This Asian-inspired salad blends elements from several cuisines to create a taste that hits all the right notes: hot, salty, sour and sweet. Soba is the Japanese word for buckwheat; these noodles are rich in fibre, iron and essential amino acids; they are also a source of protein. While buckwheat itself does not contain gluten (the ‘wheat’ in its name is a misnomer), it’s important to check packages when purchasing soba noodles if you are looking for a gluten-free variety. I like the cilantro in this salad but you could substitute or supplement it with chopped fresh basil and/or mint. It’s best made the day you are planning to serve it. Note that you can easily omit the fish sauce to make this cheerful, flavourful salad for vegetarians or vegans.
12 oz. (340 grams) dry soba noodles
¾ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sriracha (Asian hot sauce) or to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
juice of one lime
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and slice thinly
1 red pepper, julienned
2 small or 1 large mango, peeled and julienned
2 tablespoons sliced green onion tops
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or basil and/or mint)
1/2 cup chopped cashews or peanuts
- Cook soba noodles in a large pot of boiling water till just tender; drain and rinse in cold water. Wrap in a tea towel to dry completely. You can make the noodles up to 6 hours ahead; just refrigerate them until ready to continue.
- While noodles are cooking, make dressing – start by putting vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute.
- Add in sriracha and garlic, stir for 1 minute longer.
- Remove pot from heat and whisk in lime zest and juice, fish sauce and sesame oil.
- Let dressing cool to room temperature. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
- In a large serving bowl, combine cooked noodles with cucumber, mango, red pepper, green onion and cilantro, reserving a tablespoon of each fruit and vegetable for garnish, along with a couple of whole cilantro leaves.
- Drizzle dressing over all and stir gently to combine.
- Top with reserved garnishes and crushed cashews or peanuts. Serve with lime wedges for an extra squeeze of flavour.
Serves 8 – 12.
Bonus: You can watch a video of this salad being prepared on CTV Ottawa Morning Live!