Textures and temperatures can make food really interesting. Warm, crusty bread and olive oil, for example, or ribbons of preserved lemon in hearty, Moroccan tagines. But one cluster of cuisine this perfectly suits is Asian food: the contrast of raw veggies and soft noodles or rice is easily made, snaffled and edited.
Something that works particularly well with this is leafy greens. They marry so well with vinegar, soy and oils, whilst carrying through well in bulk sizes. Somebody who is a master at keeping healthy vegan foods interesting and inspiring is The Sprouted Kitchen.
Recipe adapted from Deborah Madison: Vegetable Literacy
The recipe originally calls for 4 Brussels, but I wanted to finish up the bunch I had. I ended up using around 10 and discarding the tough core. There is enough dressing to bulk up the greens here, so the recipe below reflects that change.
1 bunch Tuscan kale
5 tsp. toasted sesame oil
10 brussels sprouts
1 plump clove garlic
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds (white or black)
2 pinches red pepper flakes
4-8 oz. soba noodles
4 slivered green onions, for garnish
Slice the kale leaves from their stems and discard the stems. Working in batches, stack the leaves, roll them up tightly lengthwise, and then thinly slice them crosswise into narrow ribbons. Put the ribbons in a large bowl with 1 tsp. of the sesame oil and 1/4 tsp. salt. Massage the leaves with your hands until they glisten.
Discard any funky outer leaves from the brussels sprouts. Slice them paper thin (mandoline works best) then toss them with the kale.
Pound the garlic until smooth in a small mortar (I used a bowl and minced the garlic finely). Stir in the vinegar, remaining sesame oil and soy sauce. Pour the dressing over the greens and toss well; this much can be done in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to serve, or enjoyed alone as a salad.
Bring the water to a boil. When starting the noodles, finish the salad with the sesame seeds, pepper flakes and green onions. Cook the noodles according to package instructions and drain well. Toss the noodles with the greens. The noodle salad can be served warm or cold.
Recipe & Images: Sprouted Kitchen