Bagged Lunch Ideas: Cold Sesame Soba Noodle Salad

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On Friday night, I made a big bowl of this cold soba noodle salad. Seasoned with toasted sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and spicy sriracha, it's a quick and easy dish that can be eaten as a side or as a main course. Soba is a great healthy alternative to standard wheat spaghetti. These Japanese buckwheat noodles are loaded with protein, vitamin B1 and B2, and rutin, a bioflavanoid similar to that found in green tea and red wine--not bad for a huge bowl of pasta!

I personally think that soba tastes best cold, which is perfect because it means you can make it in advance and leave in the fridge for a quick meal whenever you need it. Eugene and I spent most of the weekend digging our fork into the bowl in the fridge, and last night I split the leftovers into two containers so that we could each eat the rest for lunch today.

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This is just a basic recipe for the noodles, but you should use it as a template and spice it up however you'd like. Add pieces of cold chicken or shrimp to make it a heartier entree, or toss in some crisp green beans, sliced almonds, or water chestnuts for added crunch. A shower of minced cilantro would also work nicely here. If you love spice, add a little extra sriracha to the dressing and up the kick (totally what I did!).


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Cold Sesame Soba Noodle Salad
Serves 4-6 as lunch entree or side

12-13 ounces soba noodles (Japanese buckwheat noodles)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha or other chili paste
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh ground ginger
1 garlic clove, finely minced
Kosher salt
Black Pepper


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook soba noodles for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool. Place in a large bowl.

While the water boils, place a skillet over medium-high heat and add the sesame seeds. Toast gently over the heat, moving constantly to keep from burning. Will be golden brown and smell nutty when ready; 1-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate small bowl, wisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, sriracha, honey, ginger, and garlic. Pour dressing over cooled soba noodles and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle in the toasted sesame seeds, and season to taste with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately or keep covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.


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