With addressing wedding invitations, and staying up into the wee hours to finish our wedding website, Sunday night dinner needed to be both quick, and something that would not leave us feeling awful the next day. I remember nights as busy as this in college where I would go with my closest friends to Dennys and have cheese fries and a root beer floats at 1am. Very healthy, right? The truth is, the reason so many of us Americans turn to “fast food” is that it is fast, easy, and inexpensive, but quick, healthier dinners are well within our reach at home, and can be just as satisfying. My current, much healthier alternative, to the fast food of my past is soba noodles.
Soba noodles are just like quinoa or pasta: A backdrop for endless possibilities of accompaniments and flavor combinations. On a night where I need the comfort of carbs, but would like something healthier and faster than traditional spaghetti, soba is my go-to choice. The mild nutty flavor of soba pairs beautifully with shoyu or a mild vinegar, such as rice or white balsamic. You can also use a store bought soba sauce, or make your own, some people even love just a little bit of sesame oil. Last night, I put together a simple citrus, Japanese inspired dressing.
Soba Noodles with Cucumber and Green Onion
- 2 tbs sesame oil
- 2 tbs Shoyu
- Juice from half a lemon
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp Hoisin sauce
- Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
- 5 green onions, chopped
- 1 cucumber, quartered
- 2 servings soba noodles, approximately 5 oz
- Sesame seeds for sprinkling
- A handful of arugula per portion (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare the dressing by combining the first 5 ingredients, and taste. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes as needed. Place soba noodles in boiling water for 4 minutes while you prepare the green onions and cucumber. Once soba noodles are just under done, drain and rinse in cold water to keep from continuing to cook. Once noodles are fully drained, combine cucumber, green onion, and soba in a large bowl. Dress and add additional salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes as needed. Add a small handful of sesame seeds for crunch and arugula as desired.
This is one of those incredibly easy vegetarian meals that is satisfying and gives all of us the opportunity to be creative. Next time I may try it with avocado and soy beans, or perhaps even some mango. I, personally, am grateful for easy, delicious, satisfying dishes like this that I can throw together on a busy night, instead of going to Denny’s at 1am. Until next time, Happy Meatless Monday!