Soba Salad With Kabocha Squash & Toasted Pepitas From Sonoko Sakai

October  1, 2020
1 Ratings
Photo by Rick Poon
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

"This is the salad that I served at one of my first soba pop-ups in Los Angeles, working with my chef friends Roxana Jullapat and Daniel Mattern of Friends & Family. Roxana and Dan came up with the idea to add a little pumpkin seed oil to the dressing and garnish with toasted pepitas, which opened my mind about the possibilities of soba." —Sonoko Sakai

From Japanese Home Cooking by Sonoko Sakai © 2019 Sonoko Sakai. Photographs © 2019 by Rick Poon. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • For the amakara (sweet and savory) shoyu tare & soba salad
  • 2 tablespoons kokuto syrup
  • 2 teaspoons shoyu tare or soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 g) kabocha squash (about half of a medium squash), peeled and diced into ½-inch (12 mm) cubes
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon untoasted sesame oil or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 8 ounces (230 g) dried or fresh soba noodles
  • 10 ounces (284 g) mixed baby greens, such as arugula, spinach, and kale
  • For the pumpkin seed vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons ginger juice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil or other nut oil (such as almond, walnut, or pecan)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil or untoasted sesame oil
  • 1 pinch shichimi togarashi, plus more to taste
  • 1 pinch flaky sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the kokuto syrup and shoyu tare in a small saucepan.
  3. To roast the squash for the salad, toss the squash with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the squash on the prepared baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes, basting with the shoyu tare after the squash has had a chance to roast for 7 minutes. Brush again after 5 minutes. Roast until the squash can be pierced with a fork but is still slightly firm and the bottom is slightly browned. There is no need to turn the squash. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  4. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F (163°C).
  5. In a small bowl, toss the pepitas in the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and place them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place in the oven and toast until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  6. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  7. Cook the soba noodles in a pot of boiling water until al dente. If you are using store-bought noodles, follow the instructions on the package. If you are using homemade noodles, the cooking time will depend on the thickness of your noodles; it will be anywhere from 1½ minutes for thin noodles to 3 to 4 minutes for thicker noodles. Vigorously rinse the cooked noodles under cold running water to remove the starch, then shock the noodles in a bowl of ice water for 3 seconds. Drain the noodles very well.
  8. Arrange the greens and soba in a serving bowl and toss with the dressing. Top with pieces of the roasted squash and garnish with the pepitas. Add sea salt, shichimi togarashi, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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1 Review

Esvee October 4, 2020
This looks incredible! I’d love to learn what kokuto syrup shichimi togarashi are, and find out what good substitutions would be!