Monthly Archives: March 2011

Sesame Soba Noodle Saturday

I’m always amazed at what I can get done with an open Saturday. Yesterday, after a brief stop-over at work, I came home and threw together a bowl of this:

After which I did some investigative work in this cute town:

Came home and had a nice siesta on the couch while watching an episode (or two) of this.

Then strolled over to the grocery store to pick up a few missing items to make this for dinner.

Poured myself a glass of this while unpacking the groceries.

And finally got around to watching this while baking a loaf of this, which I plan to work through for breakfast all week.

That’s seven “this’s” (or would it be “these”?) I got done yesterday. Go Saturday.

It was a great day overall, but I definitely want to share with you the recipe for my lunch yesterday, Sesame Soba Noodles. You can check out the unmodified recipe from one of my tried and true, go-to recipe sites. This recipe is actually going to be in her brand new, soon-to-be-released cookbook, Super Natural Every Day.  Yet another cookbook to add to my “if I had a million dollars” wish list. I have it on my imaginary cookbook bookshelf just between this and this. And because I imagine cookbooks as social books, I’d just have to buy this and this and this. To keep them company of course. Until that time comes though, I’ll just continue to be a good foster parent to all the library’s cookbooks. They need love too you know.

As for the noodles, I want to add a few notes. One, I agree with Heidi 100%, this makes excellent leftovers. Which is good considering it makes enough to be a main course for 4 people. And since it’s a cold dish I’m actually considering taking some on my long haul over to the EU in a couple of months. Two, you see that tofu? Totally not the golden brown deliciousness it could have been. Why? Because I’m lazy. Don’t be like me kids. Before cooking the tofu, slice it up and layer it between a few sheets of paper towels and a heavy plate to help drain the water. Wet tofu doesn’t crisp, it steams. Three, do be like me and add some veggies. Broccoli, asparagus, shredded beets or carrots would all be good with this. Steam ’em up and toss ’em in! Four, I really love Asian flavors – from Thai curries to Vietnamese pho, so I’ve slowly acquired a lot of those less-than-typical ingredients, but not all. So I’ve noted the substitutions I made. Hope you enjoy!

Sesame Soba Noodles

Serves 4 as a main course, 6+ as a side dish


  • ~1 1/2 Tbsp walnuts (instead of pine nuts)
  • ~1 1/2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • ~ 2 Tbsp sesame seeds (black or white)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp natural cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (because I think it tastes more like soy than salt)
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey (instead of mirin)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (invest! There’s no substitute)
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar (white wine vinegar works in a pinch)
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper – or more to your preferences
  • salt
  • 12 oz soba noodles
  • 18 oz extra firm tofu (drained, drained, drained!) and cut into 2″ x 1/4″ chunks.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bunch green onion, sliced


  1. Start some water boiling on the back burner in a large pot for your soba noodles. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts and sunflower seeds in a large skillet over medium heat, tossing often. Once they are fragrant and toasted, toss in the sesame seeds and let toast for ~1 minute. If you’re using white sesame seeds you should see them change to a golden color, if you’re using black you’ll have to go by scent alone.
  2. Transfer the seeds and nuts to a mortar and grind until it’s the consistency of coarse sand. You’re mostly trying to break down the walnuts and sunflower seeds. Mix in the sugar, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, sesame oil, vinegar and cayenne pepper. Remember to test and adjust to your taste! Set aside.
  3. At this point your water should be boiling. Add in the soba noodles and cook per package directions. **I highly recommend testing a couple of noodles 3/4 of the way into their cooking time, regardless of what the directions say. As soon as they are tender, drain into a colander and douse with cold water until the noodles are cold to stop them from cooking any further. 1 minute too long can turn your noodles to mush.** Reserve ~ 1/4 – 1/3 cup of the noodle water.
  4. While your noodles are cooking, steam veggie of your choice (2-3 cups).
  5. Toss the tofu into your large skillet and drizzle with ~ 2 Tbsp olive oil and salt to taste. Cook on medium-high heat until golden brown on all sides.
  6. Reserve ~1 Tbsp of your sauce and to the rest add ~1/4 cup of your noodle water until it’s thinned to your liking. In a large bowl, gently toss the noodles with your sauce, tofu and ~ 2/3 of the onion. Alternatively you can add in the veggie too, or serve on the side.
  7. Dish into bowls and garnish with remaining onion and sesame paste.


Filed under Lunch/Dinner, Main Dish