Soba Noodle Salad Recipe with Garlic Scapes
May in Illinois is full of possibilities. Temperatures are finally warming up, and spring planting is beginning. It is the time of year to be eagerly awaiting the new season of fresh produce. Farmers’ markets are starting to open for the summer season, but in May, fresh produce is just beginning. We can find asparagus in abundance, as well as garlic scapes, the stalks that grow from the garlic bulb. They are harvested before flowering, have a mild, garlicy taste and are a fun addition to any recipe. Use them like a chive or green onion.
So, while we anticipate the coming season, try this Asian salad-inspired Soba Noodle Salad with a few of the currently available items. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat and are readily available at local markets.
Soba Noodle Salad
Yields: 6 servings
1 lb roasted, fresh asparagus
1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
10½ oz dried soba noodles
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice, about 2 lemons
2 Tbsp sunflower or other vegetable oil
10½-inch knob fresh peeler ginger, grated
1 large English cucumber, ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh garlic scapes, chopped
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
Roast the asparagus. Place the trimmed asparagus on a cookie sheet, with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven until the ends turn brown, about 10 minutes. Cool and cut into 1-inch, bite-size pieces.
Bring a pot of water to a full boil. Add soba noodles and cook until tender, according to package instructions. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold running water until chilled.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon juice, sunflower oil and ginger. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine soba noodles, asparagus, garlic scapes, cucumber and soy dressing. Toss well. Season with salt, add sesame seeds and serve.
This recipe is inspired by Daniel Gritzer, of Serious Eats. Janie Maxwell, MS, RDN, LDN, is the executive director of the Illinois Farmers Market Association (ILFMA), which supports local food and food systems by giving Illinois farmers’ markets and producers access to resources, education and connections in order to grow healthier and economically vibrant communities. For more information, visit ilfma.org.