Enjoyed chilled or at room temperature, this Soba Noodle Salad tossed in a honey-soy dressing is exactly what you need for a quick, light meal.
What are some of your warmer weather lunches? When I am not developing or testing a recipe, I like my summer lunch to be light and fuss-free. Today I made an easy and refreshing Soba Noodle Salad (蕎麦サラダ) that can be done in less than 20 minutes.
In this recipe, earthy soba noodles are tossed in a simple honey-soy dressing and garnished with green onions, cilantro, and sesame seeds. Simple yet bright in flavors, this salad is a true favorite of mine.
Watch How To Make Soba Noodle Salad 蕎麦サラダの作り方
Refreshing and spicy soba noodle salad recipe. Nutty soba noodles are tossed in a honey soy dressing and garnished with green onion and cilantro. Perfect for summer lunch.
What are Soba Noodles?
Soba noodles are a type of Japanese noodles made of buckwheat. Low in fat, soba noodles are a great source of amino acids and fiber. The noodles are often served cold such as Zaru Soba, room temperature or in hot soup such as Soba Noodle Soup. In Japan, we have different kinds of soba noodles depending on the percentage of buckwheat used in making the noodles.
Ju-wari Soba (十割そば) is made of 100% buckwheat flour, hence it’s gluten-free. It has dry and rough texture so the noodles are easily broken compared to Hachi-wari Soba. Ju-wari soba has strong buckwheat aroma and flavor, and it is hard to make because of its dry and crumbly texture.
Hachi-wari Soba (八割そば) is made from 80% buckwheat flour and 20% wheat flour. Hachi-wari means 80% in Japanese. The noodle is much smoother with an al dente texture. Unlike Ju-wari Soba, it’s easy to swallow and chew. However, the buckwheat aroma is less than Ju-wari.
It’s hard to say which soba is tastier, it really is up to personal preferences.
Popular Soba Noodle Salad
This recipe was originally published in May 2013 and it’s been one of the most popular recipes on Just One Cookbook. This dish was inspired by my friend Tuyen’s Asian style spaghetti salad. Whenever she serves her spaghetti salad at parties, and it’s always a huge hit among our friends. I adapted her recipe by using less oil and substituted spaghetti noodles with soba noodles.
This Soba Noodle Salad recipe is the perfect blank slate for customization. If you like it spicy, add more crushed chili pepper. You can also add thin strips of cucumbers and carrots to make the salad into a main dish instead of a side dish. For extra protein and substance, a hard-boiled egg or leftover grilled tofu makes a great addition too.
A Few Tips for Soba Noodle Salad
Soba noodles cook much faster than spaghetti noodles so this noodle salad can be completed in a very short time. It’s important to drain the noodles well and run it under cold water. This helps to remove any starch from the noodles. You can prepare the dressing ahead of time but I don’t recommend tossing everything together until you are ready to serve, or else soba noodles will absorb the dressing and become soggy.
If you or your children don’t eat spicy food at all, you can omit the crushed red peppers. Mr. JOC who loves spicy food says he doesn’t taste the spice (what!?), so please adjust the spice level to your liking.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Soba Noodle Salad
- Gather all the ingredients.
- To make the dressing, combine 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, 3 Tbsp sesame oil, and ½ tsp crushed red peppers in a small saucepan.
- Whisk all together and infuse the oil over medium heat for 3 minutes. Alternatively, you can put these ingredients in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 3 minutes. Set aside to let it cool a bit; be careful while handling as it'll get very hot.
- Add 3 Tbsp honey and 3 Tbsp soy sauce to the oil mixture.
- Whisk all together until honey is completely dissolved.
- Bring water to a boil (You do not need to salt the water for cooking soba). Cook the soba noodles according to the package instructions, but make sure they are al dente. Drain into a colander and rinse the soba noodles under cold running water. This step is important to remove the starch from the soba noodles. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
- Thinly slice the green onions and chop cilantro into small pieces.
- Combine the soba noodles, dressing, green onion, cilantro, and sesame seeds in the bowl.
- Toss everything together. Transfer to a serving bowl or plate. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for 2 weeks.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 13, 2013. It is updated with new video and step-by-step pictures in August, 2016. The content updated in July 2017.