A simple but satisfying vegetarian noodle recipe with a Japanese influence and flavours of the sea. Samphire noodles are super quick to make. Toss with miso marinated tofu and you have a nutritious, delicious, vegan meal on the table in no time. Fast food at it’s best. Oh! And optionally gluten free too.
We were walking along the North Cornish coast path last weekend when CT spotted a massive patch of rock samphire. We didn’t want to be greedy, but it seemed too good an opportunity to miss, so we picked enough to make a meal out of. This dish of samphire noodles with marinated tofu was the result.
What is Samphire?
Samphire is a crisp and salty edible plant that tastes a little like seaweed. If you’re lucky enough to find some whilst out walking, it’s fine to forage a few tips. But make sure you don’t take too many and definitely don’t pull it up by its roots or snap off the woodier stems.
For optimum tenderness and flavour, gather samphire from May until mid summer.
Rock Samphire v Marsh Samphire
Rock samphire (Crithmum maritima) is not to be confused with marsh samphire (Salicornia europaea), although they are generally interchangeable in recipes. Both are edible, but rock samphire is less salty and has a superior flavour.
Marsh samphire is more widely available than rock samphire and is the one you’re most likely to be able to buy. Other names for it include glasswort, sea beans and sea asparagus.
How To Cook Samphire
Whilst it’s fine to eat samphire raw in salads, it’s quite salty, so it’s generally best to cook it in water. Unlike most veg, you won’t need to salt the water first.
Make sure you’ve washed the samphire well and trimmed off anything that looks dead or woody. Then chuck it in a pan of boiling water. Turn the heat down and simmer for about four minutes. It’s done when it’s tender, but not completely soft. It’s best when it still has a bit of crunch to it.
Once cooked and drained, all you really need to do is add a knob of butter. It’s delicious. Having said that, a squeeze of lemon over the top is a nice addition too.
Samphire Recipes You Might Like
- Laverbread samphire quiche via A2K – A Seasonal Veg Table
- Warm tenderstem and samphire bulgur salad via Tinned Tomatoes
Samurai Samphire Noodles with Miso Marinated Tofu
When I thought about cooking our foraged samphire, I had spaghetti in mind as I thought the green swirls would tie in well with sinuous pasta strands. When it came down to it, however, I didn’t have any spaghetti in the house. Fortuitously, I did have some soba noodles; these were a game changer and I came up with this wonderful dish of samphire noodles with miso marinated tofu.
Once I knew I was using soba noodles, I went down the Japanese route adding miso, seaweed, sesame oil, mirin, tamari and tofu. Japan is an island archipelago just like Britain and they are both great for seafood. Unlike Britain, they have a long and honourable tradition of vegetarian cuisine with sea vegetables featuring prominently.
CT reckoned these samphire noodles would give a hard working samurai warrior the necessary fire in the belly to go storm a castle and lop off a head or two. In fact he named this dish samurai samphire noodles.
The samphire noodles were not only super quick to put together, but they were, oh, so good. Vegan and gluten free if you use pure buckwheat soba noodles, it makes for a pretty inclusive meal too.
We were both very taken by the salty aromatic piquancy of the samphire, which CT assured me would not have been out of place on a Japanese dinner plate. We broke out a new set of Japanese chopsticks to mark the occasion. Itadakimasu.
Other Japanese Inspired Recipes You Might Like or those using samphire
- Aduki bean dip via Tin and Thyme
- Easy One Pot Ramen with Tofu & Vegetables via Tin and Thyme
- Japanese curry via Green Gourmet Giraffe
- Miso tofu noodles via Nadia’s Healthy Kitchen
- Shitake miso noodle bowl via The Veg Space
- Teriyaki sauce (vegan) via Tin and Thyme
- Vegan omelette with cabbage via Tin and Thyme
- Vegetable stir-fried soba noodles via Wallflower Kitchen
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this super quick and easy samphire noodle dish, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And do please rate the recipe. Have you any top tips? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
If you’d like more noodle & pasta recipes, follow the link and you’ll find I have quite a lot of them. All delicious, of course.
Samphire Noodles. PIN IT.
Samphire Noodles – The Recipe
Samphire Noodles with Marinated Tofu
- A large bunch of samphire leaves wieghing about 400g – well washed.
- 200 g soba noodles (make sure they are pure buckwheat if gluten free is required)
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 350 g firm tofu – cut into 2cm cubes (I used mori-nu silken)
- ½ lemon – juice and zest
- ½ tbsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp miso paste
- 1 tsp mirin
- 1 tsp tamari (or soy sauce of choice)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp nori seaweed flakes
- 1 garlic clove – finely chopped
- Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and carefully stir in the tofu cubes until all are covered. Leave for at least five minutes, but the longer the better.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the tofu over a medium heat for about 6 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Add half of the lemon juice and all of the zest to whatever’s left of the marinade.
- Meanwhile, boil 1.5 litres of water and pour into a large pan. Add the soba noodles and simmer for about 4 minutes until al dante. Drain into a sieve, reserving the water and rinse briefly under a cold tap.
- Return the water to the pan and simmer the samphire in it for about 4 minutes or until just tender, but with a bit of a bite left.
- Drain and pour into a serving dish along with the soba noodles. Dress with the lemon mixture and toss, adding more tamari if desired.
- Top with the tofu pieces.
I’m sending my samphire noodles with miso marinated tofu off to Pasta Please with Thinly Spread.
This samphire recipe is also shared with Jac at Tinned Tomatoes for Meat Free Mondays.