I’ve been going through our cupboards lately, cleansing our pantry of all those random bags, boxes and canned goods that are either half eaten or nearly expired in an effort to not waste what we already have. A few of my findings included: two opened bags of really stale tortilla chips (clearly Chet’s fault), a half-eaten snack sized bag of fruit chews (clearly my fault), a can of definitely-expired-a-long-time-ago gluten free cream of mushroom soup (from that one time I considered going gluten free), an opened package of stiff rice paper wraps and a few bundles of soba noodles.
Cha-ching to the noodles! I have yet to figure out what to do with the rest (leave me a comment if you’re in need of some GF soup), but noodles I can work with…and boy, did I work with them.
For those of you who might be wondering what soba noodles are, they are a Japanese noodle made out of buckwheat flour. They have a wonderful, yet subtle wheat flavor and do an excellent job at sopping up all the deliciousness of whatever sauce or dressing you pour over them. In short, they are a vehicle by which to eat a dressing made almost entirely of peanut butter. Yes. Please.
As a healthy eater who also loves wine, bread, cheese and salty snacks (sorry, I’m not much of a sweets person), when a majority of a meal is pasta (and peanut butter), I throw in as many vegetables as I can to bump up the nutrition factor. In this recipe, the fresh crunch of purple cabbage along with the sweetness of shredded carrot and diced green onion create the perfect balance to a bed of saucy noodles. I do this for the health benefits, yes, but I do it all the more so I can bask in the joy that is a heaping bowl of food.
Confession: I rarely eat from a plate. A plate is perfect for food that is meant to be shared. A bowl is not. Be selfish. Choose the bowl here.
The ingredients in this recipe are simple, as is the process of making it. The evening I put this together, I had gotten off work late, done a quick workout while Chet was off at some function, started, cooked and ate this bowl of goodness within a 30 minute timespan. I made the dressing before getting my sweat on so it could chill in the fridge, then chopped, boiled, drained, mixed and poured the rest together just in time for Chet to walk in the door. Chest bump!
Warning: This recipe makes great leftovers, but only the strongest of will powers can keep from going for seconds. Stay strong. Stay focused. You will succeed.
Inspired? Good, let’s get going.
WHAT TO BRING TO THE STORE
As always you’ll need your trusty reusable produce bags (2-3), a reusable bulk bag for the peanuts, and however many bulk spice jars or bags you need to complete the list of dressing ingredients. Peanut butter can be found freshly ground in the bulk aisle, so if you don’t already have some at home (do some people not?!), bring a little jar along for the ride and take as much as you need.
Oh, and don’t forget to stock up on cheese samples while you’re there!
- 2 bundles of soba noodles (1/2 pound)
- 1/3 of a purple cabbage, shredded (2 cups)
- 1 large carrot, shredded (1 cup)
- 2 green onions, thinly chopped
- 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp soy sauce or amino acids
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- In a small saucepan on medium-low heat, slowly stir water, peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, red pepper flakes and garlic until thickened; about 5 minutes.
- Pour the dressing into a glass jar with a lid and place in the fridge until chilled; about 15 minutes.
- In a large pot, boil 8 cups of water. Once boiling, add in soba noodles and cook for 6 minutes. Strain the noodles and rinse with cold water, then return them to the pot.
- While the noodles are cooking, shred the cabbage and carrot and chop the green onion.
- Once the noodles are chilled, toss in the cabbage, carrot and green onion.
- Get the dressing from the fridge and pour over noodle mixture. Stir until dressing is evenly coated.
- Top with chopped peanuts.
- If you don't have, or can't find soba noodles, you can substitute them with whole wheat spaghetti or rice noodles. Follow the cooking instructions for your type of noodle.
This is one of those rare scenarios where I had to throw something away. In this case, it’s the soba noodle packaging. Although this kinda sucks, I feel okay about the fact that I used them all up before they went bad. I find myself in this dilemma all of the time when it comes to waste. Waste is hard to avoid. We work with what we have and seek the best options, but sometimes life hands you an old bag of noodles and you have to toss it. C’est la vie.
Since you purchased nearly everything in bulk here, or already had it as a staple item in your home, you saved plastic produce bags, jars once containing peanuts and bottles of processed dressing from ever needing to be in existence. Yes, these all can be recycled, but why produce waste when you don’t have to?