Cold Asian Noodle Salad

Author: Justin
Serves 3-4 as a main dish, more as a side
45 minutes or so cooking time
1 package buckwheat soba noodles (about 8 oz) 2 tsp sesame oil
3 Tbl rice wine vinegar3 oz. soy sauce
1-2 tsp hot oil2-3 Tbl hoisin sauce
3 oz. olive oil1 carrot, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced6 scallions, bottom 4 inches, thinly sliced
1-2 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1-2 cups bok choy, thinly sliced2 cups bean sprouts
3 Tbl. minced fresh cilantro leaves3 Tbl sesame seeds, for garnish
4 Tbl unsalted peanuts, for garnish1/2 - 1 lb. Protein Unit (chicken, shrimp, tofu, etc), optional

Slice carrot, celery, scallions, cabbage, bell pepper, bok choy and cilantro; toss with bean sprouts in a very large bowl.

Toast sesame seeds in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, shaking frequently, until browned and beginning to give off their oil.  Pound peanuts a bit in a mortar until broken into smallish pieces.

Combine sesame oil, vinegar, soy, hot oil, hoisin and olive oil in a medium bowl.

Cook the Protein Unit as appropriate, and cut into reasonable-sized bits.

Cook soba noodles as usual; rinse in cold water until cold, to stop cooking.  Toss with vegetables and protein, and cover with sauce.  Ideally, let sit for an hour or more for flavors to meld.  Serve with peanuts and sesame seeds as garnish.

Notes and Variations

This spectacularly good dish is more or less stable, so it should make great picnic and potluck food.  Is probably good fridge-cold, but best at room temperature.  Toss before serving: the sauce and veggies will tend to sink to the bottom.  Requires a pretty serious shopping trip and a fair amount of chopping, but otherwise easy to prepare.

You will think that there is way too much vegetable matter here during prep.  However, it reduces considerably when covered with the noodles and sauce.  The above proportions result in a lot of veggies, but shouldn't be an excessive amount.

Obviously, omit the Protein Unit or use tofu if vegetarian is desired.


Adapted from Guy Fieri's Dang Cold Asian Noodle Salad, which he demonstrated on "Guy's Big Bite".  The original is probably excellent on its own, but we wound up tweaking it enough to be worth its own page.  We added the protein: 1/2 lb of chicken is good, but frankly it could easily absorb a pound.  We more or less doubled the sauce, to cover the protein (and because we always like sauce).  We nearly doubled the veggies when we made it, and decided that it still wants a lot more; the upper end of the ingredients above are up to 4 times as much veggies as he gives in the original.