Asian-Inspired Cold Soba Noodle Salad
This healthy Asian-inspired cold soba noodle salad recipe is nutritionally-balanced, vegan, and gluten-free. Best of all, it’s ready in 30 minutes!
As a dietitian, it’s no secret that I love a good salad. That said, I’ve never been a fan of boring, empty salads that leave me hungry an hour later. I’m sure we can all relate to this feeling!
In order to make a salad a filling, balanced meal I always try to add a source of protein, fibre-rich carbohydrates, and healthy fats. This combination helps us meet our nutrition needs, while also keeping us feeling full and satisfied for longer.
When it comes to fibre-rich carbohydrate sources, soba noodles (along with quinoa) have always been one of my favourite ingredients to bulk up salads. I love that they cook in just 5 minutes and pair so perfectly with Asian-inspired dressings and fresh veggies.
I used pan-fried tamari tempeh for the protein source in this recipe. It’s a vegan protein option (1 cup provides 31 grams!), but feel free to swap it out with something else if you’d prefer. I think this soba noodle salad would taste fantastic with some crispy tofu, shrimp, or alongside a piece of salmon.
And for healthy fats, we’re using avocado oil in a delicious ginger-tamari-lime dressing!
This Asian-inspired cold soba noodle salad makes an easy vegan dinner or lunch recipe, and I hope you love it as much as I do. Because you can enjoy it cold, it also makes an awesome packed lunch idea that you can meal prep in advance.
What Are Soba Noodles Made Of?
Soba noodles are traditionally made from just buckwheat flour, but many brands make soba noodles with a combination of both buckwheat and wheat flours.
Are Soba Noodles Gluten-Free?
Despite having the word “wheat” in its name, buckwheat is actually a gluten-free “pseudocereal.” That said, not all commercially-available soba noodles will be gluten-free (which is fine for the majority of us).
If you require a gluten-free diet, be sure to carefully read the ingredient list when purchasing soba noodles:
- Make sure they are made of 100% buckwheat, and not a mix of buckwheat and wheat flours
- Make sure that they are certified gluten-free, as some noodles may be exposed to gluten during processing
Soba Noodle Nutrition
Because they are made from buckwheat, soba noodles are actually quite nutritious! Buckwheat soba noodles:
- are low on the glycemic index, meaning they don’t spike our blood sugar so quickly
- are a good source of dietary fibre – 1 serving provides about 3 grams
- provide protein – 1 cup of soba noodles contains about 6 grams
- are a source of micronutrients like manganese, thiamin, magnesium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus.
How To Cook Soba Noodles
Soba noodles are incredibly easy and quick to make. Simply bring a large pot of water to a boil, add dry noodles, and give them a quick stir.
Soba noodles only need about 5 minutes to cook through – take one noodle out to taste for doneness. You want to make sure it’s well-cooked, but not mushy.
When done, turn off heat and drain noodles into a colander. Rinse with cold water, being sure to work your hands through the noodles while rinsing. This will help to remove excess starch, and prevent noodles from sticking together.
Allow noodles to drain completely (in the colander) before adding them to your recipe. Soba noodles can be enjoyed hot or cold, making them a delicious and nutritious addition to things like salads, stir-fries, or soups!
Cold Soba Noodle Salad Dressing
I find that soba noodle salads pair best with an Asian-inspired dressing. Ingredients like tamari (or soy sauce), sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and lime all taste excellent with cold soba noodles.
The dressing I used in this recipe is made from avocado oil (for its neutral flavour), tamari, lime, ginger, and honey. Because the tamari is quite salty on its own, I don’t find that there is any need to add in extra salt, but feel free to play around with the ingredients to your taste.
Do note that if you require a completely gluten-free recipe, be sure to use gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce (which contains wheat).
How To Make Pan-Fried Tempeh
I chose to use a simple pan-fried tamari tempeh as the main protein in this recipe. To make it, simply cut a block of tempeh into long, 1/4-inch strips. Then, cut those strips into thirds.
Add tempeh strips to a bowl and toss with 1 Tbsp of tamari. Heat up a large skillet with avocado oil and add tempeh, cooking about 2 minutes on each side until browned.
Again, you can easily swap the tempeh with another protein source if you’d prefer!
More Healthy Noodle Recipe Ideas
- Vegan Noodle Bowl With Spicy Peanut Sauce
- Healthy Homemade Miso Ramen Noodle Soup
- Tempeh Stir-Fry With Creamy Miso-Peanut Sauce
If you give this Asian-Inspired Cold Soba Noodle Salad a try, let me know by leaving a comment and recipe rating below! Be sure to follow along on Instagram and Pinterest for more simple, healthy recipe ideas.
Get the Recipe: Asian-Inspired Cold Soba Noodle Salad
- Approx. 10 leaves of romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, thinnly sliced
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1/3 long English cucumber, thinnly sliced
- 1 watermelon radish, chopped
- Approx. 1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
- Approx. 115 grams soba noodles (enough for 2 people)
Pan-Fried Tamari Tempeh
To serve: (optional)
- Chopped cashews, sesame seeds, extra lime
- Cut one block of tempeh into 1/4-inch strips. Then, cut those strips into thirds. Place in a large bowl with tamari. Stir until well-coated. Set aside.
- Add all dressing ingredients into a small jar with a lid. Shake to mix and adjust to taste. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, chop/slice all vegetables, chop mint, and add to a large mixing bowl.
- Once water boils, add dry soba noodles. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes until done. Drain noodles into a colander, and rinse well with cold water. Leave in colander to drain completely.
- While noodles cook, heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add avocado oil and cook tempeh pieces, about 2 minutes each side until browned. Remove from heat.
- Add noodles and tempeh to prepared veggies/mint in large mixing bowl. Give salad dressing another shake, then pour over ingredients. Stir ingredients together, until well-coated with salad dressing.
- Serve salad in bowls, along with optional toppings (chopped cashews, sesame seeds, extra lime wedge). Best enjoyed cold!
As a dietitian, I create recipes with whole food ingredients that provide the nutrients needed for optimal health. My nutrition philosophy does not focus on numbers; however, I understand that this information can be helpful.
Do note that the nutrition info provided is an estimate and I cannot guarantee correctness of the displayed values. These numbers will differ depending on brands used, recipe modifications, and amount eaten. If you require specific nutrition information due to medical reasons, please consult with your dietitian or physician.