Soba Noodles with Spinach

I know I've done a good job with dinner when we've finished eating and Joe looks down at his plate sadly and says, "I'm sad that this is gone." This Japanese-inspired soba noodle dish was one of those dinners.

I've actually never made soba noodles at home before, but it was easy and yummy as can be. Soba noodles, like quinoa, are great for vegetarians because buckwheat (the main ingredient) contains all eight essential amino acids. Yay complete proteins! The recipe does include a bunch of Asian ingredients that you might not have in your pantry, but I definitely recommend stocking up on them anyway -- then you'll have them on hand to whip up delicious boyfriend-approved meals at the drop of a hat.

 Soba Noodles with Spinach
  • 8 ounces uncooked soba noodles
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 cup scallions, sliced
  • 8 cups leaf spinach (one big bag)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
 Cook noodles according to package directions (do not overcook, or noodles will be gummy). Drain and place in a large bowl. While noodles are still warm, add vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and scallions; toss well to coat. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the sesame oil. When oil is hot, add garlic; cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spinach to pan; cover and cook until spinach wilts, about 3 to 5 minutes. Toss spinach with noodle mixture and serve.

Variations: Vegans could substitute brown rice syrup for the honey. This noodle dish would be great with a side of Asian-marinated grilled tofu (here's a sample marinade recipe from Epicurious).