Buckwheat noodles are cooked up with broccoli and tossed with a zesty cilantro and peanut butter dressing to make these easy and flavor-packed peanut soba noodles.
Spicy peanut and cilantro sauce is the flavor combination that first sold me on Thai food. I first experienced that via a dish prepared by an old friend. Her version had tofu, and instead of noodles, she served it over coconut rice. I'd devour plate after plate of that stuff, and it was quite an amazing meal. I don't know about how I'd do with plate after plate these days, and to be totally honest, the combo of coconut milk and peanuts, though delicious, seems a little heavy. That's why I decided to create a dish with the same flavors, but using soba noodles instead.
What I ended up with was definitely reminiscent of that tofu dish I used to enjoy so much, but the noodles did something special. Peanut butter on noodles is like magic.
The other thing that's pretty cool about the noodle version is that it's incredibly easy. Noodles and veggies cook up in one pot, sauce gets blended in the food processor, put it together and you've got a meal that tastes like it took all day!
You could really use any kind of noodle here. Soba happen to be my favorite, and they cook up in only four minutes. Feel free to use whatever you've got on hand though, just add your broccoli two minutes before cook time is up.
Cilantro Peanut Soba Noodles
- 1 medium bunch of fresh cilantro leaves, about 2 cups, loosely packed
- ¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- Juice of 1 lime, about 2 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
- 1 ½ teaspoons maple syrup or agave
- ½ to 1 cup water
- 6 ounces dried soba noodles, use 100% buckwheat for gluten-free
- 4 cups fresh broccoli florets, about 1 crown
- ¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts
- Red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)
Prepare the sauce by placing the cilantro, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, lime juice, lime zest, soy sauce, sambal oelek, and maple syrup or agave into food processor bowl. Pulse until mixed and cilantro leaves are finely chopped. Thin with ½ cup of water. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare the soba noodles according to package directions. Two minutes before the noodles are finished cooking, add broccoli. Broccoli should be bright green and tender-crisp when finished cooking.
Drain the noodles and broccoli into a colander, and transfer to a large bowl or back to the pot.
Stir in sauce, adding up to an additional ½ cup of water to thin as needed. Transfer to serving bowls and sprinkle with peanuts and red pepper flakes. Serve while hot.
This dish tends to dry out a bit as it sits, so it's best served immediately. If you have leftovers, add a few splashes of water when you reheat them.