Tomato and Basil Soba Noodles

It’s tomato season!  We couldn’t be more excited that it’s high time for our favorite summer fruit.

We’re even more excited to hear about a new initiative to ensure our beloved tomatoes can come to us free of exploitation, thanks to one of our favorite organizations. IJM (International Justice Mission) is a human rights agency committed to fighting modern day slavery and exploitation throughout the world. They were one of the first organizations we heard of when we started learning about the issue.

At that time, we didn’t realize that modern day slavery was not just happening abroad — it’s an issue even here in our home country of the US!  Forced labor is actually happening in our tomato fields here in the US (check out the book Tomatoland for more details if you’re interested – we first heard about this through an NPR story on the book).

This summer, IJM is sponsoring a campaign called Recipe for Change. They’re asking US supermarket chains to join in a Fair Food Program to ensure the tomatoes you buy are slave-free.

Along with many other food bloggers, we’re taking today to let you know about this issue!  And we got to develop a delicious recipe with slave-free tomatoes to celebrate. Check out the tomato posts around the web (the list of participating blogs is here). And a special thanks to Nicole at The Giving Table for putting this call to action together!

How amazing is it that we live in an age where we can have a voice with just the click of a mouse? We both couldn’t be more excited to sign our names to the letter. If you’re excited too, please join us!
Sign the Recipe for Change Petition

And where to buy tomatoes in the meantime? Since we are low on garden tomatoes this year, we bought the pictured tomatoes at the Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market. Check out your local markets for some “happy tomatoes”; Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have also joined the program to sell only slave-free tomatoes. And remember to eat within tomato season for your area too (check out this Seasonal Ingredient Map for info on US seasonal ingredients)!

*Side note: About a year ago, we starting giving a portion of our ad revenue from this blog to IJM, and have been honored to share proceeds from all of your views with them. Thank you for your readership, since every time you view a page on this site you are doing a little bit to fight slavery too!

The following info was provided by IJM:

The Problem
Slavery is not just happening overseas. Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Molloy once
called Florida’s tomato fields “ground zero” for modern-day slavery in the United States. In the
past 15 years, over 1,000 people have been freed from slavery in U.S. tomato fields.

The Solution
Recipe for Change–a campaign led by International Justice Mission in partnership with the
Fair Food Standards Council and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers–is targeting three
major supermarket chains this summer (Ahold, Publix and Kroger’s), and asking its CEOs
to support the Fair Food Program. Corporations that join agree to pay a small price increase
for fairly harvested tomatoes (1.5 cents more per pound), and promise to shift purchases to
the Florida tomato growers who abide by these higher standards–and away from those who

Major fast food companies, like McDonalds and Subway, have already endorsed the Fair Food
Program, but the largest U.S. supermarket chains have yet to support this collaborative effort
to eradicate modern-day slavery.

Call to Action
Supermarkets can help eliminate slavery and other serious abuses from the tomato supply chain
when they join the Fair Food Program. But in order to change its policies, CEOs need pressure
from consumers.

Take 30 seconds, raise your voice, and sign your name to help ensure that supermarket tomatoes
are slave-free!

Sign the petition!

Read more


Tomato and Basil Soba Noodles

1 Star (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x


  • 8 ounces buckwheat noodles (soba)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 cups (1 pint) cherry tomatoes
  • 15-ounce can cannellini beans
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add soba noodles and cook according to the package instructions, 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, mince the garlic clove. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans, if canned. Place the garlic, tomatoes, and beans in a large bowl, and stir in 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Let sit while the pasta cooks. Thinly slice the basil (chiffonade), and roughly chop the thyme leaves.
  3. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, then place it in the bowl with the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar; add the herbs and mix to combine. Add fresh ground pepper and a bit more kosher salt to taste. Top with shavings of Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.


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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    July 24, 2012 at 4:26 am

    This is such an important issue and such a good way of raising awareness of it, I am sure that this campaign is going to lead to big changes and a fairer future for all those who are working on the tomato farms.

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    July 24, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Love this dinner idea! Yum!

  • Reply
    The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time
    July 24, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Bravo! I was appalled to find out that slave labor happens just a state south of me too. How could anyone NOT try to help out! So, yes, I signed a letter and you know what? I think it’s my duty, my obligation, to go out, buy some tomatoes and make this salad! From a local farmers’ market, of course. :)

  • Reply
    July 24, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Gorgeous photos + recipe. I love the simplicity of the recipe and the color contrast in the photos. Do you deliver for lunch? :) Thanks for the info on Recipe for Change!

    • Reply
      July 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      Thanks! Maybe we should next-day shipping as an option to all of our posts…

  • Reply
    July 24, 2012 at 10:53 am

    So happy to see your post, and to see you give to IJM. So generous.
    This dish looks delicious, too – I love soba noodles!

    • Reply
      July 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      Thanks, Sarah! We love soba too :) The tomato jam on your blog looks excellent – thanks for doing this too!

  • Reply
    Cookie and Kate
    July 24, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I tend to associate soba noodles with Asian flavors but love this Italian spin on them. Why not add basil and tomatoes?! They’re good on everything.

    • Reply
      July 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      Exactly! Soba is quickly becoming our go-to noodle for everything. We just love the taste and the texture :)

    • Reply
      July 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Yes! I was so distracted about slave-free tomatoes that I forgot to mention anything about soba :) Thanks for participating in this too, Kathryne — your tomato recipe looks awesome!

  • Reply
    Nicole @The Giving Table
    July 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I’ve been on a soba noodle kick recently, so I can’t wait to try this! Thanks again for supporting this cause today. It’s so exciting to see everyone’s recipes and calls to action!

    • Reply
      July 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      Thank YOU for organizing it! What a great way to raise awareness. Thank you so much for what you do!

  • Reply
    July 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Signed it! This looks great! The tomatoes are so great this time of year and I LOVE cannellini beans!

  • Reply
    July 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Thank you so much! Thanks for your sweet comments and support :)

  • Reply
    Tammy D
    July 26, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    I made this tonight and it was so tasty! The noodles were a new thing for me but quite good. And, really, how can anything with basil be bad?

    • Reply
      Tammy D
      July 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      And it’s super good the next day, too!

  • Reply
    July 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    That is a beautiful bowl of noodles! Love how clear the image is.

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