Consider me slightly late to the party, but recently, I’ve been having a love affair with Heidi Swanson.
Even though I am a long-time devotee of Peter Berley, another vegetarian food icon, in my post-college carnivorous state, I don’t think I gave proper mind to the more veg-centric food bloggers out there. Or, at least, in my own experimentation with their recipes.
One of my private chef clients is vegan, and it’s opened up my eyes and my palate to some very intriguing possibilities – and Heidi has been at the helm of many of them. When I came across this walnut miso sauce I thought it sounded brilliant. Cara had already introduced me to the idea of using walnuts with soba noodles, and the combination of the miso sounded like the perfect, creamy fusion twist.
When I tried the recipe, to give an added pop of color to the already vibrant chard stems that Heidi used to garnish her bowl, I decided to roast some Brussels sprouts as an extra topping for the noodles. The result was a perfect one-person noodle bowl, guilt-free and gluten-free. You can top it with whatever you like, but I would recommend going with some veggies, like the Brussels, that really bring out the earthiness of the soba and walnuts. Whichever you choose, this sauce is sure to get you out of whatever winter cooking rut you’ve found yourself in, and perhaps you too will mutter, as I did with a mouthful of soba: ah, Heidi. You’ve done it again, you saucy minx.
From my kitchen, writing recipe love notes to Heidi Swanson, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Soba Noodles with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Walnut Miso Sauce
Makes 2 servings
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced into three pieces
8 ounces soba noodles (I use Eden Organics 100 percent buckwheat because they are gluten-free)
¼ cup Walnut Miso Paste (recipe follows)
1/4 cup finely diced rainbow chard stems (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss the Brussels together with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Bake for 20-30 minutes until they are browned but still have a bite to them.
In the meantime, bring a pot of water to boil. Cook the soba noodles according to package instructions until tender (about 8 minutes for the 100 percent buckwheat version). Reserve 1/4 cup of cooking liquid. Drain the noodles and rinse them under warm water until some of the starch is gone.
Add the miso sauce to a mixing bowl and dilute with some of the cooking water until the sauce is light and creamy – more of a sauce than a paste. Toss together with the noodles.
To serve, divide the noodles between two bowls and top with a generous handful of Brussels sprouts and chard stems (if using).
Walnut Miso Sauce
Makes 1-2 cups
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks.
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium clove garlic
2 tablespoons mellow white miso paste
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon salt
1/4 cup warm water
Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add more water as necessary for the texture to wind up along the lines of mayo or pesto. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.