Here's a keeper recipe for a vegan Sesame Soba Noodle Bowl with Sauteed Spinach and Tofu, to get your new year off to a healthy start!
Hereabouts there's not much sense of the calendar turning other than the school thing. One week of having an eight-year-old around all day can get even a perfectly sane person off-kilter, and I am not that sane. So it is with hope and joy and many reasons that have nothing to do with the New Year that I await Jan. 2, the day winter break finally gives way to a few more weeks of school.
Having Jay around for the holidays also means many, many demands for food that are fun to cook, but don't exactly scale the "healthy" charts, especially during a time of year that already makes too many demands on the waistline. The "p" word is usually at the top of the list. "Mom, can we have pizza rolls today?", "Mom, hasn't it been a long time since you made a pizza?", "Mom, can we have a picnic lunch today and order some pizza?"
As you can see, there are many ways to ask the same question accompanied by an appealing squint of the eyes and a pout that's impossible to say no to.
But for the adults among us, the New Year also brings with it more of those inevitable pangs and twinges of guilt, especially when one looks in the mirror and discovers a little more of oneself.
So this New Year's there's going to be more of the "my-body-is-a-temple" stuff and less pizza, or so the plan is. And while Jay is not going to find out about it before he sits down at the dinner table, I am not too worried he'll complain. I plan to make it all taste good, you see. 😉
Besides, how can you go wrong with anything you can layer and serve up in a bowl. Long before bowls became a thing, Buddha and all, I've been a fan of eating just about everything out of a bowl. Here's a fact about me you didn't know: I find it hard to make my way around a plate. All that food spread out on a dish just makes me me want to squish it all together in the middle and spoon it into my mouth.
My Sesame Soba Noodle Bowl with Spinach and Tofu is incredibly delicious, but what you'll also love about it, as the new year dawns, is that it is extremely low fat and great for you. There's only a tiny bit of fat here, in the sauteed spinach and in the sesame seeds, but then that's fat you gotta love, right, because it's good for you! The rest of it, the noodles, their sauce, and the tofu, are impeccably free of any added fats.
But there is a ton of flavor in this soba noodle bowl. So much so, in fact, that I was scooping up those noodles with my chopsticks straight out of the pan and stuffing them into my mouth. You'll likely be, ahem, far more elegant about it, but you get the idea? Besides, did you know that soba noodles are considered lucky new year's eve food in Japan?
Hope everyone's looking forward to 2017! My resolution this year is to eat, cook, and share many, many more recipes on this blog than I did in 2016, when a number of things pulled me in every direction. What's yours?
Sesame Soba Noodle Bowl with Sauteed Spinach and Tofu
For sesame soba noodles:
- 8 oz soba noodles
- 2 tablespoon white sesame seeds (lightly toasted)
- 2 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon sriracha (can sub chili garlic sauce for a delicious variation)
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar (or mirin, or can sub with apple cider vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon ginger (crushed into a paste)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed into a paste)
For sauteed spinach
- 1 bunch spinach (approx 8 cups chopped)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the baked tofu:
- 16 oz extra firm tofu (cut horizontally into six slices)
- 1 teaspoon sriracha (can sub with chili garlic sauce, as for the noodles)
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar (or mirin. Can sub with apple cider vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
Make the soba noodles:
- Cook the soba noodles in water until al dente. Drain.
- In a large bowl, toss together the drained soba noodles with all the other ingredients.
Make the sauteed spinach:
- Heat the oil in a skillet.
Add the sesame seeds and toast for a minute. Add the red pepper flakes, stir in, and then add spinach leaves and soy sauce.Toss the spinach well to mix and let it cook until completely wilted and spinach is tender. It shouldn't take more than 3-5 minutes.Turn off the heat.
Make the baked tofu:
- In a large bowl or dish, mix all ingredients except the tofu.Place the sliced tofu in the bowl and gently turn to coat the tofu with the marinade.Let the tofu stand in the marinade at least 30 minutes.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Line a baking sheet (preferably one with a rim) with aluminum foil, and coat with an oil spray.Place the tofu in the baking sheet, in a single layer. Bake 35-45 minutes, turning over once halfway through, or until the tofu is lightly golden-brown and feels firm and chewy.Cut into ½-inch cubes.
Assemble the bowl:
- To assemble the bowl, layer on the soba noodles, the spinach and the tofu. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
Delicious!! However, prep & cook time don’t align with the directions. Must account for 30min of marinating the tofu and 35-45min of baking the tofu. 15min prep & 15 min cook time is a bit misleading.
So happy you enjoyed this. Point well taken on the timing and I'll update that.
Vaishali, this is so good! I've made it a few times, using spinach, kale, broccoli, or arugula as the greens -- whatever's in the fridge and it's always delicious. I air-fried the tofu, which takes about half the time of baking it and it's nice and chewy. Thank you!
So happy you've enjoyed it, Jain!
Happy New Year, Vaishali!
Thank you for this delicious-looking meal. This is the very next thing that I'm going to make. I too love to eat from bowls rather than plates. Several summers ago, my husband and I visited a favorite pottery shop in rural Wisconsin and each bought a lovely large bowl. They are our favorite dishes to eat from.
So far this year I've been eating farro bowls with assorted veggies. My goal is to incorporate more whole grains into my diet this year.
Wishing you and your family health and happiness!
A happy new year to you, Nancy-- and hope you try! I love the idea of farro bowls with veggies.
correction - the word processor changed channa to chain....
a simple channa, very lightly season
Hi Ruth, your meal with your Indian friend sounds delicious. I've posted a few fasting recipes, like Sabudana Vada and a flatbread made with colocasia or arvi flour. There are a few others, and I've included the links here: https://holycowvegan.net/sabudana-vada-tapioca-pearl-fritters/
Thanks Vaishali, These are just the recipes that I was looking for....
First I want to wish you and your family a happy new year filled with laughter, joy, good health and success & for the animals I wish all the blessings of ahimsa...
I spent new year's day with my Indian friend.... First I went to a puja with her and her family.... The food she prepared was very simple Indian food... a simple toor dal with just curry leaf, chili powder and turmeric... then she made a simple dish with potatoes & tapioca, a pudding made with besan, flat patties made with sorghum & a simple chain, very lightly seasoned... It was very simple food, a good antidote to all the heavy eating of the holiday season....
I know you have included fasting recipes in the past... would it be possible to list those... and/or add some new ones. I really like that version of food in addition to all the other more spiced dishes....
Best Wishes for 2017,
That noodle bowl looks so delicious and so easy to make. This is my kind of a dish and I am going to try it real soon.
Wish you and your family a very happy New Year.
Thanks, Pavani, hope you try, and a happy new year to you and your family too!