It's All about the Sauce

23 Apr 2012

Posted by karen
karen's picture

Healthy gluten-free eating has been on my radar screen the last few weeks, so it was no surprise that the buckwheat noodles caught my attention on this recipe from As a rule - contrary to what my "runner" mind previously thought was key for athletic performance - I presently don't eat a lot of pasta (go ahead and ask why but that's for another post). However, last Tuesday my prep time was limited, I needed a make-ahead dish for a late supper - and though my fridge harboured few of the salad ingredients, I could pull off the dressing.

Sauces, dressings - that part of my menu sometimes breaks down. Not because there aren't healthy options but some of them are as complicated and time-consuming as the main event. It's for good reason that professional chefs work so hard at developing their secret sauces - that's what defines their signature dishes.
 And for the rest of us - I think a good sauce can make the difference between a ho-hum dish and one that makes it a regular "go-to." 

Buckwheat Noodles, Broccoli and Mushrooms with Toasted Sesame-Lime Dressing (my version)

1 package (about 8 oz) buckwheat soba noodles, cooked to al dente, drained and rinsed well in cold water
broccoli florets (about  3 cups) lightly blanched and rinsed
1 red pepper sliced and 1- 2 cups sliced mushrooms - lightly sauteed in wee bit of coconut oil
3 green onions, sliced on diagonal
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
handful of fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup roasted peanuts (mine were raw peanuts that I toasted in cast iron pan)
As soon as noodles are cooked, drained and rinsed, place into bottom of salad bowl and spread around a bit so they don't stick together - as buckwheat noodles tend to do. Cut noodles up slightly using fork and knife - not into pieces too small, just to make it manageable.
As other ingredients are prepared, add them to the bowl with the noodles, saving some of the peanuts and parsley for garnish.
Make dressing:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (lemon juice would be an acceptable substitute)
3 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. "rooster" chile sauce or your choice of hot sauce 
2 tsp. maple syrup (optional)
2 Tbsp. (gluten-free) tamari sauce
3 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
Put all ingredients into small jar with tight-fitting lid and shake until well blended. Adjust seasonings to taste. 
Add to salad, mix well without mushing, and refrigerate until ready to serve - don't forget to add the garnish later (like me:)
To complete the meal we grilled a salmon fillet in coconut oil with salt and pepper - the same could be done with a chicken breast. This dish would also go well with marinated, then quick-fry tofu chunks.
This one is a "keeper". We loved this recipe - the dressing was well-balanced with a zing we both appreciate. I might even make the "original" recipe one day but  I can see many variations of it in my future.
What's your "keeper" sauce?


Kika@embracingimperfection's picture

Actually sauces are my downfall. I never seem to do a good job with them or find one that my family genuinely enjoys. Can you suggest something to use instead of fish sauce?'s picture

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karen's picture

I tried to respond using the email address you left but the message came back undelivered. If you go to my contact page and send an email message to me through there we should be able to connect. Thanks for stopping by to visit.

handjob's picture

It's actually a nice and helpful piece of information. I am glad that
you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this.
Thanks for sharing.

karen's picture

I just read your message and haven't had a chance to experiment with an alternate, but here's a couple suggestions.  Brown rice vinegar or seasoned brown rice vinegar if you can find it. According to my Whole Life Nutritrion Cookbook, the seasoned variety has grape juice concentrate and sea salt added to it. Another idea is to soak some Wakame (dried Japanese seaweed) in a bit of water or the above rice vinegar to give it that touch of saltiness.

Good luck and if I come up with something else I'll let you know.

Kika's picture

Thanks, Karen.

DarianKuhn's picture

I like noodle very much but ever tasted this recipe. I have read the velvetjobs Review about the new dish. I really want to try this food which is good for health.

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