An easy vegan nutty soba noodle salad that is crazy delicious, and gluten free. Perfect for dinner on a hot evening, and any leftovers are great for tucking into the lunchbox.
Total Time Investment: 30 Minutes
Have you tried soba noodles? Soba noodles have a delicious nutty flavour and slightly chewy texture, and they are delicious cold. This makes them the perfect base for a main meal salad on a hot summer’s evening, or for tucking into the lunchbox.
So What Are Soba Noodles?
Soba noodles are a thin Japanese noodle traditionally made with buckwheat flour. Soba is the Japanese word for buckwheat. Noodles made only with buckwheat are a lovely dark brown colour, and are gluten free. However if you need a gluten free option, make sure you read the labels carefully as many brands sold in supermarkets contain a proportion of wheat flour. This makes them easier to cook, but are not ideal if you need dinner to be gluten free.
And What About Tempeh?
Tempeh is a fermented soybean cake that originated in Indonesia. Soybeans are lightly cooked, then cultured with a specific fungus that binds the loose beans into a block. The block of fermented beans can then be cut into pieces and further cooked according to your recipe. Tempeh is high in protein and easier to digest than other soy products, like tofu. The fermentation process unlocks nutrients within the beans, making them easier for our body to absorb.
Tempeh has (to me) a lovely nutty taste which pairs well with strong, spicy flavours. It is sold as either pre-seasoned or natural. Seasoned tempeh is ready to eat, and can be tucked into such dishes as burgers, fresh spring rolls or fried rice. Natural tempeh will taste a whole lot better if you season it before you eat it. I like to fry tempeh in a little coconut oil, as in this soba noodle salad, before adding it to my meal.
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Ingredient Substitutions for Nutty Soba Noodle Salad
The soba noodles can readily be substituted with any other noodle. If you want to serve it cold, I would probably use Udon or rice noodles. However you could also serve this as a warm salad using thin egg noodles.
Tamari is Japanese soy sauce, and is used as a gluten free substitute for soy sauce. Not all varieties are gluten free, so make sure to read the ingredient labels. Soy sauce can be substituted for tamari, but the soba noodle salad will no longer be gluten free.
Any type of sugar can be used in place of the coconut sugar. I would use rapadura or dark brown sugar, but if white sugar is all you have on hand then use that. I use coconut as I love the caramel flavour it adds, but the primary function of the sugar is to balance out the lime juice, so anything that adds sweetness will work here.An easy #vegan nutty soba #noodle #salad that is crazy delicious, and is perfect for #dinner on a hot evening. Any #leftovers are also great for the #lunchbox. #glutenfree Click To Tweet
I prefer to use seasoned tempeh as it is quick. This can be substituted with natural tempeh if preferred.
Firm tofu can be used in place of the seasoned tempeh, and if you are a carnivore, then some poached shredded chicken would also be great in this soba noodle salad.
Mix up the vegetables according to what you have on hand. It will still be delicious.
Tips & Tricks For A Crazy Delicious Soba Noodle Salad
The dressing will appear quite thick when all the ingredients are combined. I like to drain the soba, then immediately mix in the dressing. Any remaining water clinging to the noodles will thin the dressing out, allowing it to coat the vegetables and noodles. If your noodles seem quite dry before you add the dressing, you may need to thin the dressing with a little hot water before you pour it over the soba noodles.
I have not added chilli to the dressing as I serve this to The Princess. However, if you like chilli I highly recommend that you add it in.
Every single packet of soba noodles I have bought has had different cooking instructions on it. I assume this is related to the percentage of wheat flour in the noodles. Follow the instructions on the back of the packet for best results.
This dish will sit quite happily once made, and will keep for a few days in the fridge. Make it in advance for dinner, or keep it for a quick lunch through the week.
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Crazy Delicious Nutty Soba Noodle Salad with Crispy Tempeh
For the dressing
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) crunchy peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 Tablespoons tamari
- 2 Tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoons roasted sesame oil
- Juice of 2 limes
For the salad
- 250 g (9 oz) soba noodles
- 250 g (9 oz) seasoned tempeh cut into 1.5cm cubes
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 large carrot peeled and julienned
- 1 small cucumber julienned
- A handful of snow peas julienned
- 2 spring onions sliced
- 80 g (1/2 cup) coriander/cilantro leaves roughly chopped
- 40 g (1/4 cup) roasted peanuts chopped
- 1 red chilli sliced
To make the dressing
Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. The dressing will appear quite thick, and can be thinned with a little hot water if preferred.
Set the dressing aside.
To make the salad
- Cook the soba noodles according to the packet instructions*
Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water.
Place the noodles in a bowl of cold water to prevent them sticking together and set aside whilst preparing the vegetables & tempeh.
Heat the coconut oil in a fry pan and fry the tempeh until browned on all sides and crispy. Set the tempeh aside.
Drain the noodles and place them in a large bowl.
Add the dressing and mix well to distribute the dressing through the noodles.
Add the vegetables, chopped coriander, and crispy tempeh to the bowl.
Toss the noodles gently to mix in the vegetables and tempeh, and to coat the vegetables with the dressing. I like to use my hands for this as I find it the best way to mix it together.
Transfer the salad to a serving platter.
Scatter over the peanuts and sliced chilli.
*Every single packet of soba noodles I have bought has had different cooking instructions on it. I assume this is related to the percentage of wheat flour in the noodles. Follow the instructions on the back of the packet for best results.