Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cold Soba Noodle Salad

It has not been easy to blog lately. Not because I haven’t had anything to share, I just can seem to get focused enough to get to a computer and write after sitting in front of a computer all day. Every time I take a hiatus I pretend like that is the last one, but let’s face it. This won’t be the last one. However, if anyone is still reading I’ll keep trying to post!

I wrote a while back about a mango salad that I love from a Thai restaurant in Edmonton. Then I made my own version of it… and I forgot immediately that I did that and made another version. Similar flavours, but slightly different too including a different grain. I tried cooking with soba noodles not long ago and was amazed at how much I loved them. They are a nice change from regular pasta and although they look like pasta and they taste kind of like pasta, I seem to only want to put them in more Asian-style dishes. Not quite sure why. Main reasons why I like this dish is that it is good cold and at room temperature which is great when I am taking things to work or while travelling; and there is very little labour time involved. If you happen to be a lucky person with a mandolin, bring it out for this one and you will have the veggies ready in a couple minutes. If I had a mandolin I would have julienned the cucumber, but after chopping the mango, I lost all interest and just sliced it. This salad could also have different fruit in it. Pineapple comes to mind as a good one.

Normally I pick out an ingredient and find some info on the nutrients on it, but I am trying something new. New as in I am actually attempting to get the nutritional information for some of my recipes.  I have never paid a whole lot of attention to the nutritional info. Most things that I cook are made from whole ingredients and I think are pretty healthy. Some things definitely are not, but really, who wants a healthy cookie anyways? A few weeks ago, a friend was arguing with me about vegans not being able to get proper nutrients in their diets. Personally, I thought this was bullshit, especially coming from a person that lives for junk food and doesn’t cook more than once a month. So I decided to log what I ate for a week and see where I stood. The results were mostly expected, but a few things surprised me:
  1. I don’t get enough vitamin C – How is that possible? I eat fruit and vegetables every day. I looked a little closer at my diet and I actually don’t eat a lot of fruit and veg that is high in vitamin C. I also don’t drink juice. Some days I get enough, but I think because this is the vitamin that most people get too much of, I just wasn't thinking it should be monitored. I guess I was wrong!
  2. I don’t always get enough Calcium: This one I was not as shocked at. Before going vegan I drank more milk than most families do. I was getting more than my fill of calcium. When I stopped, I replaced milk with water and never thought about making sure I was getting enough calcium the week I did this food diary I was also being a little lazy and not eating a lot of greens. If I eat greens every day, I see to be fine.. Something to remember the next time I think about not buying greens to save a buck.

  3. I don't get enough vitamin D – Another problem that comes from switching to a vegan diet. This vitamin is trickier to get as a vegan. Easiest way to get it is to go outside. During the time of logging what I ate, I was riding my bike outside and that wasn't calculated here. When I am not going outside (you only need 15 minutes), I will need to remember to drink orange juice and non-dairy milk that is fortified with it.

  4. Selenium – Seems I was low on this one too. Normally I eat a lot of grains, so I am rarely deficient. However, it is a reminder than this is another vitamin that seems to be easier to get from non-vegan sources. If you are eating your whole grains though, you’ll get enough. Mushrooms and sunflower seeds are a good source as well.
Most nutrients and vitamins I was getting more than my recommended daily intake. Not so much that I was getting too much, so this was good. Watching closely what I ate for a week was a little time invasive, but it reminded me how vegan diets are really only good when I am eating healthy. Like any diet really. Regardless of being vegan, if I don’t eat a lot of whole grains, vegetables and fruit, I will start to become deficient. Honestly if I eat enough whole foods to get the proper vitamins, I don’t want junk anyways… thinking there may be something to this way of thinking. It’s been a few weeks since I have logged what I ate, so I am going to try another week and see if knowing the areas I tend to be deficient if it will be enough to get me more on track.

With all of that said, here is the recipe for my soba noodle salad. It has vegetables, fruit and whole grain.

Cold Soba Noodle Salad
3-4 servings, takes about 45 minute, most of this is inactive
  • -          2 bundles of soba noodles (6 oz.)
  • -          2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • -          Scant ½ cup of rice vinegar
  • -          2 Tbsp. sugar
  • -          1 Tbsp. Lime juice
  • -          Rind of one lime
  • -          1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • -          ½ jalapeno, chopped fine or 1-2 tsp. of chili flakes
  • -          ½ small red onion sliced very thin (not pictured, I added it after the fact)
  • -          ½ long English cucumber sliced on the diagonal (Can peel, but don’t have to)
  • -          1 mango, peeled and julienne
  • -          2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • -          ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • -          ¼ cup chopped salted peanuts
  • -          Extra lime slices (optional)
  • -          Chopped cilantro (optional)

Get two pots and fill the large one with water for the soba noodles and bring to a boil. While you are waiting, put the vinegar and sugar into a small sauce pot and heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. At this point the water should be boiling. Cook the soba noodles according to the instructions (about 3-4 minutes). In the sauce pot, add in the onion, garlic, jalapeno lime and oil and stir well to combine. Let this cook for a couple minutes. When everything is done, strain the soba noodles very well and put them in a large bowl. Pour the sauce over top of it and stir very well to combine. Put the noodles in the fridge and let them cool for about a half hour or so.
Making the dressing..

Careful with these noodles, you want them al dente.
They can over-cook very easily!

When the noodles are cold, chop up the mango, cucumber, mint, basil and peanuts. Add it all to the salad and stir well. This salad is best if you can let it stand for a while and let the ingredients meld, but could be eaten right away. Serve with extra lime and/or chopped cilantro

Nutrition Facts
User Entered Recipe
  3 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Total Fat
15.5 g
  Saturated Fat
2.2 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat
5.8 g
  Monounsaturated Fat
6.7 g
0.0 mg
47.8 mg
331.3 mg
  Total Carbohydrate
42.7 g
  Dietary Fiber
3.1 g
19.5 g
6.7 g

  Vitamin A
15.5 %
  Vitamin B-12
0.0 %
  Vitamin B-6
10.6 %
  Vitamin C
47.8 %
  Vitamin D
0.0 %
  Vitamin E
10.9 %
3.0 %
10.0 %
11.1 %
5.0 %
10.7 %
28.9 %
12.8 %
  Pantothenic Acid    
5.5 %
8.4 %
5.1 %
2.1 %
11.6 %
4.4 %

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