Soba Noodles in Almond Sauce

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I’m finally back in California! One of the things I forget about the end of the school year is just how much of a hassle packing up is. I never realized how many various necessary/unnecessary things like glow-in-the dark stars (never used them), striped elephant rugs, and Murakami-inspired Ikea lamps I accumulated over the years. That is, I never realized just how much stuff I had until I had to fit my entire room into five boxes the size of office paper boxes.

Every time I come home, one of the first things I do is go to the pool. It’s kind of sad, really, but all it takes for me to get self-conscious about my school-year-acquired, pasty New England sheen is setting one foot on the plane and looking around at my fellow passengers, many of whom have “pre-tanned” before their flight.  So without fail, whether it’s 60 degrees outside (late Winter) or 75 (Spring), I lay out after a good swim and hope that after a good 40 minutes of sun I am no longer a whiter shade of pale. Sorry, I love that song so much I just had to say it.

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Anyway, after I’d sufficiently burnt the backs of my legs, I felt like making something cold for lunch. I wasn’t in the salad mood, so I did what I always do when the refrigerator fails me–I dug through my pantry and found some dried soba noodles. Soba’s a great healthy substitute for pastas or other noodles. It’s a Japanese noodle that can be served hot or cold, in soup or mixed in with a sauce, and is made with buckwheat, which gives it that characteristic brown-gray color. Following this “health” vein, I decided to go all out and make an almond sauce as opposed to a peanut sauce for my soba noodles. Almond butter doesn’t have as much saturated fat as peanut butter, and if you buy organic, then it won’t have any added sugars or preservatives. I made it a cold dish by simply straining the noodles, running them through cold water, placing them in a bowl, and putting them on ice. These noodles are filling and pretty healthy–great for my reintegration into the Californian scene.

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Recipe for Cold Soba Noodles in Almond Sauce (for 4 servings):

4 batches of dried soba (1 batch is generally what you can close your index finger and thumb around, touching in a ring)

Sauce:

2 tbsp almond butter

2 tbsp soy milk (rice milk or coconut milk works too)

1/2 tbsp soy sauce

1/2 tbsp rice vinegar

1/4 tbsp honey

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp chili powder

1 clove garlic, finely minced

chopped scallions for garnish

1. Boil 4 quarts of water in a pot. Add dried soba noodles to boiling water, stirring occasionally. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes. Once done, strain noodles and run under cold water. This will prevent them from sticking to each other.

2. In a separate bowl, mix all the sauce ingredients together. Toss the soba in the sauce, and plate.

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