I discovered soba noodles a few years ago, soon after I began dating my now-husband. Jason's a fanatic for Japanese food and culture, and in the past three years, he's introduced me to all kinds of great Japanese ingredients, including these amazingly versatile buckwheat noodles.
Despite its name, buckwheat is not actually a wheat. It's a whole grain derived from a fruit seed, and it's packed with fiber, antioxidants, and essential nutrients. In addition to their awesome health properties, soba noodles have a deliciously mild, slightly nutty taste and satisfying texture. And because buckwheat is naturally wheat-free, soba noodles made from 100% buckwheat are a great choice for those with wheat or gluten sensitivities.
Needless to say, I've fallen in love with soba noodles. They make a pretty regular appearance in our weekly meal rotation, so I'm always looking for new ways to dress them up. Yesterday, remembering the jar of organic chunky peanut butter tucked away in the back of our pantry, I was inspired to improvise a little spicy peanut lime sauce for the soba noodles we had planned for cook up for dinner.
Spicy Peanut Lime Sauce
(This may make more than you'll probably need for one meal, but it stores well in the fridge and can be re-used as a yummy salad dressing or sauce for all kinds of leftovers.)
5 tbsp. chunky peanut butter (I like Maranatha's organic, no-sugar-added peanut butters)
2 tbsp. tamari
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnish
1 tbsp. agave nectar
1 tbsp. brown rice vinegar
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes and/or drizzle of chili oil (if you use the latter, you can decrease the amount of toasted sesame oil you use)
(Note: you can tweak the proportions of agave, tamari, lime juice, and other ingredients to make the sauce sweeter, saltier, more tangy, etc.)
Combine ingredients in a food processor, and use right away or store in the refrigerator.
After cooking up a batch of soba noodles, I topped them with sliced organic cherry tomatoes, scallions, and fresh cilantro before drizzling the peanut lime sauce on top. The result was simple, healthy, and ridiculously good.
Have you tried soba noodles? How do you dress them up?