When it comes to Monday night dinners, the simpler the better I say. Instead of toiling over a complicated dish, I'd rather kick back and let boldly flavored ingredients do the heavy lifting for me. Here, peppery watercress pairs with nutty sesame oil and spicy chile-garlic sauce for a stunningly low-effort soba noodle bowl. Add to that its near-total reliance on pantry ingredients (I only had to pick up fresh watercress from the store), and it's easy to understand why I think it's the perfect lazy meatless Monday meal.

Spicy Soba Noodles With Wilted Watercress

Spicy Soba Noodles With Wilted Watercress

Notes

Arugula can be substituted for watercress. To make gluten-free, use 100-percent buckwheat soba noodles and wheat-free tamari or soy sauce.

Spicy Soba Noodles With Watercress

Ingredients

8 ounces dried soba noodles
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
6 cups stemmed watercress or upland cress
1 tablespoon canola or other neutral oil
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish, optional

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook for about 8 minutes, or according to package directions, until done. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, in a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, chile-garlic sauce, and sesame oil.
  2. Drain the noodles in a colander set in the sink. Put the watercress in the hot pan. (If you are using 100-percent buckwheat soba, the noodles may be excessively starchy. Give them a quick rinse with hot tap water.) Return the noodles to the pan along with the canola oil. Using tongs, toss to combine. The watercress should wilt from the residual heat of the pan and the noodles. Add the sauce and toss until well incorporated. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Serve warm or at room temperature.