We are leaving town tomorrow for a few days (details to come!) and I had a handful of things rattling around in the fridge I wanted to put to good use before we risk sacrificing them to the produce gods, so as I walked home from work today, I thought of different ways I could put them all together. Also in the fridge was a package of yam noodles, which I’d never tried before. I like trying new things, but I like doing so on my own terms, which is probably why the noodles hung out in the back of my fridge for a few weeks before I got around to trying them.
I’ll be honest: I was drawn to these noodles partly because of the calorie count, which is 0, and partly because of the ingredient count, which is 3: purified water, yam flour, and lime (yes, that is 3 ingredients including water). Magic! I was so excited!
But when I opened them over the sink, Reese, who was in the kitchen making himself a fried egg sandwich for dinner, sniffed the air and asked, “What’s that strong, fishy smell?”
Although they smell like a combination of fish and dried mushrooms, the noodles have a surprisingly neutral, mild taste, which makes them perfect for marinating. They have a soft texture and swirl easily around your fork like traditional noodles do, thus making them a good option for people who want a noodle alternative but can’t handle the unique texture of kelp noodles. They’re also much more filling than I expected them to be given the fact that they have zero calories.
Whenever I’m trying to come up with a new way to synthesize ingredients, or to try out new ones, I like to ground the meal with something familiar: in this case, Miso-Ginger Dressing, which I started making years ago after I realized that miso was the secret ingredient in the crazy delicious dressing at sushi bars. It’s paradise. Reese calls it my Secret Sauce, and friends go nuts for it. Hope you like it too!
Yam Noodle Salad
- 1 7 oz/ 200g package yam noodles
- 1/2 recipe miso-ginger dressing, below
- 4 handfuls fresh baby spinach
- 1 medium stalk celery, sliced on the bias
- 2-4 Tbsp red onions, slivered
- 1/2 medium orange, sectioned
- 1/4 block tempeh, cubed
- 1 Tbsp mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
- Rice seasoning for garnish (optional)
- Slice open the package of yam noodles over the sink, place in a mesh sieve, and rinse in hot water. Allow to drain, then squeeze out the excess water gently.
- Place noodles in a bowl with dressing and allow to marinate.
- Slice the veggies and tempeh while the noodles are marinating.
- Cook the tempeh: heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the tempeh to the dry skillet. Allow the tempeh to toast for about 2 minutes, then add the mirin and turn to coat. The tempeh is done when it’s golden brown all over and the liquid has evaporated.
- Put the spinach on a plate, then top with the noodles, veggies, tempeh, and seasoning.
- Enjoy with a mug of miso soup.
- 1 Tbsp miso
- 1 Tbsp peanut butter
- 1 Tbsp ginger juice (I like the Ginger People one)
- 1 Tbsp agave
- 1 Tbsp mild mustard
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 3-4 Tbsp hot water
Mix ingredients together in a small bowl and stir to combine.
Start by making using the proportions above, but after you’ve made it a couple of times, you can and should vary the amounts of the ingredients depending on your palate’s preferences. I think this dressing tastes better when I’m not actually measuring, just letting my instincts tell me how much “some” should be for each ingredient.
You can also play around with variations on a theme by using a different kind of nut butter. My favorite variation is to use ginger jam in place of both the ginger juice and the agave (i.e. 2 Tbsp ginger jam, no agave, no ginger juice). Again, the Ginger People jam is my favorite! Those People really do seem to know what they’re doing with Ginger.