Summer honestly seems to be coming to an end like a freight train. I can’t remember the last time that there was such clear shift between summer and fall. The trees right outside my bedroom window are already changing colors. We haven’t had a cold wave or anything come through that could cause this. But here I am. Staring at an already orange tree. Are any of you having this or is it just lucky Minnesota?
This drastic shift has really made me think about the idea of “you eat with your eyes first”. Just looking at these trees makes me start thinking of squash, thanksgiving dinner, and the dreaded pumpkin spice season. Even my sister is revving up for it. But above all, it has really made me begin switching over from a lot of smoothie bowls and nice cream to warmer cooked foods. It’s still pretty strange to be eating soups when it’s 70 degrees outside, but you can understand. Hopefully.
I am, in my own way, meeting the seasons halfway this week. Practically every day I have been having soba noodle bowls. They are probably one of the quickest things to make that actually look like you put in a whole lot of effort in to them. But it only takes thirty minutes and they are so easy to change. You can have a completely new flavor combination every day.
That’s all it is. Plus, any of the three can easily be changed. There are several different varieties of soba noodles, countless vegetables, and endless possibilities with how you choose to flavor the broth that it’s so easy to eat this as often as you want.
This ability to adapt your bowl is especially nice if you have several different taste palates in the house at one time. Simply cook up the noodles and vegetables and leave them separated from each other and then make two different flavors of the broth. From there, each person can build their own noodle bowl to make it specific to themselves. When I have done this method in the past, I will usually make one broth that is spicy and one that is much milder, so any of the spice babies will be able to have a broth as well. And this is coming from an ex-spice baby. Even mustard use to be too spicy for me.
My spice baby tendencies have faded a lot, especially over the past couple of years. I have really started to embrace the heat in food, even if some still leave me gasping for water. For me, spicy food now correlates with summer time. So even though this dish can be soup-like, it still has the kick that brings you back to the actual season you’re in.
The temperature aside, this is actually the perfect way to break up the same monotonous flavors that usually plague me during the summer months. And it’s nothing for lack of trying. After a long day, I simply fall prey to throwing the exact same couple of ingredients on the grill and using the exact same seasoning day after day. I have nothing against grills but I can only eat charred food so many times in a week before I physically cannot do it anymore.
That being said, if you would like, you can easily cook the vegetables on the grill instead of in the broth to add another dimension of flavor to the dish. As long as you follow the recipe and marinated them differently than you would your usual grilled vegetables, it will taste completely different from just plain old grilled vegetables. However, if do you choose to cook them this way, you will either need to cook many of the vegetables in a pan specific for a grill so they don’t fall through or you can leave them in their whole form and chop them up after they are cooked. Either works out but the latter may take slightly longer.
With this bowl, you have a bit of spice along with a bit of freshness from the vegetables and toppings. If you would like even more freshness, do not cook your vegetables as the recipe calls for and instead place them into the broth raw. Or you can still cook the vegetables, but place thinly sliced cucumber, carrots, and lettuce on to the top of the dish. It helps to keep this dish fresh, cleanse the palate and also adds a bit of a crunch to it.
These bowls are perfect for either a quick lunch in the afternoon or a late summer night meal. For the full family or just for yourself. Any way you like to eat them is the perfect way to celebrate the final days of the summer while welcoming in the cooler weather. If any of you decide to make your own bowl, I would absolutely love to see the bowls combos you come up with! I am always looking for new combinations to spice up my bowls and add to the ever-growing list of bowls I need to try before summer is over.
- 4 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
- 8 ounces tempeh, cubed
- 1 head of broccoli, chopped
- 2 Bok Choy, chopped
- 1 cup snow peas
- 1 cup edamame beans
- Sesame seeds
- Spring Onion
- Chili Flakes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons gochujang or another hot chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- ½-1 tablespoon chili flakes
- 1 spring onion, chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- 3 mint leaves
- Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, place the noodles into the pot and give a quick stir to make sure all of the noodles are completely submerged in the water. Allow to cook for 5 minutes. Once finished, drain out excess water and wash the noodles in cold water for a few minutes. Make sure to rub them relatively hard in order to prevent the noodles from sticking together.
- In another pot, add all of the broth ingredients stirring occasionally until it begins to boil. Add the tempeh into the broth and allow to cook alone for 1 minute. Add the Bok Choy, broccoli, snow peas and edamame and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes. Reduce broth to a simmer and remove all of the cooked ingredients, setting aside for a moment.
- In 4 small bowls, add roughly ¼ of the cooked noodles and a hefty scoop of the vegetable/tempeh mix on top. Remove the broth from the heat and pour over each noodle bowl. Top with sesame seeds, spring onion, and chili flakes and enjoy~