Plant-Based Dishes to Usher in the Summer by The Radical Larder

Posted by Smita Kishore on

Are you trying to think of light and colorful plant-based dishes to usher in summer? Well, look no further! This dish is so changeable, you can pair it with the produce of the season, or whatever you may have lying around by keeping a few staple ingredients on hand. My soba noodle salad uses 100% soba noodles (think high protein, gluten-free), hazelnut dressing and "forbidden" hazelnut clusters.

Hazelnuts and hazelnut oil contain monounsaturated fats that promote good cholesterol and also boast a slew of antioxidants that promote clear skin. My most recent iteration involves watermelon, black olives, and pickled cumquats. In the past, I have used satsuma tangerines and shaved asparagus. I will also be serving a version of this at the Logan Square Farmer's Market this outdoor season. Check out this recipe that may quickly become your summer staple! 

Soba Noodle Salad

  • Ingredients
    • 100% Buckwheat Soba Noodles (or other soba noodles of choice), cooked and refrigerated
    • Pickled Cumquats with Red Hot Pepper (recipe below)
    • “Devine flavor” Watermelon or Watermelon of choice (season’s coming)
    • Hazelnut Dressing (recipe below)
    • Forbidden Hazelnut Crispy Clusters (recipe below)
    • Black Olives
    • Fresh Basil
    • Pinch of Salt
  • Instructions
    • In a mixing bowl, add about a cup of cooked soba noodles, a few chunks of watermelon, several slices of pickled cumquats, plus a drizzle of pickling liquid, about a teaspoon or so of hazelnut dressing, and 2-4 black olives, pitted and cut.
    • Add a pinch of salt and toss these ingredients until well coated with dressing.
    • Use a fork to spiral the noodles and lay them on your serving plate or in a bowl.
    • Scatter the other toppings on top of the noodles.
    • Add some leaves of fresh basil and a few forbidden hazelnut clusters.
    • Yields: One salad. Enjoy!!

Tip: I generally find that soba noodles take about half the time it says on the package for cooking time. Bring an adequate amount of water to a boil in a sizable pot. Add a couple of teaspoons of salt. Add soba noodles and stir a bit with a fork to separate. Allow to boil for 4 minutes and test for doneness (cook until done, but do not overcook). Strain through a colander and dip into an ice bath or run under cold water until noodles are cool. Set aside. 

Hazelnut Dressing

  • Ingredients
    • 1 to 1.5 cups of Hazelnut Oil, depending on your preference
    • 1/4 cup Vinegar of choice (I like sherry)
    • 1-2 tbsp Agave Nectar  
    • 1 generous tbsp of Dijon Mustard
    • A pinch of Salt and Pepper
  • Instructions
    • Put ingredients other than oil in your blender and turn on to medium.
    • Stream the oil into the blender and turn up to high until emulsified (about 7-8 seconds).
    • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. 

Forbidden Hazelnut Clusters

  • Ingredients: For 8+ salads
    • 1/2 cup Raw Hazelnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
    • 1/2 cup Forbidden Rice
    • 2 cup High Heat Oil of choice
    • Coriander, Cinnamon, Fennel, Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne to taste 
    • 1/3 cup Sugar 
    • Instructions
      • In a small, high rim pot, bring the oil nearly to smoking point.
      • Add the rice quickly. Once it has all puffed, quickly strain through a metal bowl strainer or chinois, being careful not to burn yourself!
      • Spread onto a paper towel on a baking sheet to cool.
      • In a saucepan, add the sugar and some water. Caramelize, then add the rice and toasted chopped hazelnuts.
      • Once clusters develop, spread onto parchment paper. Sprinkle immediately with spices and salt and let cool.
    Tip: If you prefer no oil/frying, try puffing amaranth in a hot, dry pan with a lid and/or chopped toasted hazelnuts to add that crunch ;) 

    Pickled Cumquats with Red Chili Pepper

    • Ingredients
      • A handful of cumquats or however many you would like to pickle.
      • For a handful of cumquats:
        • 1 Red Chili sliced
        • 1/3 cup Vinegar
        • 1/3 cup Water
        • A wedge of leftover Onion
        • 4 tbsp Sugar (possibly more, depending on taste)
        • Whole Spices of choice
        • Salt to taste (start with 2 tsp)
    • Instructions
      • Thinly slice cumquats and put slices in a heat-resistant container along with the sliced red chili.
      • In a small saucepan, add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
      • Taste for flavor. You want it to be sweet and slightly saltier than is enjoyable at this hot temperature.
      • Immediately pour the boiling liquid over the cumquats and let sit until mixture cools to room temperature.
      • Cover and refrigerate. 

    Tip: These are great to add some zazz to many dishes and they last in the refrigerator for months!  

    The Radical Larder's chef, Meagan Lombaer in Chicago,  recently turned plant-based due to environmental impact and growing dependence on animal products. She creates hearty dishes that center around whole foods and wholesome nutritional properties while avoiding highly processed toxic foods. She most enjoys pairing her food with movement and helping you integrate your diet with the movement you do in your life. Follow her on Facebook or Instagram @radlarder or come out to the Logan Square  Farmer's Market every other Sunday starting June 3! For private events, cooking classes and other catering opportunities email radlarder@gmail.com


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