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Buckwheat Soba Noodle Salad

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First off, Happy New Year!

Decided to ease into 2017 with a simple recipe. After a few months of stews and heavier fare, I’m craving something light and refreshing. A quick, cold, buckwheat soba noodle salad with an assortment of vegetables/herbs — julienned carrot and cucumber, scallions, and cilantro and/or basil — and edamame. The dressing, a simple vinaigrette of sesame oil, ginger, garlic, rice wine vinegar, and tamari lightly sweetened with honey and packing a slightly spicy kick from sambal oelek. This salad comes together in a manner of minutes.

I topped the salad with toasted sesame and nigella seeds. The nigella seeds were a last-minute addition. Was rummaging through my highly disorganized spice cabinet for black sesame seeds, which I’m positive are hiding in there somewhere, when I came across a full bag of nigella seeds. Once upon a time I had plans for those nigella seeds, though can no longer recall exactly what (I really need to get organized). If you are not familiar with nigella seeds, they’re also referred to as black cumin or black caraway seeds (but not related to either), and have an onion-y + black pepper flavor profile. A bit on the the bitter side. Also touted for their many health benefits.

The noodles, 100% buckwheat. Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat. In fact, it’s not a grain, but rather related to sorrel, rhubarb, and knotweed. Roasted buckwheat groats are known as kasha, a staple in Russia and Poland households; while I have Russian and Polish roots, I’ve yet to try kasha, perhaps 2017 will be the year?

Have a few more ideas brewing (including a recent purchase of coffee flour that I’m eager to experiment with and a bag of blue and white corn masa — I foresee fresh tortillas/tacos in the near future).  Until then, happy cooking in 2017! What recipes/dishes are on your to-do/to-eat list?

Would like to try my hand at making buckwheat noodles at some point, but for now I used store-bought.

I like to make sambal oelek from scratch. A combination of chiles (cayenne, fresno, Holland or red jalapeno, the latter when available in warmer months), salt, and a splash of distilled vinegar if you like, pounded with a mortar and pestle or food processor until if forms a paste. It packs more heat than the store-bought variety. I used one pound of chiles, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 tablespoons distilled vinegar. Just pound, pound, pound…


Soba Buckwheat Noodle Salad

7 ounces buckwheat noodles
2 medium carrots, julienned
2 small Persian cucumbers, julienned
1 bunch scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced on a bias
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro (or combination cilantro and basil)
1 cup edamame
black and white toasted sesame seeds (or combination sesame and nigella seeds) for garnish
lime wedges for serving
sambal oelek for serving

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop in buckwheat noodles and cook until al dente, about 5 mintues. Drain and plunge into cold water. Drain and pat dry.

In a large bowl, combine noodles, carrots, cucumbers, scallions, cilantro, and edamame. Add the dressing and gently toss. Top with toasted sesame seeds. Serve with lime wedges and extra sambal.


1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon honey
3 to 4 teaspoons, grated ginger, more or less to taste
1 clove of garlic, grated
3 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sambal oelek, more if you like

Whisk all ingredients together until well combined.

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