Make Ahead

Cold Vegetable and Noodle Salad with Ponzu Dressing

June 24, 2015
3 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

Acidic and salty, with an ocean whiff from kelp and Katsuobushi, ponzu (the name translates to "vinegar punch") is on track to be your new favorite condiment. But a sauce so complex comes with a long ingredient list and deserves a salad that will treat it well. Here, the ponzu acts as a marinade for corn and tofu, both of which get roasted, then does its duty as salad dressing. Tossed with slippery udon and a band of vegetables and herbs—some crunchy, some sweet, some oniony, some fresh—the ponzu is its most savory, most refreshing self. —Sarah Jampel

What You'll Need
  • For the ponzu:
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari (I used a reduced sodium version)
  • 1/4 cup bonito
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (sweet sake)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • one 2-inch piece kombu
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • For the noodle salad:
  • 8 ounces udon noodles
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon yellow miso
  • 12 ounces extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 ears corn
  • 1 cup cooked edamame
  • 1 small head Savoy cabbage, cut into small ribbons, rinsed, and dried
  • 1 cucumber, roughly chopped
  • 3 scallions, green parts only, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, or more to taste
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Basil and mint, torn, for serving
  1. For the ponzu:
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan and mix to distribute.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from the heat and let sit for 30 minutes.
  4. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the ponzu into a small bowl. Let cool completely.
  1. For the noodle salad:
  2. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions, making sure to rinse them well under cold running water once they have finished cooking. Spread the noodles out onto a clean cloth to let them dry, then add to a bowl with the toasted sesame oil and toss to coat. This should prevent the noodles from forming large clumps. Put into the refrigerator to cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400° F. To a small bowl, add the miso to 4 tablespoons of the ponzu. Whisk well to incorporate the miso and get rid of most of the clumps (some are okay).
  4. Add the cubed tofu to a medium bowl and pour 3 tablespoons of the ponzu and miso mixture over top, stirring so that all of the tofu is evenly coated.
  5. While the tofu marinates, cut the kernels off the ears of the corn, trying to get as much from the cob as possible. Corn juice is okay. Add the corn to a bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of ponzu-miso dressing.
  6. Spread the tofu onto a baking sheet and the corn onto another. Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring after 10, until the tofu has golden, crisp edges and the corn is cooked and starting to brown. If you'd like your corn more charred, leave it in for longer. Let the tofu and corn cool completely on their baking sheets.
  7. In a large serving bowl, pile in the noodles, tofu, corn, edamame, cabbage, and cucumber. Pour in the rest of the ponzu—reserving a little bit if you'd like to dress the salads more at the table—and toss so that everything is mixed and coated. Top with scallions and toasted sesame seeds and serve with lime wedges and torn herbs.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • MaryGehling
  • AntoniaJames
  • Courtney C
    Courtney C
  • Emily Smith
    Emily Smith
  • drbabs

16 Reviews

MaryGehling May 31, 2021
The Ponzu is so delicious and really easy to make. We love this recipe and have it in our favorites. The Ponzu is a keeper all by itself!
AntoniaJames April 30, 2021
A keeper. I will be making the ponzo, alone, in the future, to keep on hand. We went off-piste a bit, serving the ponzu-tossed vegetables over soba tossed with a touch of toasted sesame oil, and sprinkled a tablespoon or so of chopped peanuts over each bowl. Added some steamed bok choy for more color. The corn seemed a little odd, but it works. I made twice the tofu that we needed - so I looking forward to that for lunch! ;o)
JSand July 20, 2020
Would it be a scandalous to suggest in a weeknight pinch using store bought jarred ponzu? Or, does this vary too much in taste?
AntoniaJames April 30, 2021
The ponzo in this recipe is much, much better than any store-bought ponzo I've ever tasted. It's easy to make and keeps well, making it well worth the effort. ;o)
jcasare June 10, 2018
This recipe does't seem to justify the ponzu... Just but ponzu and make the salad. save yourself some time
Charles July 16, 2022
And I'm thinking just the opposite: make the ponzu - skip the salad; a nice salad but nothing especially compelling about it. I've saved this recipe to my favorites for the ponzu recipe. So, we each found something to like about Sarah's recipe. Is this a great site or what?
Rose M. January 1, 2018
Thank you
Rose M. January 1, 2018
Hello, This recipe looks delicious and I cannot wait to try it. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup bonito - is that bonito flakes? Thank you.
Sarah J. January 1, 2018
Courtney C. December 28, 2015
This recipe looks amazing! Is there something that I can substitute for the bonito flakes to make the sauce vegetarian? Thank you!
Alexandra G. January 26, 2016
Substitute with some nori, it should lend the 'fishy' taste without the fish :)
Courtney C. June 21, 2016
Thank you!
Emily S. August 25, 2015
This recipe looked so delicious (and meat-free) I started out my new commitment to Meatless Mondays with it! I will agree with the other comment that it is a bit of a process the first time making it, as it requires a few different pans and separate cooking going on--but we loved it so much it's definitely worth the work. Plus, since it's eaten cold it makes for the most excellent leftovers, so we're planning to double the recipe next time! ( I even blogged about it I loved it so much!
drbabs August 18, 2015
Hi Sara! I made this salad for dinner last night and it is delicious. And so elegant looking! But, man, it is a project! I was working on it all day--not necessarily something you'd feel like doing on a hot day. I have some suggestions for making it easier:
1. Make the ponzu ahead. Make a lot of it. It's delicious and very useful to have around.
2. This lends itself beautifully to leftovers. Fresh corn that you grilled or steamed the night before. (Or even frozen corn if fresh is out of season.) Shrimp, chicken, flank steak instead of tofu. (I used shrimp, and I marinated it in the ponzu without the miso.) Who wants to turn on the oven when it's 90 out?
3. Buy shelled frozen edamame.
Then it's just cooking noodles, chopping some vegetables, and tossing everything together. Which is much more my speed on a hot night.
Sarah J. August 18, 2015
Hooray! So glad you liked it. And thank you for all of your smart suggestions! Yes, definitely make the ponzu ahead and throw in whatever leftovers you want! I love using tofu because I'm a vegetarian so shrimp/chicken/steak are not options for me, but raw tofu (and raw corn for that matter) would probably be just as good as baked or fried. I did use frozen edamame, but I steamed it first. Do you use it straight away, no cooking necessary?
drbabs August 18, 2015
Yes, I get it at Trader Joe's and it's precooked. I would love to be a vegetarian but I don't like tofu.