Kimchi, Mango and Soba Summer Rolls + Almond Miso Dipping Sauce (Vegan, Gluten Free)
Now, I’ll start by telling you that I’m not celiac. I’m non-celiac gluten intolerant. And so are both of my parents. Why? Well, that’s a mystery to me. And to a lot of us. Maybe it’s genetics. Maybe it’s the proliferation of highly hybridized and genetically modified wheat products. Maybe it’s the rise in use of chemical pesticides. Maybe my gut flora was suppressed by years of consuming processed food and refined sugars. Maybe it’s all of those things.
All I know is I was developing painful and constant stomach cramps, particularly after consuming peanut butter and wheat foods. I didn’t know why. I just felt like someone was stabbing me in the stomach.
Enter, my mother. She and my dad had gained some unhealthy weight while my dad was finishing his grueling PhD in computer science. They felt sick, lethargic, depressed. And, by all means, they were eating a healthy diet at the time. Lots of sprouted grain bread, high fat greek yogurt and very little refined sugar.
My mom's a research nut. So off she went, little internet mage that she is, back in 2010, to crush some google search. After reading all about her symptoms and the rise of gluten intolerance, she decided to that she would try out the gluten free diet.
Lo and behold, three months later they had started shedding weight, getting their energy back and all in all feeling quite a bit happier.
Now, I definitely didn’t buy into this. Not immediately. It was 2011 and I was a strict vegan at the time. I mean, I had my thing. I didn’t need another thing. I would eat gluten free with my parents at home (I lived with them briefly after college). But when I was out of the house I was all about some bagel sandwiches, seitan "chicken" and hummus-stuffed pita pockets.
And then I started developing signs of IBS. I was 22. I was working my ass off 40 hours a week for low wages at a grocery store (gotta love the recession). Did I mention it isn't easy living with your parents as an adult?
My parents stuck with the gluten free thing. I slowly started getting into it. I mean, if they were going to adjust to my weirdy plant based lifestyle, I could certainly adjust to their wheat free diet.
There’s a six month period in there of somewhat serious digestive issues that I tried to ignore. Followed by deep dives into holistic nutrition science and ayurvedic lifestyle. With a little bit of herbalism tossed in the mix just for kicks. I learned about my ayurvedic constitution (pitta-vata). I did elimination diets (bye, all the foods I ever loved). I drank a lot of licorice tea (gross).
I half-assed the gluten free thing for a long time. I would be gf for a couple of days, then eat vegan maple cookies at work. Until, finally, I decided that if I was ever going to feel better I had to stop being such an a**hole to myself. So I gave the gluten free thing a legitimate, hardcore shot.
I bet you can guess what happened.
Yeah, I felt better. Actually, all of the pain went away. I dreamt about bagels for a couple of weeks (that really happened). But, miraculously, my gut stopped constantly gurgling and twisting itself into angular knots.
Oh, and then I went to Costa Rica and started eating eggs and goat dairy again after 2.5 years of strict veganism. But that’s a different story.
That also made me feel better.
After going gluten free and realizing most gf pasta is beyond inferior, I mourned the noodle experiences I would never again get to slurp. Fat slippery udon in pungent broth. Fine angel hair pastas glossy with buttery sauces. I never even cared about noodles before I went gluten free. Ain’t that just the way it goes.
One of my saddest moments was realizing that soba was a no-go. Soba is my jam. I adore the unique texture and fluidity of the noodles in broth or simply twirled with tahini.
Fun fact, Eden’s buckwheat soba is still the only 100% wheat free soba commonly available in U.S. markets. So, when I discovered it demurely laying on the grocery shelf in the International section at Whole Foods, I at first eyed it merely with curiosity. Buckwheat… soba? First of all, how could this possibly be gf. Secondly, buckwheat as in the cover crop? I bought it. And my impulsiveness payed off.
100% buckwheat soba, as it turns out, is delicious. The first time I made it I tossed it, cold, into a big Thai inspired salad. Texture-wise, it held up just like the wheat version of soba. And I discovered that I prefer the taste of buckwheat soba to regs wheat soba. It's earthy, nutty and wholesome. The closest comparison that pops into my mind is the sweet earthiness of soaked raw almonds.
These soba summer rolls are super quick, nourishing and high vibe. Filled with pungent kimchi, silky soba, raw veg, aromatic ripe mango, and cilantro. The dipping sauce is crucial. It’s tangy-sweet and lightly spicy. Perfect for dipping ad infinitum.
I really think these are great with just about any fresh, raw vegetables. I love crisp purple cabbage for that added crunch. But thinly sliced watermelon radishes, daikon radishes or snappy sweet red pepper would also be killer. I mean, the possibilities are endless really.
- Almond Dipping Sauce
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon mellow white miso
- 1 medjool date, pitted
- 1/4 cup water + 2 tablespoons
- 1/8 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- chili flakes, to taste
- Summer Rolls
- 12 large spring roll rice wrappers
- 2 cups kimchi
- [url href="http://www.edenfoods.com/store/macrobiotic-specialty/pasta/soba-100-buckwheat.html"]1 package Eden Foods Buckwheat Soba[/url]
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 large mango, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 cup packed cilantro
- 1 avocado, sliced thinly lengthwise
- 1 cup purple cabbage, sliced very thinly
- In the bowl of a high powered blender, [b]combine the almond dipping sauce ingredients[/b]: almond butter, rice vinegar, mellow white miso, date, water, salt and pepper. Blend, taste and add chili flakes as you like. Set aside.
- Make the[url href="http://www.edenfoods.com/store/macrobiotic-specialty/pasta/soba-100-buckwheat.html"]buckwheat soba noodles[/url]according to package directions (boil for 8 minutes until pliable, avoid overcooking, drain and rinse in cold water). Toss the cooked soba with the toasted sesame oil. Set aside.
- [b]For the summer rolls[/b]: prepare a station for making your summer rolls by setting out all of your fillings (kimchi, mango, cilantro, avocado, cabbage), cooked buckwheat noodles, a large bowl and a surface upon which to lay your wet summer roll rice wrappers (I used a large ceramic plate). Heat 4 cups of water to boiling.
- To make a single summer roll, add the hot water to your large bowl. Dip a rice paper wrap in the water for 15-20 seconds, until pliable and soft but not gummy. Spread the wet rice wrap out on your work surface until completely flat. Fill the center of the wrap with approximately 1/8 cup soba noodles, some kimchi, a couple thin slices of mango, sprinkling of cilantro, a thin slice of avocado and a some purple cabbage. Tuck the edges in, fold the roll over on itself and keep rolling, tucking the fillings into the wrap as you go, until the wrap is complete. Set the finished summer roll on a large plate. Continue with the rest of your summer rolls until you've used up all of your fillings.
- Serve with almond butter dipping sauce!
- Best served fresh and immediately, but if prepping ahead of time be sure to cover the rolls with a damp paper towel until ready to serve. Can be stored, covered, in the fridge for up to two days.
Thanks to Eden Foods for sponsoring this soba summer rolls post! And check out their buckwheat soba, a naturally wheat free noodle option. And hey, check out their other traditional Japanese noodles made from rice, spelt, wheat, mung bean and kuzu root! Disclaimer: Eden Foods Buckwheat Soba is not made in a certified gluten free kitchen and is processed on machinery that may have come in contact with wheat. If you are celiac, keep this in mind when purchasing Eden Foods buckwheat soba.