Soba Noodles with Asian Greens & Peanut Sauce

My CSA has been churning out bok choy this season, and it is delicious. This past week, we also received a big bunch of tatsoi, another Asian green.  To me, these were meant to be used together, so I dreamed up this little number. I know I have a lot of recipes with peanut sauce, but I'm just such a sucker for Asian preps with peanut sauce. A little sweet, a little spicy and a little creamy (I made this with real peanut butter, not PB2, and man, it tasted indulgent). I kept the fat here low by not using any oil except for what's in the peanut butter - used broth for stir-"frying" the greens. This is a bit of chopping, but not much - all in, about 30 minutes to the table!

Soba Noodles with Asian Greens & Peanut Sauce

1 large bunch tatsoi, chopped (stems and leaves divided)
1 head bok choy, chopped (stems and leaves divided)
1 bunch scalions, chopped (white parts divided from green tops)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T. minced ginger
8 oz. soba noodles
low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

 

For the dressing:

2 T. peanut butter
2 T. rice wine vinegar
4 T. reduced sodium soy sauce
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Cook soba noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cool water, drain again and set aside.

Pour approximately 1/4 c. of the broth into a large frying pan or wok. Heat over medium-high heat. Add the tatsoi stems, bok choy stems, scallion whites, garlic and ginger and stir-fry until tender, about 4 minutes. Add more broth if the pan begins to get dry.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking together all the dressing ingredients. Set aside.

Add the bok choy and tatsoi leaves, along with the scallion greens to the pan with the stems and toss to wilt - again, add more broth if the pan gets dry.

Combine the greens mixture with the noodles and toss with the dressing. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your taste.

Serves 4.

¿What can these veggies do for you?

Let's start with bok choy, a cruciferous veggie (like broccoli and cabbage). This nutritional darling provides large amounts of vitamins A, C, and K as well as folate and calcium. A recent study detected 28 different polyphenols - antioxidant phytochemicals - in bok choy. The most prevelent was kaempferol, a molecule shown to have anti-cancer properties. Like all cruciferous vegetables, more cancer-preventive compounds are produced when bok choy is chopped before cooking.

Bok choy is uniquely beneficial for its calcium availability – bok choy is lower in oxalate, a substance that binds up calcium and prevents it from being absorbed, than most other leafy greens. 54% of the calcium in bok choy can be absorbed by the human body – compare this to 5% in spinach, a high oxalate vegetable, and 32% in milk. You can actually absorb calcium better from bok choy than from dairy products. With the bad news on calcium supplements and heart issues, it's important to try to get your daily calcium requirements from food, not supplements, if you can. Bok choy can help!

What about this tatsoi? I have to admit, this is a new-to-me veggie and I really liked it. Tatsoi, AKA spinach mustard, spoon mustard, or rosette bok choy, is another proud member of the brassica family. It has dark green spoon-shaped leaves which form a thick rosette. It has a soft creamy texture, a sweet aroma and a mild mustard flavor. Tatsoi is often compared to spinach because of its similar appearance, and because it shrinks significantly when cooked. The taste, however, is entirely different. Tatsoi’s flavors are sweet and earthy, and it has a more cabbage-like texture which I like for stir-frying. Spinach gets too slimy for my taste. Like other crucifers, it contains phytochemicals that can act as powerful antioxidants, detoxify carcinogenic substances, induce cancer cell death, and block the formation of new blood vessels necessary for the proliferation and metastasis of malignant tumors.

WHAT is not to love about these two? Try 'em!