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This quick and delicious Cold Soba Noodle Salad is satisfying, rich in veggies, and tossed in a simple peanut sauce. Vegan, Gluten-free, Oil-free option, Nut-free option.
This Soba Noodle Salad is made with chewy buckwheat noodles and crunchy vegetables all tossed together in a creamy, umami-rich peanut sauce. It’s packed with healthy plant-based ingredients, yet guaranteed to satisfy any eater.
Table of Contents
All About this Soba Salad
While I’m known to love a classic kale salad any day of the week, this spin on the traditional lettuce based dish still meets all the requirements of a delicious salad. Crunchy veggies? Check. Flavorful dressing? Check. Served cold? Check.
It’s also equally as quick and easy as your favorite salad – ready in 20 minutes or less with just 11 fresh ingredients.
Try this recipe for lighter weeknight dinners or a refreshing summer lunch. It also makes a great addition to the meal prep rotation as it will keep all week long.
Ingredients for Soba Noodle Salad
In addition to soba noodles you’ll need a mix of crunchy vegetables and 6 simple ingredients to make our homemade peanut dressing. Here are a few key salad components you won’t want to skip:
- Fresh veggies: Crunchy red cabbage, carrots, sliced cucumber, and fresh cilantro are my personal go-to ingredients, but don’t be afraid to switch things up. Zucchini, green onion, edamame, lima beans, snap peas or sautéed mushrooms.
- Peanut butter: Natural, creamy peanut butter is essential. Avoid any store-bought peanut butters that are made with added sugars, preservatives, or additives of any kind. The only ingredients should be peanuts and salt.
- Lime juice: The acidity in fresh lime juice brightens the dressing. For an added flavor boost, add a teaspoon of fresh lime zest, too!
- Soy sauce: Adds an umami, salty component that is addicting. For a lower sodium version try low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos. For gluten-free, use tamari.
- Ginger: Nothing beats the freshness and spiciness of fresh ginger. For an even spicier peanut dressing add sriracha, chili paste or chili flakes to taste.
How to Make Soba Noodle Salad
- Cook the soba noodles according to package instructions in a large pot of salted, boiling water until tender. Drain, then rinse with cold running water until completely cooled. Set aside.
- Whisk the peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar, sesame oil, and water together until smooth.
- In a large bowl, toss the cooked noodles with half of the peanut sauce. Add cabbage, carrot, cucumber, cilantro, and remaining sauce. Mix well until evenly distributed.
- Serve immediately at room temperature with sesame seeds or chill in the fridge for 15 minutes and serve chilled.
Caitlin’s Cooking Tips
- Double the peanut sauce for meal prep. If you’re planning on prepping this cold salad for weekday lunches, I recommend preparing a double batch of the creamy peanut sauce. Pack a side of additional peanut sauce with the salad and drizzle overtop just before enjoying. This will keep it flavorful and creamy!
- Use a runny, natural peanut butter. The best natural peanut butter will be pourable and made from just peanuts. If your peanut butter is extra thick, you will likely need additional water to thin the sauce out. This will dilute it’s creamy, nutty flavor but will work in a pinch!
This cold crunchy salad makes the perfect light dinner, satisfying lunch or afternoon snack. Serve alone or with additional sides such as Edamame Salad with Smashed Cucumbers, Vegan Summer Rolls with Braised Tofu, or Creamy Mushroom Dumplings. I’d highly recommend serving with a refreshing beverage such as Peach Bubble Tea (Milk Tea) or an Iced Chamomile Matcha Latte.
If you’re looking for more delicious salad recipes featuring fresh veggies, you’ll also love this Fresh Thai Inspired Salad with Tempeh, this Cooked Ramen Noodle Salad with Kimchi and this Crunchy Ginger Cabbage Slaw Recipe!
How to Store Soba Noodle Salad
Store leftover vegan soba noodle salad in the fridge for up to 5 days. For best preservation, store this salad in airtight containers such as a glass mason jar or Tupperware with a tight fitting lid.
Freezing is not recommended.
Substitutions and Variations
- Gluten-free option: Buckwheat soba noodles are typically gluten-free, but not always. Always read the ingredients before purchasing. To make this recipe gluten-free, you’ll need soba noodles and tamari instead of soy sauce. If you cannot find a gluten-free brand, you may enjoy this similar recipe: Zucchini Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce.
- Oil-free option: Omit the toasted sesame oil from the homemade peanut sauce.
- Add extra protein: If you’re looking to make this cold soba noodle salad recipe even heartier, I’ve got several options to choose from! Try Easy Baked Tempeh, Baked Sweet Chili Tofu, or the Easiest Crispy Tofu. You can even make my Stovetop Peanut Tempeh for an even saucier salad.
- Peanut butter substitute: If you’re looking for a milder, creamy sauce, try a more neutral nut butter such as almond butter or cashew butter.
Soba and udon noodles are Japanese noodles that share many similarities, yet differ on a few key points. Soba noodles are darker in color (typically brown/gray) and bolder in flavor. Udon noodles are closer in color to Italian pasta but are often wider and thicker. Soba noodles are also usually gluten-free whereas udon is wheat-based. For more in-depth information, check out this article.
If the noodles and veggies are tossed adequately in the sauce they should remain fairly creamy, but you can always make a second batch of sauce to drizzle over top leftovers and make them extra creamy again.
These Japanese noodles are typically found in the Asian/International section of most grocery stores, but you can also purchase them online.
Readers have shared good luck using a variety of noodles, including bowtie pasta, rice noodles, and chickpea rotini.
Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊
Soba Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce
For the Salad:
- 8 ounces soba noodles*
- 3 cups shredded red cabbage (about 1/4 head)
- 2 carrots finely sliced or grated
- 1/2 English cucumber thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds for topping (optional)
For the Sauce:
- 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons lime juice about 1 large lime
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1/2 tablespoon ginger finely grated
- 1 teaspoon sugar or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil optional
- 1/4 cup warm water, plus more as necessary
- Cook the Noodles: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the soba noodles and cook according to package instructions, usually 4 to 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water until completely cooled. Set Aside.
- Make the Peanut Sauce: While you are cooking the noodles, add the peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar, sesame oil, and warm water to a small bowl. Whisk well; the mixture should turn clumpy at first, and then smooth out to a lighter, creamy sauce. If needed, add additional water in 1 tablespoon increments until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
- Combine: Add the cooked noodles to a large bowl along with half of the peanut sauce. Use tongs to mix well; this prevents the noodles from sticking. Then, add the cabbage, carrot, cucumber, cilantro, and remaining peanut sauce. Use tongs to mix well, until everything is evenly distributed.
- Serve: Top with sesame seeds and serve immediately, or place in the fridge for 15 minutes to serve chilled. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Gluten-Free: If you are gluten-free, look for soba noodles (also known as buckwheat noodles) that are 100% from buckwheat flour and not a wheat & buckwheat blend. Additionally, use a gluten-free soy sauce or tamari.
- Nut Allergy: replace the peanut butter with tahini for a similar flavor! If you are only allergic to peanuts you can substitute it with almond butter as well.
This recipe is also part of my monthly collaboration with my friends Jasmine and Chris of Sweet Simple Vegan. Be sure to check out their recipes for a Rainbow Pesto Hummus Sandwich and Ramen Noodle Stir Fry!