Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Recipe: White House Simple Soba Noodle Salad

Executive Chef Cris Comerford's healthy, veggie-laden dish created for ChopChop magazine's The Big Picnic event...
Washington, DC - The Let's Move! campaign has offered recipes from the White House chefs for ChopChop magazine's The Big Picnic, a nationwide family celebration of healthy cooking and eating scheduled for this Sunday, Sept. 22 (more details here).  The White House Simple Soba Noodle Salad created by Executive Chef Cris Comerford, is laden with fresh vegetables that all grow in First Lady Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden (where Comerford is pictured, above).

"This is an easy recipe that is a great dish for a picnic or a school lunch box," said Chef Comerford.  "It is healthy and delicious as well."

Soba noodles are traditional Japanese buckwheat noodles, a healthy alternative to pasta made with white flour.  These make a rich backdrop for the vegetables, which include carrots, spinach, Shiitake mushrooms, snap peas, and scallion.  The sweet and tangy dressing is made with rice vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, a dollop of honey and two kinds of oil.  

Be careful not to overcook the noodles, which require a short boiling time, typically 4 minutes for 9.5 ounces. The dressing should be drizzled on so as not to swamp; those who prefer a very light coating of dressing can use half the specified ingredient amounts.

The salad can be served chilled or at room temperature.  Though just eight ounces of noodles are called for, the dish is huge when finished, and will serve 10-12 people as a side, and four-six people as an entree, depending on portion size.  It holds up fine in the refrigerator for up to two days. 

White House Simple Soba Noodle Salad

Ingredients For The Salad
*8 Oz Soba Noodles

*1 Cup Carrots, julienned

*1 Cup Snap Peas, julienned

*1 Cup Spinach, julienned

*1/2 Cup Shiitake Mushrooms, julienned

*1/3 Cup Cilantro Leaves, chiffonade

*1/3 Cup Scallion, sliced thinly

*Toasted Almonds (optional)

Ingredients For The Dressing
*1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar

*1/4 Cup Lemon Juice

*1/4 Cup Grapeseed Oil

*1/2 Teaspoon Sesame Oil

 *2 Tblsp Soy Sauce, low sodium 

*2 Tblsp Honey

*2 Tblsp Dijon Mustard

*1 Tsp Minced Garlic

*1 Tblsp Toasted Sesame Seeds


*Pepper to taste

Method
1.  Boil the Soba noodles according to package directions.  Drain, rinse, and set aside to cool. 

2.  To mix the dressing, combine the rice vinegar, lemon juice, honey and Dijon mustard in a medium bowl.  Whisk in the grapeseed oil and the sesame oil. 

3.  Add the minced garlic, toasted sesame seeds and soy sauce, and whisk.  Set aside. 

4.  In a large bowl, combine the cooked noodles, carrots, snap peas, spinach, mushroom, scallion and cilantro.  Whisk the dressing and add it, drizzling on slowly.  Toss gently.  Sprinkle toasted almonds on top, if desired.

*Serves 10-12 people as a side, and four-six people as an entree, depending on portion size.

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ChopChop's The Big Picnic event is fun with a serious purpose: The magazine is devoted to combating obesity by encouraging kids and their families to cook at home.  White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses and Assistant Chef Margi Fineran have also provided recipes, as have other chefs: Check out ChopChop's dedicated webpages for more recipes and info.

*Photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama