This is a fresh flavored summer salad with wonderful contrasting textures. The basil pesto is tossed with al dente soba noodles, velvety grilled eggplant, and crunchy radishes. The fresh mint adds a pop of flavor. Soba noodles are a great change of pace too. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Bill Kim. Among other modifications, I used half the amount of olive oil suggested in the original recipe and adjusted the consistency of my pesto with chicken stock instead. This dish was delicious warm, room temperature and cold.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a main course
- 1 pound eggplant or Asian eggplant, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and tossing
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken stock
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 4 medium garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 pound (8 oz) buckwheat soba noodles
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 6 large radishes, cut into thin wedges through the stem
- 1/2 English cucumber—halved lengthwise & thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 cup mint leaves, torn if large
- Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the eggplant with olive oil and season with salt. Grill over moderate heat, turning once, until tender and lightly charred, 6 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a plate and let cool completely, then cut into 3/4-inch pieces.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roast the pine nuts until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes; transfer to a plate and let cool. (I use my toaster oven.)
- In a food processor, combine the pine nuts, basil and garlic and pulse until finely chopped. With the machine on, add the 1/2 cup of olive oil in a steady stream. Add the soy sauce and pulse to blend. Add stock to achieve the desired consistency. Season the pesto with salt.
- In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the soba noodles until al dente, about 4 minutes. Rinse the noodles under cold water, then drain and pat dry.
- In a large bowl, toss the soba noodles with the pesto until evenly coated. Add the grilled eggplant, tomatoes, radishes, cucumber and 3/4 cup of the mint leaves and toss well. Season the soba noodle salad with salt. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of mint leaves on top and serve.
Posted in Grilling, Pasta, Recipes, Salads & Dressings, Sides, Vegetarian
Tags: basil, buckwheat noodles, dinner, eggplant, gluten free, mint, pesto, radishes, salad, soba noodles, vegetarian
This is an Asian inspired noodle dish adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Field of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes from the Celebrated Greens Restaurant by Annie Somerville. It is so “out of the box” for me! I don’t make a lot of Asian food…. but we do eat a lot of pasta. 🙂
I first made this dish when I received baby bok choy in my CSA box and didn’t know what to do with it. Now, I’m hooked on this recipe. It has so many wonderful fresh flavors- bok choy, shiitakes, fresh ginger, cilantro, scallions- not to mention the flavor from the peanut and sesame oils. It also has a spicy kick from the jalapeño. Super tasty.
Serves 2 to 4
- 1/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2 large or 2-3 small heads of bok choy or 6+ baby bok choy
- coarse salt
- 6 ounces thin dried buckwheat or soba noodles
- 2 T peanut oil
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2/3 T grated fresh ginger
- 1 jalapeño or serrano chile, seeded, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1-2 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
- 1 T dark sesame oil
- 2 T mirin (sweet cooking sake)
- 2 T light soy sauce
- 2 T coarsely chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp sesame seed, toasted, optional
- Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
- Remove the mushroom stems and cut the caps into 1/2-inch slices. (The stems can be saved for stock.)
- For small heads of bok choy, slice the stem lengthwise, leaving leaf and stem together. For a large head, slice the stems diagonally, 3/4-inch thick, and slice the leaves into 2-inch wide ribbons.
- When the water boils, add 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the noodles and cook as directed on the package.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the peanut oil in a large sauté pan; add the shiitake mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sauté over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, chilies, and bok choy and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Drain the pasta in a colander when it is just tender. Reduce the heat under the sauté pan and add the scallion, sesame oil, mirin, and soy sauce. Quickly add the noodles, taking care not to overcook the bok choy.
- Remove from the heat, toss the noodles with the vegetables and cilantro, and season with salt to taste, if necessary. Sprinkle with the sesame seed, if using.
Posted in Greens, Pasta, Quick, Recipes, Vegetarian
Tags: Asian, bok choy, buckwheat noodles, cilantro, dinner, ginger, jalapeño, mirin, peanut oil, sesame oil, shiitake mushrooms, soba noodles, vegetarian