It’s officially Christmas season! Seems like Thanksgiving came and went just as quickly as I could finish my second dinner plate. But I’m grateful for the holiday and the opportunity to reflect and spend time with loved ones.
Jumping right in! I decided to make a soba noodle salad because the weather in Oklahoma has been unseasonably warm! This light, gluten-free dish can be made vegetarian by using tofu or you can add a meat source, if you’d like. I love this because it’s packed with vegetables such as red peppers, cabbage, and carrots. I’ve made this dish before and added different vegetables instead. Last time, I used frozen, chopped spinach, edamame, red onions, cabbage, and carrots. Play around with it and find what works best for you. If you’re not quite sure where to find soba noodles, you can check with your local Asian food market. Wal-Mart may have a soba noodle alternative and although I don’t recommend it, you can always use whole wheat spaghetti noodles. OKC peeps – I bought mine from Super Cao Nguyen. Non-local friends, if you have an H-Mart near you, they will definitely be there.
To start, cook the noodles according to the package directions. They should take about 7-10 minutes to cook. I love soba noodles because they have this slight salty taste and a texture that is hard to describe. It’s soft and doesn’t quite get al-dente the way durum wheat semolina pasta does. Plus, it’s gluten-free, which is excellent if you have gastrointestinal issues that require a gluten-free diet!
I used a cabbage blend from Trader Joe’s because I don’t really like chopping up two different types of cabbages. All you do is tear it open and add to bowl. I also added extra shredded carrots for the exact same reason and because the blend doesn’t contain as much carrot as I want.
The red peppers, however, I had to julienne myself. Julienne, eh? How fancy. Not really. It just means I thinly sliced them. Start by cutting off the top of the pepper as close to the stem as possible. Pop the stem out, hollow out the pepper, and cut the hollowed out pepper down the middle.
Then, start slicing the pepper length-wise. Continue until the entire pepper is sliced thinly. See? Easy.
Dump everything in a large bowl and toss with the dressing (recipe below) and you’re all set. It’s that simple. Sprinkle some sesame seeds if you’d like to complete the look. You’ll notice there are no edamame beans here but they go super well with this dish (I forgot to add them…oops). You can eat this dish immediately after cooking or leave it in the refrigerator for a day before eating. It’s just so good either way!
Like I said earlier, I used tofu as my lean protein. I know some of you are open to eating tofu but you just don’t know how to cook it. My father is actually the Tofu Master (seriously) so fortunately, I’ve been able to pick a few tips on how to properly cook it throughout my childhood. I’ll post a brief tutorial of my findings in a separate post!
If you live in the DMV (DC, MD, VA) area and need an excellent vegetarian caterer, send me a message and I’ll connect you with the Tofu Master himself.
Asian Sesame Dressing
Ingredients (Makes 6 oz dressing)
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1/2 rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 agave
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Combine all ingredients in mason jar. Shake well.
Soba Noodle Salad
Ingredients (Makes 4 servings)
- 2 bundles soba noodles, uncooked (about 8 oz)
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup cabbage blend from Trader Joe’s (can also just combine green and red cabbage and shred yourself)
- 1 red pepper, julienne
- lean protein source (I used tofu)
- edamame (optional)
- Cook lean protein as desired. In a small bowl, toss lean protein with 2 oz Asian Sesame Dressing (see recipe above). Set aside.
- Cook soba noodles according to directions. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine soba noodles, carrots, cabbage blend, pepper, and lean protein. Add remaining Asian Sesame Dressing to bowl and toss until well coated. Sprinkle sesame seeds and edamame beans, if desired.
- Serve immediately or chilled.