When I first became gluten-free, I thought soba noodle salad would be my savior. That was almost 4 years ago, believe it or not. And let me tell you, I had a rude awakening the first time I tried to cook with 100 percent buckwheat noodles.
First of all, they were very difficult to find. Eden Organic seemed to be the only name in town and since the packages all looked identical, it took more than one trip to the grocery store to buy the correct kind that didn’t contain any wheat flour.
Once I finally got to cooking them, I quickly discovered why 100 percent buckwheat noodles aren’t really a thing. All it took was a couple aggressive bubbles in my simmering pot of water to cause the strands to break apart into 1-inch pieces…which then also somehow managed to get completely stuck together.
After that, I put my love for cold soba noodle salad on the back burner in favor of sturdy brown rice spaghetti in peanut sauce or vermicelli tossed with nuoc cham. But as the new gluten-free pasta brands started to multiply on the shelves of Whole Foods like a couple of feral hamsters, I discovered some better alternatives to the ole soba noodle predicament. I highlighted these King Soba noodles in my round-up of the best gluten free pasta brands, and they’ve proved time and time again to be a total winner.
When I was brainstorming eat yourself pretty recipes for this month of the wellness project, I remembered a great recipe for Almond Butter Noodles from my friend Alexis Wolfer’s book The Recipe for Radiance, which is an amazing resource for ways to eat and apply your way to better skin. I decided to riff on her soba noodle salad and combine it with another idea for a sesame cabbage slaw.
The soba noodles themselves are made from a mixture of buckwheat flour, which contains lots of good fatty acids to help keep the skin soft and subtle, and vitamin A-packed sweet potato. Though the red peppers are great for vitamin C, the real skin star in this recipe is the cabbage.
Remember the cabbage soup diet? As cray cray as the idea of eating nothing but a sulfury soup sounds, it became a fad because of this veggie’s incredible detoxifying powers. Cabbage contains an antioxidant that helps the liver naturally flush out the toxins it works so hard to sort everyday. And as we briefly discussed last month, a healthy liver is the key to healthy skin. If things aren’t being evacuated properly, all that junk just takes the first available exit ramp to your face.
If you’re looking for a healthy brown bag option, this sesame soba noodle salad is perfect to make on Sunday and eat for lunch all week long. Since my detox, I’ve been trying to make my weekdays as healthy as possible so that there’s room for all the more hedonism by Friday at 5pm, and veggie main courses like this have been helping me get there.
Cold Sesame Soba Noodle Salad with Cabbage Slaw
- 1/4 cup gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar divided
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- 1/2 head Napa cabbage about 4 cups, shredded
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- 8 ounces gluten-free buckwheat soba noodles
- Black sesame seeds optional, for garnish
In a large bowl, whisk together the tamari, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, honey and sriracha. Add the cabbage, pepper and scallions; toss to combine.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the soba noodles according to package directions and rinse under cold water. Add to the cabbage mixture and gently toss.
Transfer the cold sesame soba noodle salad to a serving plate and garnish with sesame seeds, if using.