If the cold weather outside makes you less enthusiastic about light, crispy-cold salads, here is a hearty and warming salad, that is perfect for the weather.Soba noodle, which are made from buckwheat, are well known in Japanese cuisine, where they are served hot in broth, or cold, with a dipping sauce. They are highly nutritious, as they contain eight of the nine essential amino acids. Since buckwheat (despite its name) is gluten free, the noodles are also a wonderful alternative to wheat pasta. Their firm texture and nutty flavor makes them also suitable for an American version, in which they are used as a base for salads, as shown in the following recipe.
The dressing I’ve mixed here, combines American style peanut butter with Asian ingredients. The addition of some crunchy vegetables, scallions and cilantro adds lots of fresh flavors and colors. The salad is best served at room temperature. It can be served as is, or topped with proteins such as grilled shrimps, fish, chicken, etc. Try it and enjoy.
* Not all Soba noodles contain 100% buckwheat flour. For best flavor (and gluten-free option) make sure to look for types that are made only from buckwheat.
* For best results, choose natural peanut butter without any additives.
* Miso paste, chili sauce and soy sauce, vary in the level of saltiness, so it’s best not to add salt before mixing and tasting the dressing first.
* Other vegetables can be used instead, or on top of, the ones mentioned here. I sometimes add diced cucumbers, carrots, radishes,broccoli, etc. Herbs, such as mint or basil can be added or replace the cilantro.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
8 oz (227 grams) soba noodles, preferably 100% buckwheat
About 12 fresh snow peas
1 Tbs tahini paste, unsalted
2 Tbs natural chunky peanut butter
2 Tbs sweet chili sauce
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs red miso paste
¼ cup warm water
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Salt to taste
2 scallions, chopped
4-5 mini peppers, chopped
2 Tbs cilantro, chopped
Sweet and Spicy roasted peanuts (optional)
Fresh cilantro leaves
1. In a small pot, boil water with a bit of salt. Add the snow peas and blanch for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl with ice water. Once cold, strain, pat dry, cut off the ends and slice thin, on the bias.
2. Boil water in a large pot, add the noodles and cook for 6-8 minutes. Strain through a colander and wash with cold water.
3. In a large bowl, mix the tahini paste, peanut butter, chili sauce, soy sauce and miso paste. Gradually add the warm water and mix to combine. Add the ginger, vinegar and sesame oil, mix to a thick dressing. Taste and add salt to taste, if needed.
Add the cooked noodles and mix, so that the noodles are coated with the dressing. Add the snow peas, scallions, peppers and cilantro. Mix again and served, with spicy-sweet peanuts and fresh cilantro on top.