I haven't posted a recipe in a while so I thought I'd start with this one. It's the only one I have a photo of right now SINCE MY COMPUTER WENT ROUGE. (Please, let's not talk about it...it royally sucks.)
Anyway, this was the first dish I made when I got back from Point Reyes. I had been eating healthfully for the week I was there but I also had been eating heartily...as in food that would allow me to put one foot in front of the other for eight to ten miles on the trail each day. So I was looking for something still on the healthy side but a little lighter. And whenever I have this kind of a craving, I know I'm looking for a recipe with just a few simple ingredients. Dishes like this allow one or two flavors to shine without having to step over other complicated layers of other flavors that can weigh a dish down.
I kind of found what I was looking for in a Ginger Bok Choy and Soba Noodles recipe from Appetite for Reduction, but after looking at the list of ingredients, I knew I wanted to jazz it up a little bit. And I'm glad I did. I think if I had followed the recipe to a T, it would have been lacking a bit in flavor. I'm all for light and low cal/low fat, but that doesn't have to mean you need to sacrifice taste. In the recipe below, I've added a few ingredients that weren't in the original one and I've increased amounts of ingredients already in there. I think it's a dish that still would be considered acceptable by those watching their waistline...I mean, seriously, how many calories can rice wine vinegar or soy sauce add?
What I liked about this meal was both the texture of the crunchy bok choy and the soft soba noodles playing off one another and the complementary flavors of fresh ginger, soy sauce, and seasoned rice wine vinegar (when those three come together it's like watching a dance perfected). Feel free to substitute with other veggies (broccoli for the bok choy would be nice or chopped scallions instead of the red onion) or noodles (udon or somen would work perfectly well here too). If you haven't tried gomasio yet (sesame salt), you need to. You can find it in the Asian section of grocery stores. Better yet, make it. It's ridiculously easy and it's an incredibly versatile condiment. I've included a recipe for it below.
Ginger Bok Choy and Soba Noodles
Inspired by the recipe of the same name from Appetite for Reduction Serves 4
- 8 or 9.5 oz. soba noodles
- 1 teaspoon veggie oil
- 3 bunches baby bok choy, leaves and stems separated, stems sliced across in 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 small red onion, cut into thinly sliced half moons
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 generous Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos OR 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- Toasted sesame seeds or gomasio for garnish (optional, but highly recommended)
Prepare the soba noodles according to the package directions. Note: Since soba noodles take only a few minutes to cook, I prefer to let the water come to a boil as I'm cooking and then drop the noodles in AFTER I have everything all sautéed up. But feel free to prepare them ahead of time and set them aside, covered to keep them warm, until ready to use.
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the bok choy stems and the onion until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant, another minute or two. Add the bok choy leaves, soy sauce, and vinegar and sauté until the leaves begin to wilt.
Add the soba noodles and then Bragg Liquid Aminos (or extra soy sauce) to the pan and sauté for a final couple of minutes. The noodles will want to clump together so be sure to take a pasta spoon (or a couple of forks) to break things up and get everything mixed together. I added a few extra dashes of equal parts vinegar and soy sauce to help things along when I felt the noodles weren't cooperating.
Serve immediately topped with toasted sesame seeds or gomasio. This dish is also great cold and makes for a wonderful lunch the next day (if there is any leftover!).
To Make Gomasio:
Toast 1 teaspoon sea salt in a pan until it turns a light brown, set aside. Toast 6 Tablespoons sesame seeds in a pan until light brown. Combine the two and grind, using a mortar and pestle, until about 80% of the sesame seeds are ground. Store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks. This is fantastic sprinkled over roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, salads, popcorn, and anything else you'd add salt to.