Meatless Monday – Ginger Miso Eggplant with Sesame Soba Noodles

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I love eggplant pretty much any way it is served and I’m always looking for a new recipe.  I’ve been eyeing this one for a while but have been thwarted several times in my attempts.  I planned to make this last week but my eggplant had already grown a few moldy spots, so we had to resort to dinner out (darn!).  In subsequent tries, one or both of us had plans.  Oh darn again, parties…  Anyway, last night was the night and I can report that it was worth the wait.  Tender and flavorful roasted eggplant topped with a miso and ginger sauce, coupled with yummy sesame soba noodles, this dish really satisfies, especially when you’re craving something with an Asian twist.

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We all know that eggplant is an exceptional vegetable and not just because of it’s glorious purple color.  Eggplant is deliciously low in calories and high in fiber and nutrition – but what about soba noodles?  Aren’t they just useless carbs just there to soak up the sauce? Well it turns out that soba noodles are made out of buckwheat flour, which is not, despite its name a form of wheat. The word, Soba, actually means buckwheat in Japanese. Buckwheat is related to rhubarb and the small seeds of the plant are ground to make flour, so I guess it’s technically a vegetable and not a grain.

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Buckwheat is a good source of nutrients like protein, fiber, iron, carbohydrates, thiamine and manganese. When compared to regular spaghetti, soba noodles have less calories, more fiber and more protein.  Buckwheat itself is gluten free but it is often mixed with other types of flour, so check your labels to make sure you know what is in the soba noodles if you are trying to avoid gluten.

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TIPS: The long and thin Japanese or Chinese eggplants work best for this recipe.  You can cut eggplants in half lengthwise, as in this recipe, or cut on a diagonal into 1-inch-thick slices, as desired. I like to salt the eggplant before cooking to draw out excess water and any possible bitterness, but when roasting this is less important.  So if you are pressed for time, you can skip this step.

I used fresh Miso, which is a paste made of soy beans that have been fermented with a culture made of wheat, rice, barley, or beans. Miso is available on grocery shelves in many stores in the Asian section. If you don’t have miso or can’t find it, you could try substituting sesame paste or tahini.

Eggplant Recipe Adapted from www.bonappetit.com

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GINGER MISO EGGPLANT

SERVINGS: 4-6

  • 4-6 Japanese eggplants
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or olive oil spray
  • 1/3 cup white miso paste
  • 4 tsp finely grated peeled ginger
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsn toasted sesame seeds, divided
  • 3-4 thinly sliced scallions (about 3 Tbsn), divided
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  • Slice eggplants in half lengthwise and place cut side up.  Salt generously and let sit for about 10 minutes. (optional)

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  • Thinly slice scallions and prepare ginger and garlic.

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  • Preheat oven to 425°. Brush or spray cut side of eggplant with oil and place on an oiled baking sheet.
    Roast eggplant, turning once halfway through, until very tender, about 20 minutes. While eggplant is cooking, prepare soba noodles (recipe below)

 

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  • Remove from oven. Arrange a rack in upper third of oven and heat to broil. Meanwhile, whisk miso, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar with 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds and 2 Tbsp. scallions.

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  • Spread top of eggplant slices with miso sauce.

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  • Broil until golden and charred in places, 4–5 minutes.

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  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds and 1 Tbsp. scallions.

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  • Serve hot or warm with Sesame Soba Noodles.  Watch it disappear.

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SESAME SOBA NOODLES

  • 1 package organic soba noodles (9.5oz)
  • 2 Tbsn soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsn sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsn seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsn olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced and then minced
  • 1 TBSP fresh ginger, mince (ginger paste or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chili or cherry pepper, small dice or thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, garnish
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  • Cook soba noodles per package directions. While the water is boiling, prepare the sesame sauce.

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  • In a small bowl combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, oil, garlic and ginger and whisk with a fork until well combined.

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  • When the noodles are ready, drain (reserving 1/4 cup pasta water) and return to the saucepan. Pour the sesame sauce all over the noodles and stir to combine.  Add the green onions and peppers, toss again. Serve with toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of hot sauce if desired.

 

Ginger Miso Eggplant with Sesame Soba Noodles

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 4-6 Japanese eggplants
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or olive oil spray
  • 1/3 cup white miso paste
  • 4 tsp finely grated peeled ginger
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsn toasted sesame seeds, divided
  • 3-4 thinly sliced scallions (about 3 Tbsn), divided
  • Slice eggplants in half lengthwise and place cut side up.  Salt generously and let sit for about 10 minutes. (optional)
  • Thinly slice scallions and prepare ginger and garlic.
  • Preheat oven to 425°. Brush or spray cut side of eggplant with oil and place on an oiled baking sheet.
  • Roast eggplant, turning once halfway through, until very tender, about 20 minutes.
  • While eggplant is cooking, prepare soba noodles (recipe below)
  • Remove from oven. Arrange a rack in upper third of oven and heat to broil.
  • Meanwhile, whisk miso, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar with 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds and 2 Tbsp. scallions.
  • Spread top of eggplant slices with miso sauce.
  • Broil until golden and charred in places, 4–5 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds and 1 Tbsp. scallions.

SESAME SOBA NOODLES

  • 1 package organic soba noodles (9.5oz)
  • 2 Tbsn soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsn sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsn seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsn olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced and then minced
  • 1 TBSP fresh ginger, mince (ginger paste or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chili or cherry pepper, small dice or thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, garnish
  1. Cook soba noodles per package directions. While the water is boiling, prepare the sesame sauce.
  2. In a small bowl combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, oil, garlic and ginger and whisk with a fork until well combined.
  3. When the noodles are ready, drain (reserving 1/4 cup pasta water) and return to the saucepan.
  4. Pour the sesame sauce all over the noodles and stir to combine.
  5. Add the green onions and peppers, toss again. Serve with toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of hot sauce if desired.

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