An Asian-flavored dish of sesame soba noodles is laced through with collard greens (or lacinato kale) and flavored with a triple dose of sesame — tahini, seeds, and oil. Did you know that sesame and collards are rich sources of calcium? You can think about that while making and eating this dish, though your taste buds will be focused on how delectable it is.
About soba noodles: A beloved, traditional noodles originating in Japan, these noodles are dark and robust. Yet, soba noodles have a smooth texture, unlike many whole-grain pastas.
Thin and spaghetti-shaped, the buckwheat flour content in the noodles varies, from as much as 80 percent to as little as 20 percent. The packages state the proportion. Learn more in our guide to soba noodles.
Noodle swaps: Though soba noodles suit this dish in an excellent way, feel free use a different long, thin noodle for this dish — udon, yakisoba, rice noodles, or even regular spaghetti or linguine.
About the leafy greens: It’s well known that collard greens are one of the best sources of highly absorbable calcium, but until you know how to tame those outsized leaves, they can seem a bit intimidating. My favorite way to use them is cutting them into long ribbons that entwine deliciously with noodles.
If you prefer kale, feel free to use lacinato, with its handsome, long dark green leaves. Your ribbons will be a bit more crinkly and wobbly, but it will still taste great.
Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
- ¼ cup water
- Juice of ½ lime (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, or more, to taste
- 2 tablespoons natural granulated sugar or agave nectar
- 8-ounce package soba (buckwheat) noodles
- 10 to 12 collard green or lacinato kale leaves
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- 4 cups green cabbage, cut into long, narrow shreds
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into long narrow strips
- 2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (regular or black)
- Dried hot red pepper flakes or Sriracha to taste
- Fresh cilantro leaves and lime wedges for garnish
- Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl, whisk together, and set aside.
Cook the noodles according to package directions until al dente, then drain.
- Meanwhile, cut the stem away from the greens with kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Stack 6 to 8 halves of leaves at a time. Roll the leaves up snugly from one of the narrow ends, then slice thinly crosswise. When the slices unroll, they’ll be long ribbons. Give them a good rinse in a colander.
- Heat the oil in a stir-fry pan. Add the ribbons of greens and cover; once they wilt down a bit, add the cabbage and bell pepper. Turn up the heat and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or just until the veggies are tender-crisp. Remove from the heat.
- Add the cooked noodles to the pan. Use a large fork to mix the noodles thoroughly with the veggies.
- Pour the sauce into the pan, followed by sesame seeds. Season with red pepper flakes or sriracha (and taste to see if you’d like more soy sauce and lime juice). Toss thoroughly. Serve warm or at room temperature garnished with cilantro and lime wedges as desired.
Variation: Substitute 8 ounces of other long noodles for the soba — udon, rice noodles, yakisoba, or regular spaghetti or linguine.
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