bits and pieces

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mediterranean Pasta with Lemon and Tuna

Lunch, Day 1: Soba noodles with lots of garlic, lemon and
cracked black pepper
(note: I am spending a week trying to cook and eat without dairy, gluten, sugar, caffeine, or alcohol. May god help us all)

So - my day one lunch begins with a little east meets west, and a whole lot of awesome. A little Greek-y goodness helped out by an Asian staple. Buckwheat noodles were tossed with lemon, garlic, cracked pepper, olives and tuna. Very yummy and VERY healthy.

Cooking without gluten or dairy for lunches and dinners isn't actually THAT difficult. It's a whole lot easier if you're not a lousy pescatarian like me and can just have steak and potatoes every night for dinner. So if you're also a lousy pescatarian, or maybe you're bored of steak and potatoes, or MAYBE you're also curious to see if you can eat gluten/dairy free occasionally - this is a yummy yummy dinner or lunch to make.

Since obviously I can't eat pasta, I made this mediterranean inspired pasta with buckwheat noodles or soba noodles. Soba noodles are generally used in asian cuisine, but they're super delicious as in they taste just like real pasta. I added lemon zest for flavour, spice for the nice, and some tuna to make it hearty and filling.

soba noodles
This whole meal is comfort food-y and actually healthy for you as opposed to just not BAD for you. Soba noodles are made with buckwheat, which thankfully doesn't have any gluten in it. Make sure you check your soba noodles before you buy them though - some westernized soba noodles will be made with wheat flour as well. None of that for you! You want allll buckwheat baby. Buckwheat is full of fibre, and has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Olive oil is generally good for you and tuna like most fishies, even when canned, contains omega 3 fatty acids and other good for you things. Garlic is also purported to be effective at warding off colds and flus. So there's the health pitch.

Now for the delicious pitch:  it's lemony, GARLIC-Y, it's hearty and filling, it's a little peppery with a little bit of kick, and it's all around delicious. Plus it's dirt cheap to make, and takes all of 15 minutes. That's right. Go back for seconds.

4 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, grated/minced/finely smooshed
1 tsp red pepper flakes (omit or halve if you are VERY sensitive to spice)
2 tbsp chopped olives, I used green since they're my fave. This was about 4 olives worth of olive chopping. Smash them flat with the blade of your knife and then finely dice them. 
1/2 a small onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp crushed/cracked black epper
big pinch of kosher salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley 
1 can of tuna, drained
the zest of half a lemon, and a good squirt of that juice
a good sized handful of soba noodles, or two little bundles (soba noodles normally come in bundles)

other things you will need: 
a big pot of boiling water to cook your soba noodles in
a little frying pan, or pot to make your sauce in
a wooden stirrin' spoon

  1. Have your pasta water boiling, and cook your pasta while you do everything listed below. Soba noodles will cook very quickly - about 2 minutes, but check them. When they're ready, drain them and rinse quickly with cold water and set aside. 
  2. In your small pot, heat your olive oil over medium heat. Add your garlic and stir for a few seconds until you can smell it. MMM. Add your onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally until it starts to become translucent. 
  3. Add your pepper, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, and olives. Cook for 1 - 2 minutes, until fragrant and fiesty. 
  4. Add the lemon juice and tuna and stir. Add your soba noodles and toss and stir until everything is mixed together all nicely. If you think it's necessary, add a dash more olive oil. The pasta shouldn't be coated in oil as that would be disgusting, but it shouldn't be dry. 
  5. Dish out, and top with parsley and a tiny pinch of salt. Enjoy. Then make sure you don't kiss anyone for awhile since you will smell like a sexy garlic monster of doom. You're welcome.

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