Take a page out of chef Karen Akunowicz’s book (literally) with this soba noodle salad recipe, a sneak peek from her upcoming Myers + Chang At Home cookbook with chef Joanne Chang. The vegetarian-friendly bowl is “perfect for a lunch or a light dinner,” says Akunowicz and the bright flavors of lemon, cilantro and crisp cucumber are a reminder of the sunny days around the seasonal corner.
- 10 ounces dried buckwheat soba noodles (about 3 bundles)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil, such as canola
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (zest of about 2 small lemons)
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 English cucumber
- 2 blocks firm tofu
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 1 bunch scallions
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup dried toasted nori (seaweed sheets)
- 4 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- Bring 1 1/2 gallons of water to a boil and add the dried buckwheat soba noodles, stirring constantly and keeping the water at a boil. Cook the noodles for three to four minutes until soft and drain in a colander. Pour ice cold water over the noodles to stop them from cooking and then toss them in a large bowl with the 1/4 cup vegetable oil. [Chef says: This will keep the noodles from sticking together which will make you (and us) sad.]
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, ginger, honey, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, and sesame oil. [Chef says: This dressing will keep for up to a month in the fridge. Another nice way to make it is to combine all of the ingredients together in a Ball jar, screw the lid on tight and shake, shake, shake!]
- Slice the cucumber lengthwise and then slice each half thinly, making 1/4 inch half moons. Take two blocks of firm tofu and cut them into one-inch cubes. Remove the root and very top of the scallions [Chef says: "top and tail"], then slice thinly in small circles and set aside.
- To assemble the salad, toss the cooked noodles noodles with the dressing. Add the cucumbers, tofu, cilantro and scallions and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Distribute noodles evenly between four bowls. Crumble the nori and top each bowl with two tablespoons of nori and a tablespoon of sesame seeds. Serve immediately.