Wednesday is the first day of fall. The Autumnal Equinox. Welcome my favorite season because: cozy sweaters, fall coats, apple-picking, apple cider, apple cider doughnuts!, upstate foliage, the smell of leaves and new beginnings in general. A fresh start. A reason to reevaluate, set new goals and start working toward them. And if you’re into pumpkin everything, it’s already pillaging the shelves of grocery stores, showing up in granola, soup, ice cream, you name it – so go ahead and celebrate that too.
Now that the cooler weather is starting to creep in, there’s nothing more satisfying than a big bowl of spicy noodles. There are times when I’m blogging about a dish and I cannot wait to be done with my food photo shoot, and not because I don’t love the process – I do – but because I want to devour whatever I just made. This dish: peanutty spicy soba noodles (made with real peanut butter!) with kale is one of those dishes. Absurdly delicious. It’s an ideal weekend lunch – a little spicy, good and salty, and a dark green veg so it feels healthy too – and your colleagues will envy your leftovers when you bring it for lunch the next day. Recipe cred to one of my favorite home cooking resources, Food 52. Happy almost fall, friends!
Serves 1, but can be doubled or tripled
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- 1/8 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter (any type, I used a chunky, organic variety)
- 3 ounces udon or soba noodles
- 1/2 bunch kale, deribbed and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces (1 packed cup)
- Chopped scallions, for serving
- Fresh cilantro, stems removed, leaves whole
- Chili flakes, for serving (optional – skip if you prefer less spice)
- Chopped peanuts, for serving
- Heat 1 quart of water in a saucepan to boil.
- In a sauté pan over low or medium-low heat, add sesame oil, soy sauce or tamari, Sriracha, and fish sauce. Stir ingredients or rotate pan to combine and let cook for about 30 seconds. Add peanut butter, stir to combine, then turn off heat.
- When water is boiling, blanch kale for about 30 seconds. Drain the kale and add it to the sauce in the sauté pan and stir to coat.
- Bring clean water to boil. When the water is boiling, add the noodles and cook until al dente. Fresh noodles will cook very quickly; dry noodles will cook in 3 to 4 minutes.
- Use tongs to add the noodles straight from the water to the sauté pan with the peanut sauce and the kale. The unstrained noodles will carry enough water to dilute the peanut sauce; if you decide to strain the noodles and then add them to the sauce, add 1 tablespoon water, as well.
- Garnish with chopped scallions, chili flakes, cilantro and chopped peanuts.