I’ve been a dedicated – and admittedly uncool – brown-bagger for as many years as I’ve been working a full time job. More than just the limited food options nearby, I bring my lunch to eat healthy and stretch my paycheck.
This is the sort of dish that makes it easy to bring your lunch to work. Quick to make, packed with toasty sesame and warm chili flavors, and effortlessly vegan. It’s all about making meals play double duty – you know, cook once, eat twice.
I made this soba noodle dish after a Sunday shopping excursion when I returned home ravenous. I whacked it together in a few hasty minutes and gobbled it up even quicker.
After Fabes took a serving, I still had enough left over to consider bulking it up for my Monday lunch. I added a ½ cup of chickpeas and some sautéed mushrooms. The leftovers are even better because the flavors of the dressing fully infuse the noodles and the kale, making for a lunch you can get excited to about.
So friends, the moral of this story is: if you have 10-15 minutes you can have two lunches. Or a dinner and a lunch. Or dinner for two.
And that you shouldn’t be too cool to bring your lunch.
Sesame Chili Soba Noodles with Kale and Avocado
Vegan, vegetarian, nut-free.
Serves 2 as a main, 3-4 as a side
- 6 ounces/180 grams soba noodles (or 2 of the 3 portions in the packet)
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale, washed and roughly chopped, with inner stems removed and put aside*
- 3 green onions/scallions, whites and light green parts thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons toasted pepitas
- ½ avocado cut into pieces
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons chili paste
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped or grated on a microplane
To toast sesame seeds and pepitas: Place seeds in a dry pan over a medium-low heat. Shaking the pan occasionally, cook for about 5 minutes until golden and fragrant.
Set a large pot of salted water to boil.
Meanwhile, mix all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
When the water is boiling, toss in your noodles and your kale and cook until the noodles are tender and cooked through – mine took about 3-4 minutes.
Drain the noodles and kale and place in a bowl with half of the green onions, half of the seeds and half of the dressing and toss to combine, adding more dressing to your liking.
Top with remaining green onions, seeds and the avocado slices and serve. Or refrigerate once cooled and serve the next day.
*I use my kale stems in pesto and other herby purees and dips.