Clean and soba

One of the things that most exercises my brain is the constant struggle to think of things to take to work for lunch. It's more than a little embarrassing sometimes to sit at a desk piled with cookbooks and food-related press releases eating banana on toast (though I do point out the toast is homemade to anyone who asks). Yesterday though, while digging about in the pantry for some teabags, I had a lunch epiphany that merits sharing.

Miso Soba Salad
This is fast, easy, cheap, good for you and very portable. Think of the noodles as a base to which you can add lightly cooked broccoli or green beans, or grilled chicken, or strips of omelette - or all of those things. I've just discovered karengo fronds and am addicted to their salty, seaweedy goodness. If you can't find them, try snipping up a sheet of nori (the green stuff that sushi gets rolled up in) instead.

180g (two skeins) soba noodles
3 spring onions, finely chopped
2Tbsp sesame seeds
2Tbsp karengo fronds or a strip of nori, cut into little shreds

1Tbsp miso
2Tbsp hot water
juice of half a lemon (about 2 1/2 Tbsp)
1Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2cm piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Cook the noodles in boiling water for four minutes. Drain immediately and rinse in cold water. Tip them into a bowl and toss through a teaspoon of oil to stop them sticking together. Toss through the spring onions.
Toast the sesame seeds and nori or karengo for a few minutes in a dry pan. Be careful, as the seeds will burn the minute you turn your back. Set aside.
For the dressing, put the miso and hot water in a small jar with a lid. Shake well until the miso dissolves. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and shake again until mixed. Pour this over the noodles and stir well. Sprinkle the toasted seeds and seaweed over the top. Serves two.

What do you take to work for lunch?
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