In just 15 minutes, you could be enjoying this DELICIOUS super saucy sesame soba noodle salad. It’s a favourite for busy weeknights and meal prep and is easy to adapt to whatever you have in the fridge. Plus, it’s gluten-free and vegan.
This is one of those recipes that you can totally make your own once you know how to make the base. Use green beans, edamame, broad beans, peas, asparagus, shredded cabbage, asparagus, red pepper, onion, baby corn, and sugar snap peas…you can really throw in whatever you have in the fridge and it’s a great way to get lots of veggies in. Honestly, tossing crunchy veggies through a creamy sauce with noodles is always going to be a good idea.
It’s also a great make-ahead meal because it keeps so well once it’s mixed, so is a perfect one for meal prepping and enjoying throughout the week. Along with adding more vegetables, you could throw in some shredded cooked chicken (this miso grilled chicken or sticky gochujang chicken would be great), grill some halloumi and add that in or flake in cooked salmon (try my miso salmon).
The sesame sauce uses cupboard staples and I’ve listed some alternatives below. Everything else you most probably already have.
- Soba noodles. These are made from buckwheat flour which means they’re gluten-free, so they’re fab for anyone with a gluten intolerance. I also actually prefer them to regular egg/flour noodles because they have more flavour and a really satisfying bite. They’re easy to pick up in a supermarket, but if you can’t find them, you could use udon instead.
- For the sauce. I’m using a combination of tahini (or use unsweetened peanut butter), sesame oil, chilli oil (give my chilli oil a go), tamari (or use soy sauce), rice vinegar (use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar if you don’t have any), chilli jam (try making my homemade chilli jam), garlic and ginger. It’s creamy and nutty from the tahini, super savoury from the soy sauce with a lovely sweetness from the chilli jam and a hit of spice from the chilli oil. I could drink this stuff and I know you’ll love it too.
The noodles and sauce are mixed with DELICIOUS marinated smacked cucumber (this uses similar ingredients as the sauce does, minus the tahini) as well as blanched broccolini to create a super satisfying, saucy salad.
How to make it
Start by smacking the cucumber and tossing it through a marinade. The method of smacking cucumber – as well as being super therapeutic – makes lots of little craggy bits in the cucumber that the marinade can cling to.
Soba noodles often have a reputation for being a little tricky to get right. They can end up gummy or sticky, rather than lovely glossy noodle strips ready to be tossed in a sauce. The hack for getting them right is to plunge them in cold water after they’re cooked, and then give them a little scrunch/massage in the water. This action gets rid of the excess starch sticking to the outside of the noodles, which makes them stick and go gummy in texture. It seems weird, but it works.
Chop the ends off the broccolini (or broccoli) and slice into bite-sized pieces. I like cutting them small so that they’re easier to mix in with the noodles. My favourite, lazy hack for blanching vegetables is to pour boiling water on top of them and let them sit for a couple of minutes. Blanching vegetables like broccolini cooks them so they’re not raw, but they’re still lovely and crunchy.
Make that magical sesame tahini sauce – I like to use a fork to give it a really good mix until it forms a creamy, cohesive sauce.
Mix the noodles, cucumber, tahini dressing and the broccolini, then you’re done.
Got a question?
You can keep these in the fridge for 3 days, in a sealed container. It’s a great make-ahead meal.
Udon would be a good alternative to the soba noodles here and they’ll last for the same amount of time in the fridge. You could even use spaghetti to make this if you like.
I think the salad is hearty enough by itself, especially for lunch. But if you do want to bulk it out, it pairs well with salmon (try miso grilled salmon) or chicken (take a look at sticky gochujang chicken or miso chicken). It would also be delicious with sweet chilli glazed halloumi.
This is a really customisable recipe. You could use asparagus, spring onion, cauliflower, green beans, edamame, broad beans, peas, spinach, red peppers, onion… All of those would be delicious in this, so you can definitely improvise based on what you have in your fridge or freezer.
Like this recipe? Here are more make-ahead salads to try
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.Print