Last week we were in Sardinia celebrating our 10 (!) year anniversary. We enjoyed lots of sun and sea. And we indulged in quite a bit of fresh homemade pasta and tasting platters of raw Sardinian sheep and goat's milk cheese. These were luxurious meals because one, I don't make homemade Italian pasta (duh) or have access to much raw sheep or goat's cheese. And two. Homemade Italian pasta. I'd like to think I balanced it all out with our wild blackberry foraging in the interior part of the island.
By the way, have you read The Blue Zones? I've mentioned it before in the Costa Rica post. And it's on my recommended reading list. If you haven't browsed the list yet, check it out because there are some good reads. Sardinia is one of five "Blue Zones" or pockets around the world where there are a disproportionately high percentage of centenarians living. The book reveals the lifestyle characteristics common across these five populations that might explain longevity. It was special to set foot on one of the few islands of the world known for exceptional healthy living.
Despite my efforts to eat a variety of vegetables when traveling, it never seems like enough. So I was really craving greens and fresh, bright salads by the end of the week. This was one of the salads I made promptly upon returning. It's actually a recipe I lined up to share with you last summer, but I ran out of warm days. But with its bright, clean flavors, it's too delicious to pass up again. Plus it's the perfect solution if you're enjoying juicy nectarines like I am or have more zucchini from your garden or farmer's market haul than you know what to do with.
I hope you make this before summer ends. Make sure to read the notes and substitutions in the recipe because there's lots of ways to tailor this salad to your taste. Enjoy!!
Nectarine and Avocado Salad with Lemony Noodles
Serves 3 as a main / 4-6 as a salad
Notes: Peaches work just as well as nectarines if they're better where you live. This recipe calls for julienned zucchini. I use this tool, but you could also use a spiralizer. Alternatively, you could use a regular vegetable peeler. Shave slices the length of the zucchini, on all sides until you reach the seeds. Stack slices, fold them once or twice, then thinly slice lengthwise to get long strands. This salad is great for a light lunch or dinner or you could top it with grilled tempeh, shrimp, or salmon for a fuller meal.
250 gr. soba noodles*
2 medium and firm zucchini, julienned
1/4 tsp. salt
2 medium nectarines, sliced
1/2 large avocado, sliced
Couple handfuls of shelled pistachios, crushed
1/2 bunch (10 gr.) mint
Juice of 1 juicy lemon
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 tsp. runny honey
1/4 tsp salt + black pepper to taste
Cook noodles 1-2 minutes shy of package directions. (Mine cooked in 4 minutes.) Immediately drain and rinse very well under cold water, tossing with tongs to expose all noodles to water and prevent from sticking together.
Mix dressing ingredients in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Remove 3 tablespoons of dressing and reserve to drizzle over salad at the end. Add julienned zucchini and soba noodles and salt to remaining dressing in the bowl. Use tongs to gently but thoroughly mix through the dressing, pulling noodles up and over repeatedly until all strands are evenly coated.
Top with nectarines, avocado, pistachios, and mint. Drizzle over remaining dressing and serve immediately.
*Noodle substitutions: I use a sweet potato and buckwheat noodle blend. Regular soba noodles can also be used if you don't mind the pronounced buckwheat flavor. Brown or black rice noodles work as well. The noodle varieties so far mentioned cook up much softer than normal pasta. If you prefer more chew, use a whole grain spelt or wheat spaghetti. Or skip the noodles completely and double the zucchini for extra crunch. (Note, if you do this you might not need all the dressing because grain noodles soak up more liquid than zucchini noodles.) I prefer the contrast of soft soba noodles and crunchy zucchini noodles but my husband prefers zucchini only.