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Because I plan my meals for the week ahead of time and buy groceries as I need them, the available ingredients in my kitchen can vary greatly from week to week. Of course, there are certain items that I always have on hand — either because they’re staples that come together into a quick meal when I haven’t planned ahead or because they’re things that I use all the time. Pasta, lemons, goat cheese. Canned tomatoes. Black beans. Gin.

Lately, an increasing number of Asian ingredients have secured a dedicated spot in my cabinet. Especially seasoned rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Both of these are easy to find in most grocery stores and add a ton of flavor to all sorts of foods. They make it super easy to prepare quick Asian-inspired dishes like Edamame Salad and these Soba Noodles with Grilled Shrimp.

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These noodles are my idea of the perfect summertime meal. They’re fast and easy to make and require minimal effort. They also make great leftovers and don’t even need to be heated up – I think I actually liked them even more the next day, after the flavors had a chance to meld. Unlike other similar dishes that have a tendency to be flat, the combination of rice wine vinegar and lime juice gives these noodles have a nice acidity and a bright flavor that plays really well off the earthy buckwheat noodles and nutty sesame oil. Watery vegetables keep the whole dish light and fresh. Topped with a few grilled shrimp (another ingredient that I’m always sure to keep in my freezer), this salad makes a great light meal for a hot summer night.

 

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Warm Soba Noodle Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: Approx. 6 Servings

  • 1 pkg. Soba Noodles
  • 1/2 lb. Bok Choy
  • 1 Cucumber, peeled
  • 4 Carrots, peeled
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed Cilantro
  • 1/4 cup Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Sesame Oil
  • 2 Tbs. Soy Sauce
  • 1 pinch Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tbs. grated fresh Ginger
  • 2 Tbs. Sake
  • 1/2 lb. Shrimp

Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside.

Allow the noodles to cool slightly while you prepare the vegetables. Chop the bok choy. Cut the cucumber in half length-wise, then use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Slice the flesh of the cucumber into half moons. Shred the carrots into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Combine the vegetables and cilantro with the noodles.

In a small dish, mix together the vinegar, oil, soy sauce, and ginger. Season with crushed red pepper flakes. Pour the dressing over the noodles.

Sprinkle the sake over the shrimp. Grill over high heat for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve the shrimp over the noodles.

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