Never cooked soba noodles? Follow the tips in this post to make a foolproof soba noodle salad that's loaded with veggies and great for weekday lunches!
Happy Monday! If you’re like me and you had a weekend full french toast, cake, and pancakes, then you’ve come to the right place! Today I have a fresh, delicious bowl of soba noodles to help start the week off in a healthy direction. The best thing about this bowl is that it’s super simple to make, yet has great zippy flavor. There’s a light sesame-ginger dressing that perfectly coats the soba noodles. On top of that, I chose to mix in a group of vibrant spring veggies, but keep reading for a few other suggestions to customize your noodle bowl!
What are soba noodles?
Soba noodles come from Japan, which is where Jack and I fell in love with them. Made with buckwheat flour, they have a wonderful nutty flavor and slick, soft texture.
Traditional soba is made with only buckwheat flour and water, so it’s easy to make soba noodle recipes gluten-free: despite its name, buckwheat has no relation to wheat! However, because 100% buckwheat noodles can be fragile and difficult to work with, you’ll often see soba that contains a mix of buckwheat and wheat flours. These are the noodles I usually choose (I also like these) – they still have the buckwheat’s yummy flavor, but they’re easier for tossing in a soba noodle salad like this one.
If you’re gluten-free, be sure to seek out 100% buckwheat soba (these are awesome!). Both varieties are readily available in Asian markets or in the Asian section of regular grocery stores.
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!
Soba Noodle Recipe Variations
The star of this soba noodle salad is the zingy sesame dressing, and though I love it over blanched snap peas, edamame, avocado, and radishes here, you could easily change up the veggies in this dish. Here are some ideas:
- Swap in cilantro or Thai basil for the mint.
- Sub baked tofu, sesame tofu, or baked tempeh for the edamame.
- Add sliced cucumber.
- Use blanched broccolini in place of the snap peas.
- Or stir in some sautéed shiitakes or bok choy!
Have fun making a bowl of soba noodles you really love. This recipe is great for weeknight dinners or packing for lunch, but if you do make it ahead, be sure to add the avocado at the last minute so it stays nice & green. Enjoy!
If you love this soba noodle recipe…
Sesame Soba Noodles
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tamari, more for serving
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup or honey
For the Soba Noodles
- 6 ounces soba noodles*, see note
- Sesame oil, for drizzling
- 2 avocados, sliced
- Squeezes of lemon
- 2 cups blanched snap peas
- ¼ cup edamame
- 1 watermelon radish or 2 red radishes, very thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- Sesame seeds
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and honey. Set aside.
- Bring an unsalted pot of water to a boil and cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse well in cold water. This helps to remove starches that cause clumping. Toss the noodles with the dressing and divide into 2 to 4 bowls. Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto the avocado slices and add to the bowls along with the snap peas, edamame, radish, mint, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Drizzle with more tamari or sesame oil, if desired.