Peanut satay soba noodles is a dish that comes together quickly and is a perfect main dish for a warm weather meal with simply prepared tofu or tempeh. You could call this is a salad, but we can also call it a cold noodle dish. Either way, it’s delicious and on the table in about 20 minutes.
Use homemade or bottled peanut sauce — you’ve got options! Homemade peanut sauce is, admittedly, not the hardest thing to make, even if you’re really lazy. Everyone likes it, even the pickiest of eaters (aka kids). A link to the recipe is in the Notes section of the recipe box.
Sometimes, though, using a bottle of Thai peanut satay sauce makes more sense (and is cheaper) than getting all the authentic ingredients (tamarind sauce, lemongrass, red chili …) and making a mess with the food processor. Especially if it’s 6:00 (or 7:00) and everyone is hungry.
I most often use my supermarket’s organic brand of peanut satay sauce — it’s so tasty, and surprisingly low in calories for a condiment whose main ingredient is peanuts!
Per 1/4 cup (the label serving size of 1 tablespoon isn’t realistic) it has only 100 calories and 4 grams of fat. I compared this to one of the name brands, which checks in at 160 calories and 7 grams of fat for the same 1/4 cup — also not bad at all.
There are lots of peanut satay sauce brands, and you’ll likely find one or the other of these in your supermarket’s Asian foods section. Most are vegan, but be sure to check the label, just to be sure.
- 8 to 10 ounces soba (buckwheat) noodles
- 1 cup Thai peanut satay sauce, or as needed
- 1 medium crisp cucumber, about half of a hothouse cuke, or 2 mini-cucumbers or Kirbys
- 2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped peanuts or cashews
- 1 cup grated carrot
- A handful of cilantro leaves
- Sriracha (if satay sauce is mild)
- Cook the noodles according to package directions until al dente, then drain and rinse under cool running water until just warm.
- Drain the noodles well, then transfer to a serving bowl. Pour in the peanut satay sauce and stir to combine with the noodles.
- If using a regular or hothouse cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, then slice thinly. if using mini or Kirby cukes, simply slice thinly.
- Stir the cucumber, scallion, and chopped nuts in with the noodles (save some of nuts to sprinkle over the top or to pass around).
- Add any or all of the optional ingredients, and serve at once.
Variations: If you can't find soba, use whole wheat or spelt spaghetti, or udon noodles. Or skip the pasta altogether and use spiralized zucchini “noodles.”
By all means, if you'd prefer homemade peanut sauces, try this luscious Coconut Peanut Sauce or Dressing.
About soba noodles
Soba, or buckwheat noodles are spaghetti-shaped noodles, though not quite as long as spaghetti. Most often imported from Japan or China, they combine hearty-tasting buckwheat flour with wheat or whole wheat flour.
The proportion of buckwheat flour varies, from 20% buckwheat/ 80% whole wheat to 100% buckwheat. The greater percentage of mineral-rich buckwheat, the more pronounced the flavor. 100% buckwheat is wheat-free, though this variety is much harder to come by. See this site’s Guide to Soba Noodles.
Some of the best uses for soba:
- Incorporated or as a bed for stir-fried vegetables
- In cold noodle dishes like this one, combined with Asian vegetables such as snow peas, daikon radish,
mung bean sprouts, etc. and flavored with peanut sauce or sesame-ginger dressing
- As a heartier (and more interesting) substitute for ordinary spaghetti
- Broken into shorter lengths for soups and broths
- Served simply with soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions, and sesame seeds as a side dish
All this being said, if you run across a recipe calling for soba and you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute whole wheat spaghetti.
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