Easy Soba Salad
I love all kinds of noodles but soba noodles are my favorite. The word ‘soba’ means ‘buckwheat’ in Japanese and it also refers to thin, buckwheat noodles. In Japan the word refers to any thin noodles. These can be served hot or cold, with a dipping sauce or in soup or you could make an easy soba salad. Buckwheat can be harvested 4 times a year because it takes 3 months to reach maturity and be ready for harvesting.
Soba noodles are sold at railway stations in Japan, and they also feature on the menus in high-end restaurants, making them a versatile component in a variety of dishes, not just easy soba salad recipes.
Soba noodles are often drained and chilled in the summer, or served hot with a soy dashi broth in the colder months. Easy soba salad is a popular summertime treat. They might be served with soba tsuyu, a type of dipping sauce, on the side, and maybe bits of dried nori seaweed on top.
The diner will use chopsticks to pick up some noodles and dip them in the sauce. Green onions and wasabi might be mixed into the sauce. Hot broth changes their consistency, which is why a lot of people prefer to have them cold. In Japan, the water in which the noodles were cooked is often drunk after the noodles have been eaten, with the leftover sauce mixed in for flavor.
In the following recipe we are combining tasty fresh salad ingredients with soba noodles, then adding a sesame dressing to tie it all together. My current favorite Asian dressing is Kewpie Roasted Sesame Dressing which is wonderful with any kind of Asian influenced salad.
How to Cook Soba Noodles for Easy Soba Salad
Bring a pot of water to a boil (you don’t need to add salt) then add the soba noodles and stir to ensure they are all covered in water. Bring the water back to a boil then turn it down to a simmer. Cook them for 5 to 8 minutes or whatever it says on the package.
Now check one noodle for doneness. It should be al dente rather than too soft. Drain the noodles in a colander, then rinse with cold running water until cold.
Rub them with your hands while the water is running over them. This helps wash off any excess starch to stop the soba noodles turning gummy. Drain them again.
I like to make an easy soba salad when I am working from home because it doesn’t take long to prepare and I can throw in any salad ingredients I happen to have to hand.
How Many Soba Noodles per Person?
I eyeball the quantities and usually get it right when making easy soba salad. If there are any leftover noodles they will keep for a couple of days in a covered container and you can toss them into a future salad or even a broth. If you are going to put them in broth though, add them right at the end, else they will overcook and go mushy, and you certainly don’t want that. Count on about 2 oz (60g) per person though, to give you an idea.
Feel free to tweak this easy soba salad recipe. Perhaps you have some other Asian salad ingredients to throw in or even some non-Asian ones. Why not throw in some mozzarella or avocado for a fusion meal? Another idea is to add cooked chicken or shrimp to make the soba noodle salad more filling.
- Raw soba noodles
- Shelled edamame beans
- Grated carrot
- Sliced cucumber
- Cilantro (fresh coriander)
- Chopped peanuts (optional)
- Kewpie Roasted Sesame Dressing (or similar)
- Cook the soba noodles following the instructions on the package (and, if needed, our instructions above).
- Drain them well.
- Now toss with edamame, grated carrot, cucumber, cilantro, and chopped peanuts (if using).
- Drizzle over some dressing and serve.
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