Author Notes: This one-bowl meal begs to be eaten outside. Soba noodles get bathed in a peanut sauce and then tossed with scallions, mint, spinach, and peanuts. The salad can be made in advance and also travels well, whether you’re headed to the park, to a mountaintop, or just to your own backyard. —Nicki
Food52 Review: This is a great picnic dish. There's a bit too much dressing on the salad for my tastes and I wish it were a little bit spicier, so add the the first incrementally, and feel free to adjust the second to your tastesIt sits well and all the flavors complement each other. The tea is a thoughtful addition and I'm excited to play with it as a salad ingredient more. —Stephanie Bourgeois
Serves 6 to 8
- 1 pound soba noodles
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup strong brewed black tea (regular or decaf)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 lime
- 2 cups English or Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 1/2 cup mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- Cook the soba noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions. Be sure to give them a good stir every now and then, especially at the beginning, so that they don’t clump up. Drain, rinse with cold water, and transfer to large bowl. Toss with 1 teaspoon sesame oil.
- In the meantime, combine the olive oil, peanut butter, tea, garlic cloves, tamari or soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, honey, red pepper flakes, and juice from 1/4 of the lime in a blender, then blend until smooth. Taste and add additional lime juice if desired. Pour the sauce over the warm noodles and toss to combine. The mixture will look quite soupy at this point, but the noodles will absorb the sauce as they chill. Refrigerate noodles for at least 1 hour, and up to 24 hours.
- Layer the scallions, cucumbers, spinach, mint, and peanuts over the noodles. At this point, the salad can be covered again and refrigerated for an additional 4 hours, or it can be tossed together with tongs and served. For a picnic, divide the salad into individual serving containers, pack them in a cooler or backpack, and hit the road!