This quick, flavorful, and healthy soba noodle salad goes very well with my Sesame Crusted Tofu. You can serve it warm or cold which makes it super versatile.
In this recipe I use what is known as fermented black beans. These are not you average Mexican-style black beans but rather fermented black soy beans. They are used a lot in particularly Chinese cooking and you can usually find them in Asian grocery stores. They add a deep umami-like flavor to the dressing but if you can’t find them just leave them out. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a proper substitute for them but thanks to the combination of soy sauce, sesame oil and sake the dressing is perfectly good even without them.
I love watercress for its wild peppery flavor but you can of course choose to use different greens if watercress is not something you can easily find in your local supermarket. Spinach and rucola both work well as substitutes in this soba noodle salad.
Soba is the Japanese word for buckwheat and traditionally made soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour and water only. These days, commercially made soba noodles are more often made from a combination of buckwheat and wheat flours. Somen noodles, made entirely from wheat flour, are a great alternative to soba in this salad and if you are trying to avoid wheat you can substitute with rice noodles. Because they are really thin, rice vermicelli works particularly well as a substitute in with this recipe.
Soba Noodle Salad
- 1 tablespoon fermented black soy beans, rinsed well If you cannot find these just leave them out.
- 1/4 cup sake
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 ½ cups watercress or baby spinach. Chop the leaves a bit if they are large
- 200 grams (7 oz) soba noodles
- Sesame seeds to serve
- 4-5 green onions
- In a small bowl, mash the rinsed beans with a fork and add the sake, soy sauce, sesame oil, and water. Mix well and set aside.
- Wash and dry the greens and chop them a bit if the leaves are large. Set aside.
- Chop the green onions as well. Set aside.
- Cook the noodles according to instructions on the package. Drain well and transfer them to your serving bowl.
- Add the greens, onions, and the dressing to the noodles and toss to mix well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.