Friday, August 12, 2011

Buckwheat Noodle Salad with Orange Peanut Dressing

The inspiration for this salad was a recipe in the Fields of Greens cookbook by Annie Somerville.  She’s the executive chef at Greens, a celebrated vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco.  While their noodle salad has been a favorite on their menu since the late seventies, I felt it needed updating.  I didn’t want to blanch the vegetables..I didn’t see the point.  Carrots and peas are wonderful when they’re raw and crunchy.  I also changed the dressing by balancing the flavors more to my taste.  The result was wonderful.  One of our new favorite dinner salads.  This recipe makes four decent sized servings but Mr. RK and I ate the whole thing.  We had to have seconds, it’s that good.
I added an ear of fresh corn to the salad, because it’s summer and fresh organic corn is abundant, so why not?  I also added some edamame and sliced baked tofu for protein.  I do recommend that you buy organic edamame.  That’s the only way you can be sure that the soy beans have not been genetically modified.  I used English snap peas in this recipe because that what was available, but feel free to substitute snow peas if you can find them.

I also added some shiitake mushrooms because they contain a compound called AHCC.  AHCC has been found to increase the body’s resistance to flues and infections and cancer.  Plus, they taste good.

For the noodles, I used these fresh buckwheat soba noodles but if you can find them in the refrigerated section of your store, you can always cook up a batch of the dry ones.

To pump up the orange flavor of the dressing I used the zest from the orange as well as the juice.  If you don’t have a zester, you can do what I did and use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest and then slice it into thin strips.

I chopped up all of the veggies and tofu and put them into a bowl.  Then, I made the dressing and poured it over everything.  I let that sit for a few minutes while I prepared the noodles.  When the noodles were done, I tossed everything together.

Buckwheat Noodle Salad with Orange Peanut Dressing
Makes 4 servings - Use organic ingredients whenever possible
1 ear of corn
1 carrot
8 small fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 cup sliced snow peas or snap peas
1 cup frozen organic shelled edamame (defrosted)
3 oz baked tofu
1/2 cup shelled roasted peanuts
1 12 oz package fresh buckwheat soba noodles
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 orange
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin (rice cooking wine)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon agave
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
Remove the corn kernels from the cob and put them into a bowl.
Cut the carrot into match stick sized pieces and put them into the bowl.
Trim the stems of the mushrooms and thinly slice them and add them to the bowl.
Cut the baked tofu into match stick sized pieces and add them to the bowl.
Add the sliced peas, edamame and peanuts.
Remove the zest from the orange and slice it into very thin pieces and add to them to the vegetables.
Juice the orange and put the juice into another smaller bowl.
Add the ginger, rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, agave, salt and chili powder to the juice.
Whisk everything together.
Add the sesame oil to the mixture one tablespoon at a time.
Pour the dressing over the vegetables.
Cook the noodles according to the package instructions.
Run the cooked noodles under cold water to chill them and drain well.
Put the noodles in a bowl and pour the vegetables on top and toss.
Sprinkle the cilantro leaves over the salad and serve. 

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