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Asian Kale and Soba Noodles

Cold noodles in the winter? The looks of disgust I presume I’d get from some of my soup fanatic friends still doesn’t scare me from sharing this recipe with you. I’m a bit of a soup junkie too, but I save that addiction for the evenings. For lunch, what I’m eating is often premeditated and snapped away in my backpack during the early hours of the morning, meaning I could care less whether it was a steam-filled meal. In fact, I generally prefer a meal that tastes best at room temp. because that’s how I’ll be eating it come lunchtime. (See hummus recipe 1 – 1,000,000).

Really, this plate of noodles can be eaten at any temperature, but it was designed for my need to fulfill an unusual lunch craving. Tired of sandwiches and certainly tired of plain old noodles, I reached for Soba, which I don’t even put in the same category as pasta. Unlike pasta (unless it’s the doughy kind from the Italian market) Soba remains a novelty. It’s nutty, but notably less dense than whole wheat pasta, and has this unique texture that’s significantly easier to chew than your typical al dente spaghetti.

The noodles lends themselves particularly well to Asian flavors, hence their name Soba, the Japanese word for buckwheat. Here, I tossed them with gingery kale and a little sesame oil for a noodle dish that works either hot or cold. That way you can pick the temperature depending on your personal temperament. Can’t do cold in the winter? Then don’t. But if cold noodles for lunch don’t sound like a bad idea, pack them up and just be sure to add an extra sprinkle of salt before you head on your way. Whatever style you choose, this healthful meal is sure to help ward off any all too common winter colds from taking over your body. Enjoy.

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Spicy Peanut Sauce with Noodles

As an obsessive peanut butter lover, I’m naturally a diehard fan of peanut sauce too. If you haven’t had it, well, you’re missing out. (Unless you have a peanut allergy, in which case, I’d pass on this one).

Peanut butter creates a naturally creamy base that lathers up pasta and gives it a rich massage of flavor. Toasted sesame oil, the PB’s sidekick in this dish, contributes that classic roasted infusion of Asian flavor and aroma to the sauce. Then some ginger and chili garlic sauce come in to spice things up a bit. If spicy isn’t your forte, simply use less of the chili garlic sauce.

I pair the peanutty sauce with soba noodles, which while aren’t essential, definitely enhance the dish. Soba noodles contain a combination of buckwheat and wheat flour, which give them a nutty taste and a unique, elastic texture. They are the perfect noodle to stand up to the intensiveness of the sauce (vs. white pasta) without taking away from any of the flavor (vs. whole wheat pasta).

Cabbage and red peppers lighten up the dish a bit, packing it with an element of nutritious freshness. While this dish is intended to be served warm, it’s equally as tasty at room temp., or slightly chilled.

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