Vegetable Ginger Noodle Stir-Fry (or Salad)

These noodles have become a family favorite. I almost always have the necessary ingredients. Several friends have tried this recipe and now they also make it often. Credit goes to Rachael Ray for this recipe, as it is an adaptation of her Korean-Style Chicken or Pork Noodle Bowls, but I use soba noodles (less of them) and add more vegetables (total of 4 cups). I freeze my ginger whole to use when a recipe calls for fresh ginger. Peel the frozen ginger with a potato peeler and grate it like hard cheese. It's a lot easier to grate when the ginger is hard and frozen, and I never worry about needing to buy it or it going bad. Add chicken or pork and snow peas to change it up, depending on who you're cooking for. This recipe also makes a great salad. Just mix raw, thinly-sliced vegetables with noodles and sauce, and add toasted sesame seeds.
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13 oz soba (Japanese buckwheat noodle found in the Asian section) or udon noodles or 3/4 lb. whole grain spaghetti 1/2 - 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated (to taste) 3 large cloves garlic, grated 1/4 cup tamari (dark soy sauce) 3 tbsp raw honey or real maple syrup 2 tbsp tomato paste 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar 1 tbsp + 1 tsp sesame oil 1/2 to 1 tsp hot sauce, such as sriracha, to taste 2 tbsp Canola oil or refined (high-heat) safflower oil 1 cup broccoli slaw or small cabbage, very thinly shredded 1 cup shredded or matchstick cut carrots 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced or chopped 1/2 cup edamame, shelled (optional) 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal Toasted sesame seeds


1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook per package directions. Soba noodles usually cook for 4 minutes in boiling water. Use a timer; a minute too long and they turn to a mushy mess. Drain and rinse noodles well. Set aside.
2) Using a blender or food processor, combine ginger, garlic, tamari, agave, tomato paste, vinegar, sesame oil and hot sauce until smooth.
3) If making a salad, gently mix noodles with thinly cut vegetables and dressing. Let sit for at least so minutes so flavors meld. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
4) For a hot noodle dish, prepare all of the remaining ingredients for a quick stir-fry. In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over high heat. Add broccoli slaw or cabbage and carrots and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Then add white portion of the scallions and edamame and toss for another minute or two. Pour drained noodles and ginger sauce in with the vegetables and carefully toss to heat through and mix. Toss in the green portion of the scallions and top with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.