soba salad

 

Spring is arriving fast and for many of us these longer days often mean later dinners, as we want to take advantage of the extra hour of sunlight with long walks or evening yoga.

 

In order to feel more energized and to activate my digestive enzymes to their fullest potential, I tend to incorporate more raw foods into my diet this time of year. Because my body doesn’t thrive on raw foods alone, I like to incorporate elements of them into dishes such as this soba noodle salad.

 

Inspired by one of my favorite foods blogs, the lovely Sprouted Kitchen, I played around with the original recipe to make it a bit more protein filled and and lighter on the carbs. By adding tofu and cutting the amount of soba noodles in half, this dish ends up feeling like a complete meal in and of itself.

 

soba salad collage

 

The original recipe calls for raw brussel sprouts, but I’m not crazy about raw cabbage-like foods, and so I gave them a quick blanch before shredding them into the raw kale.

 

Despite its name, buckwheat is not wheat, it’s actually a seed and is  gluten-free as long as you buy soba noodles made with 100% buckwheat. How’s that for awesome!

 

Because I like my food to have a bit of a kick, I added a dash of cayenne to the dressing before tossing it with the veggies. I also added a 1/4 cup of toasted sesame seeds for their crunch, and incredible health properties. Did you know that sesame seeds are an incredibly rich sources of many essential minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium? And their rich nutty flavor sure beats a supplement…amazing right?

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale (I used green curly kale because it’s my favorite but feel free to use your favorite)
  • 3 tsp. toasted sesame oil + 1 for massaging the kale
  • 6 brussels sprouts
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. low sodium tamari
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. raw honey or agave
  • squeeze of lemon
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 4 oz. soba noodles
  • 2 thinly slivered green onions, for garnish
  • 1 brick of extra firm organic tofu

 

Drain the tofu and pat it dry. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Cook the tofu in neutral tasting coconut or olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of tamari, freshly ground black pepper and a bit of garlic powder. Toss gently once or twice to coat, then continue cooking for a few more minutes or until the tofu is firm and golden brown.

 

Remove the long spine from the kale leaves. Stack the leaves, roll them up tightly lengthwise, and then thinly slice them crosswise into narrow ribbons, (chiffonade is the fancy term for this). Toss with 1 tsp. of the sesame oil, squeeze of lemon and a pinch of sea salt. Massage the leaves with your hands until they soften and turn a dark emerald green.

 

Blanch brussel sprouts in boiling water for 1 minutes and then run under cold water to stop them from cooking. Slice them into very thin ribbons and then toss them with the kale. You can use a mandolin or sharp knife.

 

Mince or press your garlic cloves into a cup and mix with remaining sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, tamari, honey or agave, and dash of cayenne. Whisk until fully blended. Pour dressing over greens and toss. Cook soba noodles for 3-4 minutes (depending on desired texture) and mix into the kale and brussel sprouts along with the tofu. Toss with toasted sesame seeds (you can toast them yourself in a pan on low heat) and garnish with slivered scallions and red pepper flakes.

 

This salad tastes great warm, but is even more flavorful the next day and would be an excellent dish to take to a party or potluck. Happy spring eating!