Soba Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing

udon peanutSoba noodles are these amazingly toothsome, earthy noodles that are made out of buckwheat and are absolutely delicious eaten cold.  I adore the fantastic, almost nutty, flavor and they have the additional benefit of being whole grain and gluten free. My favorite way to prepare them is to combine them with my favorite crunchy veggies and then toss them in a peanut dressing.

udon noodlesI’ve always had a strong affinity for peanut sauces — I think its because one of my absolute favorite Cameroonian dishes is a peanut soup that, for the life of me, I simply haven’t been able to master preparing. It is very difficult to make a dish based on peanut butter that you can have more than three spoonfuls of, but somehow all of my aunties have managed to get the skill down without being able to pass it on to me.

That being said, making an Asian-style peanut sauce is actually pretty easy — there is a lot of room for intense flavor since its just being used as a condiment or dressing.

udon peanutThe only part of this recipe that is specific is the peanut sauce. For everything else you should feel free to change things up to your taste preference: use whatever veggies you have on hand, substitute chicken for shrimp (or make it totally vegetarian), throw some crushed peanuts on for texture, or switch out the herbs you use for garnish. Its your world… go crazy!

Soba Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ pound of soba noodles
  • 1 cup of cucumber, cut into strips
  • 1 cup of snow peas, cut into strips
  • 1 cup of carrots, cut into peas
  • ½ pound of shrimp
  • scallions or cilantro for garnish
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • sesame oil (optional)
  • For the dressing:
  • 4 tablespoons of peanut butter (smooth)
  • 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of chili sauce (Sriracha)*
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
Instructions
  1. Cook the soba noodles according to package instructions. After draining toss them in a table spoon of olive or sesame oil to prevent them from clumping together. Set aside.
  2. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in a large pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, cook the shrimp for 2 minutes on each side until cooked through.** Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce, sesame oil and honey until they form a smooth mixture. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
  4. Toss the vegetables, soba noodles, and peanut sauce together in a large bowl. Top with shrimp and fresh herbs.
Notes
* Adjust the chili sauce for your taste. If you don't like spicy food, start with just one teaspoon and you can add more later.
** This timing is for large shrimp. If you're using smaller shrimp, cut the time down a bit. If you're using jumbo shrimp, you can add 30 seconds on each side. The shrimp should be completely pink.

 

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