Soba noodles with tofu, tomatoes, and basil is a simple, lively summer pasta dish fusing Asian and Italian flavors. Flavorful ripe tomatoes are a must! It’s an easy dish that comes together quickly for a perfect summer weeknight meal.
Complete the meal: Fresh corn on the cob and a platter of crisp garden vegetables or simple salad, are enough to make this a light and satisfying warm-weather meal.
Noodle substitutes: I love the heartiness of soba (buckwheat) noodles in this dish, and they look enticing, too. but the dish won’t suffer too much if you swap in udon noodles or even ordinary long pasta like spaghetti or fettuccine.
Recipe adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
About Soba (buckwheat) noodles
Soba noodles (also referred to as buckwheat noodles are commonly available in natural food stores, though you might find them in the Asian section of well-stocked supermarkets. You might also find them in Asian groceries. They most often come in 8-ounce cellophane packages containing three bundles.
Though they’re dark and robust, 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.
Soba noodles are cooked just like ordinary pasta — in a roomy pot in plenty of steadily simmering water. They take approximately 5 to 7 minutes to cook. Best to follow package directions, just as you would any other type of pasta or noodle variety.
- 8 ounces soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles)
- 14- to 16-ounce tub firm or extra-firm tofu
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds firm, ripe tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon natural granulated sugar, or as needed
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves, or more, to taste
- 2 to 3 scallions, minced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, or to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Sriracha or dried hot red pepper flakes to taste, optional
- Cook the noodles according to package directions until al dente, then drain.
- Meanwhile, cut the tofu into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Blot between clean tea-towels or several layers of paper towel to remove excess moisture (or press ahead of time if you have a tofu press). Cut into 1/2-inch dice.
- Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the tofu and stir-fry over medium-high heat until most sides are golden. Add the tomato dice, sprinkle in the sugar, and cook just until warmed through, 2 minutes or so. Add a little more sugar if the tomatoes are acidic.
- Combine the cooked noodles and tofu-tomato mixture in a serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, toss well, and serve.
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