Walnut Miso Noodles

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The markets here are full of color right now. Gold, red, and orange beets. Pink-fleshed pomelos. Tiny purple-streaked artichokes. Deep, dark leafy greens. This week I filled my basket with my favorite eggs, a loaf of whole wheat seed bread, fresh tofu, lots of leeks and spring onions, chard with electric-pink stems, and one bunch of pencil-thin asparagus. I bought a small bouquet of sunset-colored flowers with the change in my pocket and made my way home. A few of my finds when straight into my lunch, this hearty noodle bowl.

I made a quick, creamy walnut-miso dressing and used it to coat whole wheat noodles, plenty of sliced asparagus, leftover tofu, and a few other ingredients I had within reach. I was quite hungry or I might have taken the time to top off with a poached egg or two. Something I’ve done many times in the years since I first made this.

The main components here are whole wheat noodles tossed in a walnut-miso dressing. To make this seasonal I added the asparagus, scallions, and a big dollop of warming chile paste. I tossed some leftover tofu on top as well. The noodles and dressing are the foundation here, play around with all the different ways you can finish off the bowl to make a balanced meal of it.

For example, in the past I’ve used vibrant chard leaves and stems (pictured below), and another version using caramelized onions, roasted squash, greens, and a bit of cheese. If you’re looking for a summer or early fall version try roasted tomatoes, basil, and roasted peppers.

The Ingredients

Noodles: you can use a range of noodles here. My favorite for this recipe is this farro spaghetti but use whatever whole wheat, or whole grain pasta you like. Soba noodles are another good option!

Toppings: Blanched (grilled or roasted) seasonal vegetables, herbs and scallions, something spicy (Calabrian chile paste, sesame chile paste, or sriracha), a poached egg, sliced avocado

Miso: Feel free to experiment with the type of miso you use in the dressing. I started off using a mild white miso paste, but now tend to use red miso.

Nuts: I nearly always use toasted walnuts here, but toasted cashew or almonds are also fair game if that’s what you have.

The name of the game here is flexibility. Once you have the pasta and dressing dialed in, really focus on making the vegetables and other toppings great. And if you like this recipe, here’s where you can find many more pasta recipes

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