I find it really hard to eat full-stop healthy sometimes, but most especially this time of year. No garden, no sunshine to lure you outside for an off-the-cuff adventure, constant carb-y hankerings seem to fortify us against the cold (proof: there was a bathtub-sized vat of kale, celery root, chili + cauliflower mac ‘n’ cheese for staff meal the other night), the anxiousness over whether spring will ever come… It’s the season of staying cozy and holding tight, and it seems far from over up in these parts. What to eat is more often answered with reasons of comfort than thoughts of lightness.
I haven’t been strictly vegan for a while (maybe we can talk about that soon?), I love salty snacks, treats with coffee, and I sincerely enjoy a piece of not-even-remotely whole grain sourdough often. All of that and some hot chocolate, you know just in case, has been thoroughly woven into the movements of life lately. It feels good deep down in certain ways that don’t really tick the boxes for wellness inspiration boards on Pinterest (which is fine because frankly #fitspo is a little scary for me). And while I’m happy (so happy) in a general life/place-in-the-universe sense… most of my jeans are tight as eff right about now.
So when The Extra Virgin Kitchen arrived in the post, the whole aura about it felt so timely. The pictures are green, gorgeous, and full of beautiful warm weather evening light. More importantly, Susan offers loads of inspiration in the realm of food and wellness. She has so many interesting and new ideas for superfoods, grains, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. There’s lucuma fudge, beetroot ketchup, spirulina shots, buckwheat crepes with pine nut ricotta, badass breakfast bars (best title eveeeer), harissa quinoa with lemon-roasted fennel… lots of inspiration to help anyone be a little more creative and mindful in the kitchen. All of the recipes are gluten, dairy, and sugar free too (there’s some meat and fish in the mix FYI). I think flipping through this beaut might have been the spark I needed to dust off my juicer? Whatever the case, the inclination towards fresh juices, vegetables in general, plant-y proteins, and proper hydration has definitely been stronger lately.
This recipe from the salads & suppers section had me intrigued in its outright simplicity. I knew it had to be one of those things that was way more than the sum of its parts because why else would she call it “snazzy broccoli and soba noodles”? Snazzy! Some chopped brazil nuts (selenium yea yea) are stirred into a salty-awesome mix of sesame oil, tamari, garlic etc. I added a couple little things just for fun because I had them around (lime juice, ginger, tiny splash of maple syrup). It was just a little stir and pour-over kind of move and holy jeez. So good. Suspiciously good for the amount of effort really. This one is for all the peeps who don’t think they have enough time to eat well for themselves, because YOU KNOW you don’t have time to feel like shit either. Give yourself the power in a cool 15 minutes :)
simple, salty, sweet + nutty broccoli soba
lightly adapted from Susan Jane White’s The Extra Virgin Kitchen
notes: This recipe is so versatile: use any steamed/roasted/grilled/raw vegetables you like, noodles of whatever persuasion you prefer. But the sauce! Please keep the sauce :)
2-3 portions of soba noodles (I like a 1:1, sometimes 1:2, noodle + veg ratio, but make as much as you prefer)
1/2-1 full bunch of broccoli, cut into florets (save the stalks for green juice or maybe some pesto?)
1-2 garlic cloves, grated on a rasp
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled + grated on a rasp
1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
splash of maple syrup/brown rice syrup
1/2 tsp light miso
hot toasted sesame oil to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of cayenne or chili flakes
juice of 1/2 a lime
4-5 brazil nuts, chopped + divided
Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. This usually takes anywhere from 8-10 minutes once your water’s boiling. Drain them and rinse with cold water.
While the noodles are cooking, in a small bowl whisk/stir together the grated garlic, ginger, tamari, maple syrup/brown rice syrup, miso, hot toasted sesame oil, olive oil, cayenne, lime juice and chopped brazil nuts. Add a little fresh ground black pepper if you want. Set aside.
Steam the broccoli to a point you find enjoyable. I like mine still sorta raw-ish, so once the water’s simmering in the pot, that steamer basket hangs out for about 3-4 minutes.
Divide the noodles and broccoli among bowls, drizzle the sauce on top, sprinkle the tops with some extra chopped brazil nuts if you like and serve.