A healthy and delicious cold soba noodle salad made with loads of vegetables and crispy tofu. Gluten free, dairy free, and vegan!
Lunch Vibes…Cold Soba Noodle Salad
It’s actually been quite a while since I cooked up a batch of soba noodles at home. I used to make them a lot more and for some reason they slipped out of my repertoire. They are now back in the mix and I’m glad to say so as I seriously love these little noodles! This super tasty and simple cold soba noodle salad is perfect for lunch and dinner, and definitely makes great leftovers. Before we get into the recipe, I want to talk a little more about soba noodles, and answer the big questions…What are soba noodles made of? and, Are soba noodles gluten free?
Let’s talk soba noodles!
What are soba noodles made of? “Soba” is the Japanese term for “buckwheat” so soba noodles are essentially noodles made from buckwheat flour. By the sounds of it you might think buckwheat contains gluten because it has “wheat” in the name but buckwheat is actually a gluten free grain. So, are soba noodles gluten free? If made only from buckwheat flour, then yes. But you can find many variations of soba noodles on the market that contain a mixture of buckwheat and other grains like wheat or kamut which do contain gluten. If you are looking for gluten free soba noodles, you need to make sure they only contain buckwheat flour and no other flours that would contain gluten.
Because I eat primarily gluten free I will almost always get the soba noodles that are made purely with buckwheat flour and I love the subtle, almost nutty flavour they have as well as the thin and light consistency. Soba noodles aren’t heavy or dense which makes them a great option for a cold noodle salad like this one. I’ve used rice vermicelli noodles in salads in the past and while I also like those I love the nutritional benefits that come from the buckwheat flour in soba noodles. As a grain, buckwheat contains a good amount of protein as well as fibre, magnesium, and B vitamins among many other nutrients.
This cold soba noodle salad has a great balance of nutrition and a wonderful blend of flavours. There’s the fibre-rich soba noodles, protein-packed edamame beans and tofu, bright and crunchy carrots and peppers, and fresh cilantro and pea shoots. The “cherry on top” is the quick pickled onions and sesame seeds as a perfect garnish and the dressing is a light and fresh Tahini Lemongrass Dressing that brings the whole dish together.
I love the colours and flavours that intermingle with the chilled soba noodles making this salad a great option for spring and summer. I chose to add tofu to make this cold soba noodle salad a bit more filling and bring up the protein content, but because the soba noodles and edamame beans contain a good amount of protein alone, you could forgo the tofu altogether.
To be honest lunches have been a bit more of a struggle for me lately as I find we are in a bit of a busy season with a lot on the go. While I try to be mindful of how much I have on my life plate sometimes it’s just the way the pendulum swings and everything happens at once. We are in the process of listing our house, looking for a new home, balancing work, travel, and our lively little toddler, and there are definitely days where lunch takes the backseat so I’m focusing on making batch meal options or meals that create leftovers to cut down the prep time and this cold soba noodle salad definitely fits the bill. Because there’s no lettuce in this “salad” it can stay in the fridge for a few days and still taste just as good as it did the first day!
I also love that this salad gave me an excuse to whip up a batch of these quick pickled onions again which are always nice to have in the fridge as a great garnish for other meals like my Healthy Chicken Shawarma Plate (another great batch meal option!).
If you have tried soba noodles or are new to them, I encourage you to add this delicious cold soba noodle salad to your must-make list and give it a try. Soba noodles are amazing chilled but also work wonderfully in noodle soups or as part of a warm meal like my Zesty Orange Beef & Broccoli Power Bowls with Soba Noodles!
Have you made soba noodles before? What’s your favorite way to eat them? Tell me about it in the comments below and be sure to pin the photo after the recipe to save this one for later and of course, share the love!
- Cold Soba Noodle Salad:
- 2 cups cooked soba noodles (follow package instructions to cook and rinse under cold water, then set aside)
- 1 cup carrot, sliced thinly or grated into ribbons
- ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- ½ cup cooked and shelled edamame beans (I used frozen cooked edamame beans, thawed)
- ¼ cup chopped pea shoots
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Tahini Lemongrass Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey (use maple syrup or coconut nectar for vegan)
- juice from 1 lime
- ½ tsp crushed garlic
- ½ tsp minced ginger
- 2 teaspoons lemongrass paste (you can buy lemongrass paste in a small tube, or mince your own fresh lemongrass)
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2-4 tablespoons water (see instructions)
- Optional Additions and Garnishes:
- 1 cup extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes (sautéed the tofu in a pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and ¼ tsp crushed garlic for 4-5 minutes until browned on all sides)
- ¼ cup quick pickled onions (see recipe here)
- Cook the soba noodles according to the package instructions and sautéed the tofu cubes (if using) and set both aside.
- In a small food processor or blender (or a bowl) add the dressing ingredients and blend or whisk until completely smooth. The consistency of the dressing should be pourable and somewhat runny, if too thick add 1-2 tablespoons of water.
- In a large bowl add the cooked soba noodles, sautéed tofu (if using), carrots, bell pepper, edamame beans, pea shoots, and cilantro.
- Drizzle in the dressing and stir to combine until everything is coated with the dressing.
- Chill salad for at least 15 minutes in the fridge.
- Once chilled, divide the salad between 2-4 bowls and garnish each with 1-2 tablespoons of quick pickled onions (if using).
Have a wonderful Sunday!