Ginger-Scallion Soba Noodles with Roasted Cauliflower
I went home to Santa Barbara last weekend and it was glorious. Sadly, it was only a two-day trip, but I managed to squeeze in as many sun naps, smoothies (if you ever make it to SB, you are required to go to Blenders in the Grass), and walks on the beach as humanly possible before weeping into a bag of Sour Patch Kids on my flight back to NYC.
During those 48 blissful Californian hours, I also had the pleasure of spending some rare quality time with my little siblings, Zoe and Rex. I know it’s wrong to play favorites, but I’m particularly fond of Zoe. It’s not that I don’t like Rex—he’s very sweet—but he’s only 4-years-old, and I feel like you can’t have a real conversation with someone until they’re at least 6. Luckily for Zoe, she is 7, and therefore eligible to hang.
Zoe is, for lack of a better word, sassy. She’s confident, down for whatever, and rocks a lot of message tees, which I respect. (One morning she came downstairs wearing a shirt that said, “I still live with my parents.” I spit out my coffee.) The more time I spend with her, the more I like her, and that bodes extremely well for the future of our relationship.
The thing I appreciate most about Zoe is that she thinks I’m super cool despite being “older than her babysitter.” This is primarily because I have a blog, and kids are into blogs thanks to the Nickelodeon show Dog with a Blog (?!), but she also appreciates my earring collection, straight teeth, and choice in roommates. Hallelujah.
That said, Zoe does occasionally seem somewhat disappointed in me. Like the time she wanted me to hold her cat, and I screamed, “Get that away from me!” After recovering from her initial shock, she responded, “You seem like someone that likes cats.” (Then I was disappointed in her and had to leave the room.) She also thinks I sleep too late, is frustrated by my subpar iPad skills, and looked at me like I had three heads when I admitted I’d never heard of a show called Phineas and Ferb.
Funnily enough, the most Zoe has ever judged me was during a recent discussion of lunch. She has an extremely sophisticated palate, especially for a 7-year-old, and the girl happily consumes everything from chicken salad to caviar. One day I asked what she usually eats for lunch at school, and she casually responded, “It varies. I’ll have sushi, or maybe some grilled chicken with guacamole.” Then she said, “Why? What did you eat for lunch at school?” to which I replied, “I don’t know. Like a ham sandwich and carrots? Maybe a Fruit by the Foot?”
She was cool about it, but I could sense her disdain.
I tried to defend my lackluster childhood lunches by being like, “I eat really awesome things now though, I swear!” Zoe just nodded and changed the subject to ponies. (Ew.) I was then tempted to show her some of the things I’ve been eating for lunch lately, like Pork and Pinto Bean Chili, Lemon-Dijon Chicken Salad, and these Ginger-Scallion Soba Noodles with Roasted Cauliflower, but I didn’t want to seem desperate…
For the record, I think Zoe would be suitably impressed with these delightful soba noodles. I love nothing more than roasted cauliflower—it gets all beautifully caramelized and buttery in the oven—and it pairs amazingly well with the slight nuttiness of buckwheat soba noodles. A simple ginger-scallion dressing lends awesome umami flavor with just the right amount of heat, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice just before serving brightens things up. The resulting dish is simultaneously comforting and refreshing, and I’d like everyone to try it. Please and thank you.
I’m also thrilled to inform you that Ginger-Scallion Soba Noodles with Roasted Cauliflower can be served warm, room temperature or cold, making them an excellent option for sassy desk lunching, but they’re equally great as a light vegetarian/vegan dinner or side dish. Plus, they can be prepared from start to finish in about 30 minutes, are almost impossible to screw up, and pack some serious fiber and antioxidants. (You can never have too many foolproof healthy recipes in your repertoire, people.)
I may Fedex these noodles to Zoe with a note:
Ham sandwiches are so 1997. Please forgive me. xo Serena
Ginger-Scallion Soba Noodles with Roasted Cauliflower: (Serves 2 generously as a main course, 4 as a side)
1 small head cauliflower, florets removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tablespoon toasted hemp or sesame seeds
½ lime, juiced (optional)
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey (Vegans can sub brown sugar or agave.)
½-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how much heat you like)
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts only (about 4 scallions)
Preparing your Ginger-Scallion Soba Noodles with Roasted Cauliflower:
-Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.
-Arrange the cauliflower on a large baking sheet in an even layer. (I like to line my baking sheet with foil for easy cleaning, but you do you.) Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
-Roast for 20 minutes until tender and lightly browned. Set aside until ready to use.
-Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Let stand for 10-15 minutes to allow all the badass flavors to get nice and cozy with each other.
-Moving on the soba noodles! Bring about 8 cups of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook for 3-5 minutes until just tender. (The cooking time will vary based on your noodles. Check the directions on the package, but start testing your noodles about 1 minute before the suggested cooking time. They can overcook quickly!) Strain the soba noodles and rinse with cold water.
-Transfer the soba noodles to a large bowl. Add the roasted cauliflower, cilantro, hemp/sesame seeds and ginger-scallion mixture.
-Toss to combine. (I actually find it easiest to do this with my hands…)
-If you dig citrus, squeeze the lime over your soba noodles before serving.
Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. Whatever floats your boat.
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