kind of cleanse, and I’m finding this more balanced approach is helping me get my mental state back on track (I also resolved to not step on the scale anymore…or, okay, at least for awhile). I want to get back to where I was mentally two years ago, when I ate what made me feel healthy, and I wasn’t obsessing about my weight or calories or size.

Anyway, after reading a quick blurb in Outside magazine (I know, I love that magazine!) about an Arctic runner who said he really liked the sustained energy he got from Soba noodles over regular pasta, I decided to try working with them. Soba is a kind of Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. And the great thing about buckwheat? It contains a compound called choline which aids metabolism, lowers blood pressure, and helps to control cholesterol. A quick trip to the grocery store and a foray into the garden, and I was ready to try my hand at whipping up this Spicy Asian Noodle dish. It works great as a meal for two all on its own, or stretch it more as a side dish to your favorite stir-fry. (And while I didn’t use ginger because I forgot to restock, it would have made a delicious addition to the ingredients list, too!)

Spicy Asian Noodles

Ingredients:

Here's what you'll need, plus agave which I forgot to photograph - and hey! Check out the awesome scallion flower, straight from my garden!

Here’s what you’ll need, plus agave which I forgot to photograph – and hey! Check out the awesome scallion flower, straight from my garden!

1 bundle of Soba noodles (about 9.5 ounces)

1/2 cucumber, partially peeled

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

1/4 cup fresh scallions

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup organic crunchy peanut butter

1 tbsp raw shoyu (soy sauce) or I prefer Bragg’s Liquid Aminos because I try to avoid soy, and the aminos are good for you!

Juice of 1/2 lime (or use the whole lime if you like things a little tangier)

2 tsp raw organic agave nectar

1 tsp kosher or sea salt

dash of cayenne pepper

Quartering a Cucumber

First, get your water on to boil in a medium saucepan. While you wait, you can prep – partially peel your cucumber, and then quarter it by standing it up on its end and slicing down almost to the bottom, turn it and do it again making an X. Then lay it down on the cutting board, and slice it thinly. Set that aside, and chop your cilantro and scallions. Now’s a good time to start your Soba – unlike traditional pasta, it only takes four minutes to cook, so once your water is boiling, add it right in – don’t salt the water, and don’t worry about doing much to the noodles once they’re in the water. I found they were really delicate before I dropped them in, and while boiling, they naturally separate and seem to lack the stickiness semolina pasta always has. Set the timer for four minutes because you don’t want them overcooked.

Add peanut butter, olive oil, sesame oil (you can use only sesame oil if you like, I wanted to cut the richness of it with olive oil), agave, shoyu (or those aminos!), cayenne, salt, and lime juice to a small bowl.

Yay! I get to show you my awesome juicer - I picked it up at an antique shop for $10, and it's worth its weight in gold. It does a great job of getting every last squeeze of juice out of citrus - like a giant garlic press.

Yay! I get to show you my awesome juicer – I picked it up at an antique shop for $10, and it’s worth its weight in gold. It does a great job of getting every last squeeze of juice out of citrus – like a giant garlic press.

Stir that dressing mixture vigorously:

IMG_1178

Strain your Soba and give it a good rinse in cool water – I like my noodles just barely warm, but if you want very cold pasta, rinse them thoroughly, turning them in the cold water with your hands. Add them to a large bowl, and top with the dressing mixture, half of the diced cucumbers, half of the scallions, and half of the cilantro.

IMG_1180

Now the fun part – using a fork and spoon (or two forks), toss the whole mass gently, like it’s a salad, until all the noodles are thoroughly coated with the dressing and the cukes, cilantro, and scallions are combined. Once you’ve dished out your servings, garnish with the remaining cucumber, cilantro and scallions, and enjoy!

Spicy Asian Noodles

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Categories: Recipes:

Author:Dory Diaz Photography

Dory is a professional wedding and portrait photographer, writer, and social media addict.

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