The markets here are full of color right now. Gold, red, and orange beets. Pink-fleshed pomelos. Tiny purple-streaked artichokes. Deep, dark leafy greens. This week I filled my basket with my favorite eggs, a loaf of whole wheat seed bread, fresh tofu, lots of leeks and spring onions, chard with electric-pink stems, and one bunch of pencil-thin asparagus. I bought a small bouquet of sunset-colored flowers with the change in my pocket and made my way home. A few of my finds when straight into my lunch. I made a quick, creamy walnut-miso dressing and used it coat whole wheat noodles, plenty of sliced asparagus, the neon chard stems, and a few other ingredients I had within reach. I was quite hungry or I might have taken the time to top off with a poached egg or two.
The main components here are whole wheat noodles tossed in a walnut-miso dressing. To make this seasonal I added the asparagus, spring onions, and the chard leaves and stems I picked up at the market. You might revisit this later in the year and do a twist using caramelized onions, roasted squash, greens, and a bit of cheese when the weather is cold. Or roasted tomatoes, basil, peppers or whatever else you might encounter at a summer market. You might switch up the type of miso you use, or experiment with the type of toasted nuts.
Walnut Miso Noodle Recipe
You'll likely have a bit of dressing leftover. If I'm going to do to the trouble of making a special dressing, I like to have a little extra to use for the following day or two. You can toss broccoli with it. I've been doing a simple asparagus, chive, and lettuce salad with it as well.
4 ounces whole wheat spaghetti or linguini (or soba)
1 small bunch of asparagus, sliced thinly (1/4-inch thick)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium clove garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons mellow white miso paste
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
2 big pinches salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup+ warm water
Topping ideas: sliced green onions, chopped chard stems and leaves that have been cooked for a minute or two in a skillet with a bit of olive oil and salt (see photo), chopped fresh chives, toasted walnuts
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously and cook the pasta per package instructions, being careful to not overcook. About 10 seconds before you are going to drain the noodles, add the asparagus to the pot. Now drain and toss with about 1/2 the walnut-miso dressing - you can make the dressing as you're waiting for the pasta water to come to a boil. To make the dressing, use a food processor, blender or hand blender to puree the walnuts, olive oil, garlic, miso paste, vinegar, and honey. Add the warm water a bit at a time until the dressing is the consistency of a heavy cream. Taste and add salt if you think it needs it.
Add as much or as little dressing as you like to the noodles and toss well. Arrange in two bowls or on a platter - I finished off this version topped with sliced green onions, a bit of sauteed slivered rainbow chard leaves & chopped stems, a few toasted walnuts, and some chives.
Serves 1 - 2.