Nutty, gluten-free soba noodles. A bright, fresh, tangy, and spicy dressing. The BEST and EASIEST 15-minute Spicy Soba Noodle Salad!
Spicy Soba Noodle Salad
Once the warmer weather hits, it’s time for exciting, bright and punchy, Spicy Soba Noodle Salad!
I love this Cold Soba Noodle Salad for so many reasons! Nutty buckwheat noodles. The BEST fresh, vibrant dressing. Crunchy veggies. Aromatic cilantro. Plus that slick coating of sesame oil!
An easy recipe that’s on the table in 15-minutes!
Spicy Soba Noodle Salad is also versatile and multi-functional. No mayo means they can safely stay outside at picnics and BBQs. No peanuts mean you don’t have to worry about nut allergies. And this cold noodle salad tastes good either cold or at room temperature.
Make and bring to a potluck or party. Or pack in the fridge for easy, work-from-home lunches all week long! My go-to summer noodle recipe!
What are soba noodles?
Soba noodles are Japanese, gluten-free noodles made from buckwheat. They taste deliciously nutty with a savory heft. Their twisty, chewy texture is so satisfying!
Traditionally, soba noodles can be enjoyed hot or cold. Hot soba is commonly enjoyed with dashi soup stock, tofu, veggies, and thinly sliced meat. Cold soba is commonly enjoyed as Japanese Zaru Soba and dipped in Tsuyu sauce.
As a Korean American who now lives in Canada, I’ve also come to embrace Japanese soba noodles as an easy base for cold noodle salads.
The hearty texture and earthy flavor of Japanese soba pair exceptionally well with assertive, umami-rich, Asian-inspired dressings. Smooth and slightly chewy, these noodles are infinitely addictive and pleasurable to eat.
- Japanese Soba Noodles. Deliciously nutty and gluten-free soba noodles. Look for this pantry staple in Asian markets or in the international aisle at your local grocery store.
- Sambal Oelek. A fresh chili paste that’s garlicky, smoky, and spicy!
- Dressing: Rice Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Mirin, Maple Syrup, Sesame Oil. A combination that is bright, fresh, punchy, and sweet.
- Cilantro. A healthy dose keeps things fresh and fragrant.
- Sugar Snap Peas. Add so much crunch and lightness!
- Ginger. Optional but adds subtle zing and fragrance.
- Cook + rinse noodles. Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Make dressing. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
- Mix noodles + dressing together. Pour over the soba noodles. Toss with tongs.
- Add vegetables + herbs. Add cilantro, green onions, and sliced sugar snap peas. Toss again.
- Serve and enjoy! Serve immediately and enjoy cold or room temperature.
- Don’t overcook the soba noodles. The texture is everything.
- Rinse noodles with cold water. A quick drain and rinse stops the cooking process. Also prevents gumminess and the noodles from sticking together.
- Adjust spice level. Spicy Soba Noodle Salad is spicy! If you prefer, add only half the Sambal Oelek. Or leave it out altogether, if needed.
- Toss together right before serving. Keeps everything fresh, crunchy, and fragrant this way.
- Make it a meal. Add leftover chicken, cucumber, hard-boiled or soft-boiled egg, carrot, and/or shredded cabbage for a complete meal.
As a side, Spicy Soba Noodle Salad complements any grilled meat or vegetables. The bright, punchy flavors are a great accompaniment to meaty mains or other Asian dishes, too. Some suggestions:
- BBQ mains: hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs
- Asian Pork Riblets
- Sheet Pan Asian Glazed Salmon
- LA Galbi
- Spicy Pork Belly Bulgogi
Or serve as a main dish with toppings of choice customized to your liking. Some suggestions:
- Shredded leftover or rotisserie chicken
- Grilled protein: steak, chicken, pork, salmon
- Vegetables: shredded or thinly sliced carrots, cabbage, or bell peppers
- Hard or Soft Boiled Egg
- Spring Salad Mix
Can I make this ahead of time?
Yes, you definitely can! Simply prep all the ingredients separately ahead of time. When it’s time to eat, simply assemble and serve.
Can I use a different kind of noodle?
Other noodles that can work: Korean Makguksu or Japanese Somen noodles could also work. Follow the directions, as per usual. If you don’t have access to any Asian ingredients, angel hair pasta could be a passable substitute as well. Just make sure to rinse well with cold water so it doesn’t stick together.
Other noodle dishes to enjoy:
Spicy Soba Noodle Salad (no peanuts)
- Big Bowl
- soba noodles (4 bundles)
- 1 cup sugar snap peas thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 1/4 cup green onion chopped
- 2 Tbsp sambal olek (try 1 Tbsp for a less spicy version)
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar (or apple vinegar or white distilled vinegar)
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp mirin
- 1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds toasted
- 1 inch ginger minced, optional
- Cook soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients together.
- Pour dressing over the soba noodles. Mix well with tongs.
- Add veggies and herbs. Mix well with tongs. Serve and enjoy!