Soba noodles are forever versatile. You can just as soon huddle over a bowl of the tangled strands submerged in delicate broth as you can enjoy them chilled, where they chewiness and earthiness are front and center. In Japan, you’ll find them served on the cheap alongside plasticky tempura at a fast food spot but will also encounter artisanal restaurants where the noodles are pulled and cut fresh before your eyes. No matter where or how you enjoy them, they are utterly craveable.
This recipe uses soba as a base for a light, healthy noodle bowl. The hearty buckwheat stands up to the zingy ginger shallot dressing and the vegetables and protein can be swapped out for whatever is in season/in your fridge. This is a quick throw-together dish that will make for a low-key weeknight meal and tasty next-day Desk Lunch. Slurp away!
Ginger Scallion Dressing
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 scallions, ends removed
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 teaspoon mirin
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
½ teaspoon brown sugar
4 tablespoons canola oil (more depending on thickness of dressing)
Noodles & Assembly
10 oz dried soba noodles
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 package tempeh, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 cups Tuscan kale, stems removed and sliced thinly
2 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the soba noodles and cook according to the package instructions (usually about 5 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water until cool.
Meanwhile, combine all dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until a consistent texture is reached. Tweak with more sugar/mirin for sweetness, more lemon/rice vinegar for acidity and/or more oil if you prefer a looser dressing. Set the dressing aside.
Heat a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add the coconut oil. Once melted, add the mushrooms. Cook until they begin to soften, then add the tempeh. Once the mushrooms are fully sautéed and tempeh is beginning to brown (about 5 minutes) add a bit of soy sauce to deglaze the pan. Then, add the kale. Toss continuously until kale is wilted. Deglaze with more soy sauce as needed.
In a large serving bowl, combine the noodles and half of the dressing until the soba is well coated. Then, add the mushrooms, tempeh and kale. Add the remaining dressing and toss to distribute.
Serve and top individual bowls with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.