Summer Soba Salad

Michelle's photos - Jan 2015 236

Cool salads are my go-to meals during the summer months. I’m on holidays and don’t feel like spending much time hidden away in the kitchen, and besides, no one feels like eating large, heavy meals in the heat.  With smaller portion sizes it is important that each bowl is packed with health-giving nutrients.

Soba literally means “buckwheat” in Japanese and is also the name of the thin noodles made from buckwheat flour. They are versatile, nutty and make a great gluten free option, as long as they do not contain wheat flour. The health benefits of including buckwheat into your diet are numerous and you can read more over here in a previous post.

This recipe also contains Umeboshi vinegar (it can be substituted but worth the investment). Umeboshi plums are considered the king of alkaline foods, highly respected in Japan for their remarkable medicinal properties in balancing the body and helping with indigestion. It can be used in any salads, just drizzle a small amount of Umeboshi vinegar over some olive oil–  it’s salty so start with only a little and taste from there.

Seaweed is known as an ancient super food and I include some Nori in this recipe to prop up the nutritional values. Seaweed draws an abundance of minerals from the sea. It is high in iodine, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamins C and A, protein, Vitamins B, fibre and, alpha linoleic acid, EPA, and so much more. There are many varieties and it is worth experimenting to find ways of including more sea vegetables into your diet on a regular basis.

When making this salad be sure to create a complete meal. Combine seasonal vegetables with your preferred choice of protein. Good options include pan-fried tofu, grilled fish or a poached egg. My children prefer a boiled egg on the side (not pictured).

Here is my variation….

Summer soba salad

Serves 4

  • 2 bundles organic soba noodles (if gluten is an issue check that the ingredients do not include wheat flour)
  • coconut oil for cooking
  • 2 medium carrots julienned
  • 2 cups shredded kale (remove stem first)
  • 1/4 small white shredded cabbage
  • 1 bunch chopped broccolini
  • 2 small raw Lebanese cucumbers julienned
  • 2 sheets Nori to garnish

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Umeboshi vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • pinch sea salt
  • lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

In a small jar combine salad dressing ingredients and shake to combine. Allow dressing to sit and infuse.

Cook soba noodles in boiling water according to packet directions. Drain and blanche in cold water  to avoid over cooking. Drain.

Lightly sauté cabbage, kale,  carrots and broccolini  in coconut oil until tender.

Heat a wok or non stick pan with a little coconut oil and lightly saute cabbage, kale,  carrots and broccolini.

Combine the raw cucumber, cooked vegetables and soba noodles in a bowl and drizzle with dressing.

Divide into 4 bowls and top with your choice of protein.

Use scissors to cut Nori sheets into thin strips and garnish.

 

blueberry and banana buckwheat pancakes

blueberry buckwheat pancakes

Although commonly thought of as a grain buckwheat is actually a seed.  In culinary terms though,  buckwheat has an earthy flavour and is cooked and prepared in the same manner as other whole grains, making it a perfect gluten free stand-in for other grains.

Buckwheat is prized for its super nutrition and versatility and is an excellent source of protein and amino acids. It has excellent protective health benefits for the cardiovascular system, helping to reduce cholesterol and as well as stabilise and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Chia seeds, alongside blueberries, add a high dose of antioxidants to this dish as well as potassium, calcium, protein and omega 3.

This pancake recipe is gluten free and dairy free.

Makes 8 pancakes

  • 1 cup organic wholegrain buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup (or 2 tbsp sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk (rice, almond or your own preferred)
  • 2 tbsp melted organic coconut butter, and extra for frying
  • punnet of fresh blueberries
  • honey (or extra maple syrup) to serve
  • banana
  • chia seeds to garnish
  • organic natural yogurt (or a dairy free option)

In a large bowl combine buckwheat flour, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl combine egg, milk, maple syrup and coconut butter and beat well.

Add the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and, once combined, gently fold in 1/2 punnet blueberries. This will make quite a thick batter.

Heat a non stick pan with a little coconut oil and drop in about 3 tablespoons of batter for each pancake. Cook on a low heat to ensure the mixture cooks through. Cook for approx 2 mins and then turn the pancake over gently and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the pancake is browning and cooked through.

To serve,  slice a banana and top with organic yogurt and the remainder of the fresh blueberries. Pour over a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and garnish with chia seeds.

Alternatively top with seasonal fruits or spiced compote. Garnish with nuts and/or seeds.