If cold sesame or peanut noodles are part of your usual comfort food rotation, this dish is a great take-out fake-out. Soba noodles are traditionally made from buckwheat, which, contrary to its name, is a gluten-free flour that’s rich in protein and fiber. It also has a wonderful earthy flavor that pairs well with toasted sesame oil, creamy almond butter, and bright pickled vegetables from the farmer’s market. To make this noodle dish even more veg-centric, I go halvsies with spiralized zucchini. Depending on your preferences, you can, of course, use all soba or all zoodles (see Market Swap notes). But I think this version gives you the best of both worlds.
HEALTHY HEDONIST TIPS
Make sure to look for noodles that are 100 percent buckwheat, as many traditional soba brands now use wheat flour to create sturdier strands. Eden Foods and King Soba are my favorites. Reserve your radish leaves and use them to make a peppery puree. They’re a great addition to my asparagus stalk pesto.
If you don’t own a spiralizer, you can easily just use all packaged noodles. Simply double the quantity of soba and omit the zucchini. Or for a Paleo version, vice versa. Use whatever veggies you find at the market for the quick-pickled topping. Carrots, fennel, or sugar snap peas would work well. To make a Thai version of this dish, swap vermicelli or flat rice noodles for the soba. Omit the sesame oil completely, and sub 2 tablespoons fish sauce for the tamari. Garnish with chopped peanuts instead of sesame seeds.
Also published on Medium.
- 8 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
- 1 bunch of radishes (about 6 medium), cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 pound cucumber, cut into ½- inch cubes
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
- ½ cup unsalted almond butter
- 1 small garlic clove
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 limes)
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari
- 2 teaspoons raw honey
- 2 teaspoons dark toasted sesame oil
- 2 large zucchini (about 1 pound), spiralized into thin noodles
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the soba noodles according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water until room temperature, shaking out all the excess. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- While the noodles are cooking, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the radishes, cucumber, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Allow the veggies to marinate for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.
- In the bowl of a small food processor, puree the almond butter, garlic, lime juice, tamari, honey, sesame oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ cup water. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the consistency of peanut sauce. Transfer to the mixing bowl with the soba noodles. Add the zucchini and toss until everything is well coated. Divide among serving bowls, top with the quick pickled veggies, and garnish with the sesame seeds.
- Serve room temperature or cold, alongside your favorite Asian hot sauce.