Peanut Soba Noodle Salad

May 28, 2014
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6 to 8
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
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26 Reviews

Danielle January 7, 2019
I made this exactly as instructed without the spice. It was delicious and easy! My husband thought it needed less honey.
Michelle K. August 3, 2018
How long does the dressing last in the fridge if you don't use it all when making the salad?
Nicki August 6, 2018
The dressing will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge!
cookinalong May 17, 2018
This is wonderful as written, but if you have sesame paste, substitute it for the peanut butter & you will not be sorry! Also, I usually toss in some leftover chicken (or some poached just for this purpose) to make a more substantial meal.
Nicki May 21, 2018
Oooh, I can't wait to try the sesame paste idea!
Dionisia B. July 24, 2017
This was yummy! Looking forward to eating the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
Nicki July 25, 2017
So glad you liked it it! (Enjoy your lunch today ;)
Lily November 9, 2016
perfect weeknight meal, and makes amazing leftovers
Nicki November 10, 2016
I'm so glad you liked it, Lily!
LouLou August 15, 2016
This is delicious, and perfect picnic food! I omitted the Mirin (and forgot the crunch peanuts, shhhhh). As well, I spiralized the cucumber. Will definitely make this again (and again, and again!)
suzi July 16, 2016
i want to make this today but do i use regular sesame oil or toasted? sounds DELISH!!!
Nicki July 17, 2016
Sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner! (I'm just seeing this). I use toasted sesame oil :)
Alicia July 4, 2016
I went to high school in Taiwan, where convenience stores like 7-11 had great food (strange but true). They sold this one cold peanut noodle dish, with cucumbers and carrots, that we would buy constantly. I've been looking to recreate it as an adult in the US ever since, and this is as close as I've come! The first time I made this recipe it brought up huge sense memories, and it has been a favorite dish in rotation ever since! My parents and friends from Taiwan agree, and everyone else loves it too; I've made it for multiple book clubs and people always ask for the recipe!
Nicki July 5, 2016
Wow, this is the biggest compliment ever. I'm so happy that you like it!! :)
Food-G June 2, 2015
This was everything I dreamed it would be with big peanutty flavor and lots of umami. I went light (about half) on the tea, and only used half of the salad dressing after reading other reviews regarding "soupiness". Also, added cilantro and julienne carrot to the mix, and substituted chard for spinach (just trying to use up produce). Seems like a fun recipe to fiddle with as long as you've made that incredible dressing. This would make a great bring-along for all those summer bbq's. Definitely giving this one a home in my recipe binder. Thanks!
Blythe H. July 25, 2014
This was super delicious! Made it with Braggs Liquid Aminos instead of soy sauce, for the sake of my mother not getting a migraine due to MSG/preservatives. It turned out beautifully, since Braggs tastes extremely similar to soy sauce. This dish will certainly be made again and again!
Natalie K. July 18, 2014
I used whole wheat spaghetti instead of Soba as I had run out. But still yummy. I omitted a few ingredients that aren't completely necessary and it's a forgiving recipe.
HollySasha July 12, 2014
Didn't love this - just ok for the work :(
garlicgirl July 10, 2014
I just made this and it was amazing! I couldn't get spinach or scallions so I added shredded carrots and chopped red pepper. My guests asked for the recipe. Thank you!
Nicki July 13, 2014
Thanks garlicgirl!
Nicki June 26, 2014
Thanks QueenSashy! I hope you enjoy!
QueenSashy June 26, 2014
I've been making a lot of peanut soba, but have never tried adding tea. One learns something new every day! I look forward to trying this, sounds delicious...
Nicki June 23, 2014
I hope you enjoy Mandilynn!! It's excellent potluck fare :)
Mandilynn June 23, 2014
I have a work potluck coming up in 2 days. This sounds perfect! I wanted something savory I wouldn't have to worry about keeping warm in a slow cooker and this seems like perfect summer fair. Also, the pot luck is supposed to center on international dishes, so another plus here. Thanks for the great recipie!
Nicki June 6, 2014
2 cups of thinly sliced English or Persian cucumber! So sorry for the omission. I will add it asap.
Andrew June 6, 2014
How much cucumber is used? It's in the directions, but not listed in the ingredients.