The other night Adam and I worked in the garden until after dark. Emily, just outside the garden gate, played basketball until she could no longer see the hoop. Earlier in the day I was talking to a friend who mentioned an evening ahead that was filled with baseball practice and other activities... I think for many of us, our spring evenings are looking quite a bit different than the cold winter months we've just left behind.
Scheduled in just the right way that works for each family, these bustling evening activities can feel wonderful as the sun hangs in the sky well past dinnertime. A hallmark of youth and springtime.
But wait! What about dinner?
Although we may linger around the dinner table a little less during this time of year, surely our children still need something to eat! And the gathering of a shared meal each day is a treasured hour that many of us strive for (even if said meal is packed up and shared on the tailgate of a car at the town ball field).
The recipe I'd like to share with you today is perfect for such evenings. This is the kind of "one pot" meal that can be prepared earlier in the day, then brought to the table (or tailgate) within five minutes of mealtime.
As I slowly retire many of my workshop recipes (making way for new ones) it is fun to share some of those with you here.
The biggest make ahead tip I can offer about a dish like this is to keep the dressing in a separate container until serving, a lidded jar is perfect for this. The liquid (especially the acidic element) in any dressing will begin to soften and break down fresh vegetables if added too soon. While it is perfectly fine to add the dressing a few hours in advance without any real detriment (it's just a salad after all), if you can keep the dressing on the side and toss it in at serving your dish will be even better for it.
This recipe was originally developed as a tasty lunch box idea, but there is no need to reserve this dish for one particular meal.
Lunch Box Noodles
A retired Whole Food Kitchen recipe.
- 8 ounces soba or udon noodles (or any noodle of your choice, even raw zucchini!)
- 2 carrots, grated
- 2 scallions, chopped (or 1/4 cup fresh chopped chives)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 cucumber, diced
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons tamari
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- 2 teaspoons chili paste (I use mild)
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
- Place cooled noodles and chopped veggies in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over noodles and gently toss to combine. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
- You could keep the dressing separate and mix in right at serving time.
- Think of other veggies you could add - grape tomato, shredded red cabbage, green peppers, chopped kale, etc.
- Great picnic or potluck recipe!
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If you find yourself enjoying the garden during these relatively bug-free evenings, or on the sideline cheering for your favorite ball players... a yummy bowl of noodles and veggies with a tasty dressing just may be the perfect springtime supper for your family.