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.
Last Updated: 21st February 2019
Total Time Investment: 30 Minutes
I love a good soba noodle salad. Maybe it has something to do with my addiction to carbs, and the fact that soba noodles are delicious cold. This makes them the perfect base for a main meal salad in summer when it is far too hot for a steaming bowl of pasta. And any leftovers are perfect for packing into the lunchbox the next day.
Main meal salads are my go to meal at the height of summer. I prepare any elements that need to be cooked in the cooler mornings of a hot summer day, and then simply assemble the salad just before dinner. You can find all my tips and tricks for preparing salads ahead in the free cheatsheet from my Resource Library. Simply click the link below, or request the library password at the end of this post, to grab your own copy of the guide.
So What Are Soba Noodles?
Soba noodles are a thin Japanese noodle with a delicious nutty flavour and slightly chewy texture, and they are delicious cold. Soba is the Japanese word for buckwheat, and traditionally soba noodles were only made with buckwheat flour. Noodles made with 100% buckwheat flour are a lovely dark brown colour, and are gluten free.
However if you do need a gluten free option, make sure you read the labels carefully as many brands sold in supermarkets contain a proportion of wheat flour. The wheat flour does make the soba noodles easier to cook, but is not ideal if you need dinner to be gluten free.
And What is 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 recipe, before adding it to my meal.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
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Ingredient Substitutions for this Nutty Soba Noodle Salad
Turn this recipe into your own with a few simple substitutions using ingredients you already have on hand:
- Any type of noodle will work in this salad in place of the soba noodles. Udon noodles, thick rice noodles or even egg noodles would all work here.
- Tamari, a Japanese soy sauce, is used as a gluten free substitute for soy sauce. Not all tamari varieties are gluten free however, so do 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 sugar 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.
- I prefer to use seasoned tempeh as it is (as the name suggest) already seasoned and adds additional flavour to the salad. The seasoned tempeh can be substituted with natural tempeh if preferred.
- Firm tofu can be used in place of the seasoned tempeh.
- If you are a carnivore then some poached shredded chicken would be delicious in addition to, or in place of, the tempeh.
- Mix up the vegetables according to what you have on hand. It will still be delicious.
How to make the most Delicious Soba Noodle Salad Recipe
I leave you with a few tips to make this soba noodle salad recipe the best you have ever tried. Promise!
- The salad dressing will appear quite thick when all the ingredients are combined. This is deliberate. I like to drain the soba, then immediately mix in the dressing. Any water clinging to the hot noodles will thin the dressing out so it can 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 soba noodle salad 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 salad will sit quite happily once made, and will keep for up to three days in the fridge. Make it in advance for dinner, or keep it for a quick lunch through the week.
One year ago: How To Make The Best Pizza Sauce
Two years ago: Lentil & Roast Beef Salad
Three years ago: 5 Minute Sour Cream Salad Dressing
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Nutty Soba Noodle Salad Recipe 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 toasted 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. Follow the instructions on the back of the packet for best results.
- The salad dressing will appear quite thick when all the ingredients are combined. The water clinging to the hot noodles will thin the dressing out so it can coat the vegetables and noodles.
- If the noodles seem quite dry before adding the dressing, thin the dressing with a little hot water.
- If you like chili, and don't have chili haters in the house, I highly recommend that you add it in.
- This salad will keep for up to three days in the fridge.
Update notes: This post was updated on 18th January 2018 to include nutritional information and to add ingredient substitutions. It was updated again on 21st February 2019 to improve the readability of the post.