I first made these cold soba noodles a few weeks ago with this meal, and I’ve made them again and again over the last few weeks, for easy dinners and on-hand lunches.
The flavors here are pretty simple. Toasted sesame oil and soy sauce lightly coat the noodles without covering up the nutty flavor of the soba itself. Plus, a few good splashes of rice vinegar really brighten this up.
I quickly cooked some shiitakes & cabbage for this bowl, but you could just as easily use whatever seasonal vegetables you have on hand. (I think cucumbers would be great here in the summertime).
Make it a larger meal by tossing some seared tuna (or tofu) on top… or make it a lighter lunch by mixing in a handful of salad greens.
How to cook soba noodles
If you’ve never cooked soba before, there are a few things you should know before starting this recipe. It’s easy for a package of soba to turn into a big gummy mess, but if you follow these tips, you’ll have sure soba success!
- First, unlike regular pasta, it’s essential that you cook your soba in unsalted water.
- Make sure not to overcook them! Don’t forget to set a kitchen timer for the time listed on the package.
- When your noodles are ready, drain them in the sink and rinse them thoroughly with cold water to remove starches that cause clumping.
- Finally, toss them with a glug of oil to keep them fresh until you’re ready to eat!
- 4-6 ounces soba noodles
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- splash of olive oil or vegetable oil for the pan (you don’t want to heat sesame oil)
- 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 cups raw shredded napa cabbage
- ½ cup chopped scallions
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1-2 teaspoons of mirin
- splash of rice vinegar
- splash of ponzu (optional)
- sriracha (optional)
- a few tablespoons sesame seeds for garnish
- Cook the soba noodles in unsalted boiling water for about 5-8 minutes, or until they’re done but still al dente.
- When the soba noodles are done, rinse them under cold water. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Toss the noodles with a tablespoon of sesame oil and chill the noodles in the fridge. The sesame oil will keep them from becoming gummy.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the shiitake mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to wilt down. Then, add the garlic, cabbage, half the scallions, and soy sauce and cook for another few minutes. Add the mirin and cook until everything is soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- When the veggies have cooled, toss them with the soba noodles, a splash of rice vinegar, and the rest of the scallions.
- Taste and adjust seasonings with your choice(s) of ponzu, more soy sauce, and/or sriracha.
- Serve at room temperature, or chill until ready to serve. Top with sesame seeds.
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a few days.