I’m not sure that I’ve ever encountered a peanut I haven’t loved. I think one day I will eat peanut butter puffin cereal for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly for lunch, honey roasted peanuts for a snack, peanut pad thai for dinner, and peanut butter cookies for dessert. Then I will go to sleep one happy girl, provided I don’t turn into a peanut à la Violet Beauregard.
In this peanut-loving heart of mine, creamy peanut butter holds a special place. I have been known to eat by the spoonful straight from the jar (don’t tell!). So when the inspiration struck to combine peanut butter with a couple bunches of the greens that are overflowing in my fridge I couldn’t resist.
This dish is layered to create harmonious flavor contrasts. Nutty buckwheat soba noodles, enrobed in the peanut sauce, form the base. Creamy peanut butter is enhanced with a touch of coconut sweetness, lime tang, and basil zest. Hearty panfried greens and tempeh top the noodles, and a handful of nuts provide the crunchy garnish. Enjoy!
Tempeh, Greens, and Soba in Creamy Peanut Dressing
Yield: Serves 4
1 tbsp peanut oil
4 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 tbsp dried, shredded coconut
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy milk
3 tbsps lime juice
1/4 cup water
2 tbsps minced fresh basil
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce, divided
8 oz package dried soba noodles
2 bunches kohlrabi greens or 1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
8 oz package tempeh
1 tbsp mirin (or sherry or vegetable broth)
Peanuts or cashews to garnish, optional
1. Warm the peanut oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Once it is hot, add half of the garlic, along with the ginger, red pepper flakes, and coconut, and panfry 30-60 seconds.
2. Add peanut butter, milk, water, lime juice, basil, and 1 tbsp of the soy sauce to the pan. Stir together. Once combined, remove from heat. Spoon the sauce out of the pan and set aside in a bowl.
3. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add soba noodles and cook for 6-8 minutes, or according to package directions. When it is done cooking, drain thoroughly.
4. Cut the tempeh into 2-3 large pieces and place it in a microwavable container. Cover the tempeh with water, and heat it in the microwave for 4 minutes, or until the water is steaming and very hot. (Steaming the tempeh improves its flavor, reducing bitterness.) Remove tempeh from water, and cube it.
5. Put the pan back on the burner and let it heat on medium. Spray the frying pan with cooking oil. Add the remaining garlic, and cubed tempeh. Fry together for one minute. Deglaze the pan with 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp of mirin.
6. Add the chopped greens to the pan, stir to combine, then cover the pan. Let the tempeh and greens cook for 10 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally.
7. To assemble, toss the soba noodles with the peanut sauce. Top with greens and tempeh. Garnish with nuts, if desired. May be enjoyed hot or cold.