What kind of dinner party do you like to throw? What is your ideal number of guests? Do you have a few go-to dinner party dishes?
I like a big, casual potluck, myself. (Or a casual dinner for a few close friends. Notice the theme here? Casual.) We don’t throw nearly enough big parties these days, but I’d like to change that. The beauty of a summer potluck is the ease: clear off the counters, park a big bucket of ice or a keg in the back yard, ask a few neighbors to contribute lawn chairs. I’m ready. All we need now are some warm, sunny evenings.
I’m happy to announce that I’m gearing up for my real-life party plans by attending a Virtual Vegan Potluck this Saturday. Tune in for my contribution (we’ll be rolling brown rice sushi, speaking of fun dinner party ideas), then hop around the table to see what else is cooking. I can promise that we will all come away with enough recipe inspiration to get us through a summer’s worth of potlucks.
As it happens, a cold soba noodle salad is one of the dishes I like to take to potlucks now and then. It’s easy to make, you can toss in whatever veggies you have handy, and the pasta easily stretches it to feed a crowd. Maybe you toss in some tofu, maybe not. I haven’t had a go-to dressing for my salad, though; sometimes I just did rice vinegar and sesame oil, other times a so-so peanut sauce. That all changed this week.I love An Unrefined Vegan’s spicy almond sauce, and I hereby declare it the dressing that shall adorn my soba salads all summer long. It was great to start with, but I doubled the almond butter and the spice because I am decadent like that, and the resulting dressing is even more creamy, spicy, and rich. You won’t be sorry if you invite me to your potluck this summer. Feel free to request this dish; I’ll be making it a lot, it keeps and travels well, and it’s as good cold as it is warm. Buckwheat Soba Salad with Spicy Almond Sauce: In a blender or food processor, whizz 1/2 c. almond butter, 1 Tb. miso, 1/4 c. vegetable broth or water, 1/4 c. rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp. chile garlic sauce, juice of 1 small lime, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 2 tsp. honey, 1 Tb. grated ginger and 3 Tb. crushed garlic. Taste and adjust to your liking. Finely shred a gorgeous pile of vegetables. I used purple savoy cabbage, red pepper, a couple carrots, a zucchini, a few leaves of kale, and a big handful each of cilantro and green onions. You use what you have. Toss shredded vegetables and almond sauce with cooked buckwheat soba noodles. Garnish with more cilantro and green onions.