I'm always on the hunt for quick meals that are nutritious and can be made on the fly for those times when you finish work late and the kids are going feral, or for when unexpected guests pop over and a visit turns into lunch!
So here it is - my amazing on the fly super soba salad!
I have a friend Yvonn - who is super organised (she attributes that to her being German), she is also super creative and a beautiful person and this salad was inspired by one such spontaneous lunch that we had at her place in Byron Bay a while back.
I've always been fond of Soba Noodles after living in Japan for 4 years - but if you've never cooked with them before note that they are made from buckwheat and regular wheat - so if you need a gluten free alternative, then try using rice noodles instead.
The other reason I love this salad is that the noodles, nuts and the dressing make the base, so it's a perfect 'pantry meal' meaning that with just a couple of other fresh ingredients you suddenly have a complete meal ready to go in less than 15 minutes.
1 packet of soba noodles
1 handful of nuts (I prefer roasted almonds - but cashews work well and sunflower seeds are a good nut-free alternative).
1 head of broccolli
1 handful nuts or toppings such as roasted almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds.
You can also add in things like snow peas, steamed green beans, rocket, tofu (cooked in a little bit of the dressing) etc.
1/4 cup vinegar (apple cider or white wine)
1/4 cup brown sugar or agave
1/4 cup peanut or olive oil
4 teaspoons Soy Sauce or Tamari (Gluten Free Soy Sauce)
4 teaspoons Sesame Oil
Freshly grated ginger (1 knob): I LOVE freshly Grated Ginger so I pretty much include it in a lot of my cooking - but kids will often complain that its spicey - so just add it in afterwards if you are dishing this up for the little ones.
Lime Juice to taste
1. Grate your ginger, then mix in all other ingredients for dressing and set to one side.
2. Boil 2 saucepans of water, following the directions on the packet - cook up the soba noodles (these can be then be rinsed and served warm - or cooled down).
Whilst the noodles are cooking, boil water for your steamed veges, then steam or lightly cook, blanching once done.
I like to use greens in this salad that I can steam quickly plus some raw salad ingredients.
For this salad I used a head of broccoli + a couple of handfuls of rocket from the garden - but you can also use steamed green beans, zucchini, carrots, edamame (green soy beans).
Fussy Kid Tips:
My kids have just turned a corner with their acceptance of most vegetables (thank GOD), but for a while there, they would happily eat something one day, and then I would make the mistake of mixing it through whatever we were eating the next day - and then THOSE WORDS come out "I don't like THAT" and the whole dinner would kind of become an issue. Stress over dinner is just painful because by the end of the day everyone is tired and "Ain't no one got time for dinner table tantrums!"
I know that my kids go through phases so one thing I would do for new foods or things they are "testing me" on is keep persevering by putting it on the plate - but separate the ingredients. So for this salad you just put dish it up onto their plate like a tasting platter then mix all the ingredients for the adults. I've found this way they usually end up the trying the foods they are complaining about.
Everyone's kids are different - but mine are flipping stubborn (maybe they inherited their mommy's control freak gene) - so this approach works for us and avoids the dinner table meltdown!