As the temperature starts to rise (at least in this part of the country), its time for some refreshing and simple dishes for those hotter days, like my Asian-inspired cold soba noodle salad. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour and have a heartier, more substantial texture than regular pasta noodles. In Japan, they’re used in a variety of ways throughout the year: cold in the summer in a salad (like this one) or hot in a soup or broth in the winter months, and in a multitude of variations. Surprisingly enough, soba noodles are now more widely available now bring in the ethnic aisle many grocery stores. Or you could take a culinary adventure to your local Asian market and pick up other interesting ingredients to play with.
I always keep soba noodles on hand in my cupboard because they’re a great go-to for a meal and, as stated before, can be enjoyed hot or cold. They cook just like regular semolina pasta, so I can throw together a meal in a flash. I think they’re even great as a meatless dish because they’re hearty and filling. Basically, I throw in any vegetables I have in my fridge with the noodles and make a quick salad dressing of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and various other flavoring agents. Since I’m secretly somewhat of a health nut (believe it or not), I also use soba noodles because they contain a ton of vitamins and nutrients: various antioxidants, as well as thiamine (metbolism booster) and fiber (good for the digestive system and cholesterol control).
Try this recipe for cold soba noodles and maybe get a little creative with it by throwing in other vegetables that are in season right now: cherry tomatoes, asparagus, carrots, etc. Enjoy!
Cold Soba Noodle Salad
(serves 2 as a small salad or side dish)
1 bundle of soba noodles* (about 4 ounces, uncooked)
4 scallions, sliced on a bias (white and green parts)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon of Sriracha** or hot sauce
1/2 cup unsalted or lightly salted peanuts, chopped
A few teaspoons of sesame seeds (I used wasabi-flavored sesame seeds)
1. Cook noodles according to package directions, rinse under cool water, and set aside. Prepare the scallions and set aside as well.
2. For the dressing, whisk together all ingredients and pour over the noodles. Add the scallions and toss to combine.
3. For a richer flavor, refrigerate for a few hours before eating to let the flavors combine, or enjoy right away, garnishing with the peanuts and sesame seeds when served.
*Soba noodles usually come in a 12 ounce package with three bundles of noodles. (Like this)
**Sriracha is a popular Asian hot sauce with a unique flavor, and is easily found at just about every grocery store.