For most people, even experienced cooks, weeknight dinners are not so much a result of careful planning but of what’s on hand — and what can be accomplished fairly quickly. Noodles of all kinds are easy and beloved. But soba noodles, a Japanese staple, are special: they usually take no more than 3 to 4 minutes to cook and, because they’re made from buckwheat, have a slightly firm texture and a nutty flavor. Traditionally, soba are served hot and cold, making them a flexible partner for almost any fresh ingredients you have in the kitchen. In this case, they’re paired with shelled frozen edamame, carrots and spinach, and a light dressing.
Freshly ground pepper
3 to 4 ounces soba noodles
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups edamame (frozen are fine)
2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
Juice of one lime
2 tablespoons white or light miso
1 tablespoon mirin or 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
1 10-ounce package fresh spinach, washed and trimmed
¼ cup chopped scallion
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Drop in the noodles and carrot and cook until tender, 2 to 4 minutes; add the edamame for about 15 to 30 seconds just to warm, then drain everything in a colander. Set aside.
2. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, lime juice, miso and mirin or sugar. Add spinach, noodles, carrot, edamame, scallion, and toss; then taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with grated ginger at the table.