peanut soba noodles with butternut squash kimchi.jpg

If your kitchen is anything like our kitchen right now, it's not too fancy in there. We're knee-deep in Thanksgiving planning and saving every ounce of our chopping and cleaning enthusiasm for the holiday. That's where meals like this come in. Comforting, colorful, made entirely of ingredients that keep in the fridge and pantry for weeks or even months, and the best part? Not a dirty knife in sight.

Peanut Soba Noodles with Kimchi

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1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp low-sodum tamari

1 generous tsp peanut butter (we like crunchy, but creamy is great, too)

ground cayenne, to taste

1 bundle (100 g) soba noodles

1 cup frozen peas

1/4-1/3 cup kimchi, homemade or store bought [see Note]

Fill a large sauce pan half full of water and set on high heat.

Meanwhile, whisk together the sesame oil, vinegar, tamari, and peanut butter, and a few dashes of cayenne.

When the water has reached a boil, add the soba noodles and cook at a rolling boil. After 4 minutes, add the frozen peas to the pot and allow to cook for 1 more minute. Drain the noodles and peas and run cold water over them until they're no longer warm.

Toss the noodles and peas with the peanut sauce, top with kimchi, and serve.

Makes 1 large or 2 small servings.

Note: The kimchi sold in the refrigerated section of the co-op is vegan, so go nuts. Pictured above is a homemade kimchi made from butternut squash, which we're currently in love with. Frankly, winter squash is sometimes too sweet to our savory-leaning tongues. To combat this, we've relied heavily on garlic, herbs, and vinegar, frequently pairing starchy orange flesh with things like pickled jalapenos and sauerkraut. But it never occurred to us to pickle the squash itself, until now. We took this simple recipe and made it even simpler, and adjusted the method just a bit to produce something closer to the texture we prefer for this. 

Butternut Squash Kimchi

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adapted from Lauryn Chun via L.A. Mag

1 (about 1 1/4-lb total weight) butternut squash, peeled

4 cups water

2 TBSP kosher salt, plus an additional 1/4 tsp

2 TBSP Korean chili flakes (we've gotten ours at Oriental Super Mart on Sutherland)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1-inch knob fresh ginger, minced

1 1-inch knob fresh turmeric, minced (if you do this in the fall when the co-op gets fresh turmeric; if not, try 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, or simply omit)

1/2 cup water

1 tsp cane sugar

Using a vegetable peeler, shave long ribbons of the peeled squash until you near the seedy center. Mix the squash ribbons with the 4 cups of water and 2 TBSP salt in a large bowl and let sit for 40 minutes. Drain and dry with a clean kitchen towel.

When the squash has dried a bit, toss it with the chili flakes, minced garlic, ginger, and turmeric.

In a quart jar, mix the 1/2 cup water, 1/4 tsp salt, and sugar, until dissolved. Add the spiced sqush ribbons to the jar, secure the lid, and turn it up and down a few times to coat with the sugar water.

Let sit at room temperature for 3 days; after that, store in the refrigerator.