Do you ever have days when you want to run away from your everyday meals? Days when you don't want oatmeal or eggs or cereal for breakfast, a healthy-but-uninspired salad for lunch, or chicken and vegetables for dinner? Me, too. And on those days, the "run away" days, I head straight for my pantry, where I stash a large variety of Asian noodles for this exact type of culinary emergency. A bowl of ginger-lime tuna with buckwheat noodles pulls me right out of my mealtime rut. It hits all of the taste notes, tangy and slightly salty and umami-rich, without any spicy heat. (You could certainly add a squirt or two of Sriracha sauce. I'll never tell.) Make the dish vegan by substituting chunks of extra-firm tofu for the tuna, and make it easy by starting with pre-cooked and shelled edamame, which you can find in the produce section of many supermarkets. If you don't have soba noodles on hand, use any firm Asian noodles (ramen noodles work well, without the seasoning packet), or spaghetti.
Ginger-lime tuna with buckwheat (soba) noodles
4 oz buckwheat (soba) noodles
2 tsp canola or other neutral-flavored oil
6 oz fresh tuna, cut into large chunks, or extra-firm tofu, cut into large chunks
1 cup diced bok choy
1/4 cup cooked edamame (soybeans)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2-3 large scallions, sliced (white and green parts)
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 scant tsp grated fresh ginger root
1/2 tsp sesame oil
In a 3-quart sauce pan, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Drop in the noodles, return water to the boil, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the noodles taste just slightly undercooked. Drain, rinse under cool water, and drain again. Place the noodles in a large mixing bowl.
Heat canola oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, and add the chunks of tuna. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until the tuna is slightly browned on the outside but not overcooked (cut into one piece to test). When the tuna is done, add it to the bowl with the noodles, along with the bok choy, edamame, bell pepper and scallions.
In a small glass measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce, lime zest and juice, honey, rice vinegar, grated ginger and sesame oil. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.
Pour the dressing over the noodles and tuna, and toss gently to combine. Let the dish sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes; the noodles will continue to cook, and will absorb some of the dressing. Stir gently every few minutes, to distribute the dressing that gathers at the bottom of the bowl.
Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate and serve chilled. Can be made 1-2 days in advance.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Asian chicken and soba salad, from Food Blogga
Zucchini soba salad, from Andrea Meyers
Ginger soba noodles, from 101 Cookbooks
Ginger beef soba noodle soup, from Eliza Domestica
Momofuku's ginger scallion noodles, from Amateur Gourmet
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