Often asked about my cooking philosophy, I always tell people that flexibility is at the core. Having a full-proof recipe is always gold in my book, but nothing is more liberating than allowing creativity to flow in the kitchen by using one’s palate as a guide to adding other ingredients to layer flavor.
Today I’m excited to share with you a great cold Spring/Summer Asian-inspired noodle salad perfect for an afternoon picnic or as a side dish to a backyard barbeque. Made with a peanut sauce like vinaigrette, I love adding an assortment of colorful vegetables to this dish depending on what I either have in my refrigerator or the flavor/texture I happen to be craving.
Although I have included some of my favorite vegetables in this recipe, feel free to use what you like instead. Don’t like lettuce? Use kale or spinach. Not a fan of cilantro? Basil or green scallions would make an excellent choice. Allergic to peanut butter? Try substituting with sunflower butter. You get the idea. Keep in mind the more colorful your salad is the more appealing it will be; this is especially true with children who tend to judge food by how it looks first.
This dish uses buckwheat noodles, which means it is a great source of protein, soluble dietary fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. Despite its name, buckwheat is actually the seed of a plant called “fagopyrum esculentum” and is a great alternative to traditional pasta.
Lastly, any leftover vinaigrette makes an excellent salad dressing for future use. Just keep it in a sealed jarred container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!
Recipe: Cold Peanut Soba Noodle Salad
A beautiful and delicious salad, this Asian inspired peanut soba noodle salad is a popular dish to prepare for gatherings or makes a great side to an outdoor bbq. Made with a blend of flavors and ingredients, this noodle dish does not disappoint!
• 1 pound cooked soba noodles, al dente
• Peanut vinaigrette (recipe below)
• 1 cup baby butter lettuce leaves, chopped
• 1 cucumber, sliced thinly
• 1 carrot, peeled and julienne
• 1 red bell pepper, julienne
• ½ cup chopped cilantro
• 1/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts or cashews
Peanut Vinaigrette Ingredients
• 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
• 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
• 3 tablespoons agave syrup
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce of Gluten-free Tamari
• 3 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
• 1 tablespoon sesame oil
• 2 cloves garlic
• Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend/Pulse until the garlic is finely minced and incorporated into the other ingredients. If you don’t have a blender or food processor, finely mince the garlic and whisk by hand.
• In a large bowl, add the dressing to the soba until the sauce has evenly coated the noodles.
• Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour or until the noodles are cold.
• Either mix in or layer the other salad ingredients.
• Serve immediately or keep the salad in the refrigerator until ready to serve.