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.

 

Self-Care Practices

Making time to give to ourselves is such an important part of our overall wellbeing. The intention and commitment to self-care can be as nourishing as the actions themselves. For most of us this time of year sees an abundance of giving. It brings so much joy to shower our friends and loved ones with uninterrupted time, pressies, meals, etc. and it is often the self-gifting (my term) that gets side lined to prioritise others. I know for me to feel at my best and most vibrant some practices are a must.
Here are 3 suggestions from my current list that I invite you to join me in practicing:
1. Mindfulness – my preference is to sit with my eyes closed for 20mins before conversing out loud but school holidays can mean that the day gets under way before I have time. On these days I make a point of acting mindfully at some time during the day i.e. attempting to keep my full attention on an activity that I am engaged in such as hanging washing, eating a meal or having a conversation.
2. Exercising every day – I love walking in nature to get my visual dose of greens. I am blessed to be near creeks and parklands but just being out in the wider world can do the trick.
3. Experimenting with new meals – Food is an essential ingredient when it comes to feeling great and you know what they say, a change is as good as a holiday. I am head chef in our family, not necessarily by choice, although I do love nurturing and supporting my family’s health and wellbeing through our food, and I consider myself lucky that my efforts are welcomed and appreciated. Having the time and space to get creative with new ingredients and recipes at this time of year reinvigorates our meal times with excitement and surprise. (It also means that when life steps back into full swing the reperoire has been refreshed and extended. I find it easier to prepare a well rehearsed meal at the end of a tiring day than find the energy to get creative).
These are my self-gifts. Perhaps they inspire you to find time for your own self-gifting. I would love to hear what is working for you at the moment and I too will keep you posted.