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Monday, March 24, 2014

Asian-Inspired Meatless Monday - Fast Veggie Soba + Garlicky Greens

We may be omnivores here at Neurotic Kitchen but we sure talk a lot about Meatless Monday.  I mean it when I say that vegetables are truly among my favorite foods.  Just look at how I feel about the onion! I don't know about you but after a weekend of excess, a meatless meal always seems like a great idea. All the better if it happens to be flavor packed and incredibly easy. Today's Asian-Inspired Meatless Monday includes a fast-as-heck main course of healthy Soba Noodles with raw veggies and nuts, followed by a foolproof side dish of garlicky greens kissed with Asian flavors.  

A Raw Veggie Soba Noodle Dinner that comes together in minutes, Photo: NK

Both courses are also easily customized to your tastes and definitely lend themselves to your imagination. Master the method and the have a blast putting your own spin on things. With dinner ready in far less than a half hour, you'll have plenty of time to think up next time's new and exciting menu additions sans meat! Enjoy… 

Easy & Quick Raw Veggie Soba
Serves 3-4 

Noodle Ingredients:
8 Ounces Soba Noodles
1/3 Cup Slivered Almonds, toasted until golden
4 Scallions, slice 1/4 inch thick, both green and white parts
1 large Carrot, peeled and julienned or sliced into very thin coins then roughly chopped

Sauce Ingredients:
2 teaspoons Ground Ginger (or a Tablespoon fresh Ginger)
Zest of 1 Lime
2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce
5 Tablespoons Canola or Grapeseed Oil 
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce (plus extra if desired)

Method:
1. Mix sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. 
2. Boil water for Soba Noodles. Once boiling, add noodles and cook for 4 minutes (they should remain al dente) before draining. 
3. Return drained noodles to pan and toss in Carrots, and Scallions and then combine everything together with sauce. Plate the Soba Noodles and top with Toasted Almonds. Serve with extra Soy Sauce on the side if desired. 

Next up, a delicious Asian veggie side that works with all types of greens and is ready in minutes. We like Bok Choy so we decide on that, but you could certainly use Chinese Broccoli, Chard, or even Mustard Greens. The sky's the limit and the results of this easy cooking method won't disappoint. Don't skimp on the Garlic either. I promise it's as tasty as it looks. 


Garlicky Boy Choy, Photo: NK

Garlicky Asian Greens 
Adapted from Auria's Malaysian Kitchen
Serves 3-4 as a light side dish

Ingredients:
1 Lb Baby Bok Choy (about 5 heads)
8 Cloves of Garlic, thinly sliced and then lightly chopped
3 Tablespoons Peanut or Canola Oil
3/4 Tablespoon Vietnamese Fish Sauce or Soy Sauce 
1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
Crushed Red Pepper to taste, optional

Method:
1. Slice the Baby Bok Choy lengthwise into thin strips. 
In boiling water, blanch the sliced Bok Choy until bright green, about 1 minute or more. Drain greens and set aside. 

2. In a medium saute pan or wok, heat the oil over high heat. Add the Garlic and lower the heat to medium. Stir Garlic constantly and move the pan about until Garlic becomes golden in color, about 2 minutes. Take great care that Garlic doesn't burn and become bitter. 

3. Now add the Fish Sauce, Rice Vinegar, and optional Crushed Red Pepper. Turn Heat off.

4. Plate the Bok Choy and pour the garlic and oil mixture over each portion. Serve warm and enjoy! 

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