Asian-inspired salad full of flavour!
This dish 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 ounces (340 grams) dry soba noodles
- 3/4 cup (185 mL) rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) sriracha (Asian hot sauce) or to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) grated lime zest
- juice of one lime
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) 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 (30 mL) sliced green onion tops
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh cilantro (or basil and/or mint)
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped cashews or peanuts
- lime wedges
- 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!