Japanese Noodle Salad – a change up in pasta-type salads
Most people enjoy pasta-type salads in the warmer weather. Adding this recipe to your rotation is going to really make a difference in your upcoming meals. This dish I’m talking about is a change up in pasta-type salads. I say pasta-type as this is not an Italian pasta, but a Japanese Soba noodle.
Soba noodles are made from wheat and buckwheat. This gives the noodles themselves more taste than the noodles we’re generally used to using. They’re also quite robust, so stand up to the added ingredients and still shine through the dressing. Soba is a high-protein, low gluten product that has a lot of nutritional value, much more than other types of noodles. Here is a write up that may interest you on the merits of adding buckwheat-based products to your diet.
Use good quality soba noodles as this is the base of the salad. The ones I used in this preparation are made in Canada and are delicious. You can also get these ones at a reasonable price. Make sure you are buying actual buckwheat soba noodles otherwise the results will not be the same.
A real change up in your pasta-style salads
There is both sesame oil and sesame seeds in the salad dressing, along with a small amount of soy sauce. Combined with the soba noodles, this pack a lot of flavour. No one that I’ve served this to has ever not loved this tasty dish.
Veggies are simply broccoli, carrots and green onions (scallions). The broccoli and carrots are cooked separately and added to the cooked noodles. The green onions are added to the dressing as it is made. I have a small tip about cutting the broccoli. If you cut through the base of the broccoli and stop before you get the the flowery bit, you won’t have a mess and you won’t lose any of the good green stuff. If you look at the pictures of the cut broccoli, you will see there are not really any broccoli ‘crumbs’ all over the place. This works very well for cauliflower too!
Cut the broccoli through the base Broccoli and carrots are the main veggies Green onions sliced on the diagonal make a nice addition to the salad
What brings all the flavours together is heating the oil and adding the sesame seeds. The sliced green onions are then added to the hot oil to wilt them slightly. Before adding the oil and seasonings to the cooked noodles, it’s important to rinse them in cold water to stop them from continuing to cook.
“Bloom” the sesame seeds in hot oil Rinse the noodles to cool them Add the cooked veggies
That’s all this takes. Not a huge amount of work for a really good side dish that will last a couple of days in the fridge. So next time you’re considering a change up in pasta-type salads give this one a try!
This recipe is based on one by Terry Joyce Blonder from her 1990 book “For Goodness Sake”. If you’re not feeling the salad, perhaps take a look at some of my baked goods recipes like the one for Lemon Pistachio Biscotti. That’s nice and easy and always a hit for a sweet treat after dinner.
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- 227g (8oz) package of Soba noodles
- 1 carrot, sliced into 'coins'
- 1 large head of broccoli
- 60ml (4 tablespoons) sesame oil
- 30ml (2 tablespoons) canola or vegetable oil
- 18g (2 tablespoons) sesame seeds - white
- 4 green onions
- 30ml (2 tablespoons) soy sauce
- 30ml (2 tablespoons) lemon juice
- Prep the vegetables - peel and thinly slice the carrot into 'coins' or disks. Cut the broccoli heads into small pieces. If using the stems, you may wish to peel them and cut them into small pieces. Slice the green onions diagonally.
- Cook the soba noodles in boiling water until they are just cooked. Check the directions on the package. Once they are cooked, turn them into a large strainer and run under cold water until they are cool.
- Cook the carrots and broccoli in salted boiling water. You can also choose to steam them if you prefer. The vegetables should be 'tender crisp' - meaning they are not hard, but are not soft and have some bite left to them. Set aside.
- Heat. the sesame and canola (or vegetable) oils - do not let them burn. You do not want to heat until they are smoking, just barely hot. Toss the sesame seeds in to the hot oil and let them sizzle for a couple of minutes.
- Add the sliced green onions to the hot oils and sesame seeds - the onions will wilt. This will only take 30 seconds or so. Remove from the heat.
- Add the cooked veggies to the noodles and pour the oil/seeds/green onion mixture over the top.
- Add the soy sauce and lemon juice.
- Carefully mix everything together - be gentle, the noodles are sturdy, but you want a light hand in mixing here.
- Let everything cool together in the fridge. This noodle salad tastes best the next day.
My recipes are all created using metric weight measurements. Conversion to spoons and cups are approximate.