Spicy noodles with asparagus and broccoli

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It really feels like spring this week. It is in the 70s here (80s tomorrow!). The kids are playing in the backyard without shirts or shoes. The birds are happily tweeting away in the freshly-greened trees. There is a breeze blowing that softly reminds me that winter still has a tiny hold, but the air smells like summer. While I should be gathering laundry and dusting tables, I feel more inclined to sit and soak up the sun. "The dishes can wait," says the slacker in me, "go get your Kindle!"

I have been keeping a close eye on the roadside strawberry stands near my house. They should be open really soon and I can't wait! It is also the beginning of asparagus season. I've been known to eat an entire pound of asparagus myself. It is just that good.

I usually roast it in the oven with a little olive oil and sea salt.

Last night, though, I was ravenous when I got home from triathlon training. Instead of asparagus alone, I wanted something more substantial. These spicy noodles come together really quickly and the recipe makes a ton so you'll have leftovers for another night or for lunches throughout the week. This dish is intended to be eaten cold, like a salad, but it would be fine warm as well.

Spicy Noodles With Asparagus and Broccoli
  • ~15 ounces of soba noodles or whole wheat pasta*
  • 2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, cut in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (lightly toast them in a dry skillet or buy toasted seeds)
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 low sodium soy sauce*
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (or other hot sauce or chili flakes, adjust amount based on desired spice level)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp aji-mirin (rice wine), optional
  1. Cook the noodles according to the package directions. In the last minute of cooking, add the broccoli and asparagus to the pot. When finished cooking, drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking and rinse away the starch that makes the noodles stick together.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the noodle mixture with the carrots, sesame seeds, and green onions.
  3. Make the sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and aji-mirin. Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss well. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
*Gluten free: This dish can be made gluten free by substituting rice or other gluten free noodles and using a gluten free tamari (soy sauce). If using full-sodium soy sauce, reduce the amount by 1/4 to 1/2 (down to 2-3 tablespoons).

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