Cold Soba-Noodle Salad

This is the kind of salad we like most. You start with a base of grain or noodle and add some dressing — and the rest is up to you. This salad is delicious without the optional ingredients but even better when you add whatever extras you like best.

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Hands-on time: 35   |    Total time: 35   |    Makes: 4 Servings


Cutting board
Sharp knife (adult needed)
Large pot
Measuring cup
Measuring spoons
Large mixing bowl Wooden spoon


1 unit (8-ounce) package buckwheat soba noodles
1⁄4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
4 unit scallions, greens and whites chopped
2 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
Optional Extras:
1 unit carrot, scrubbed and grated
2 unit celery stalks, thinly sliced or julienned
1⁄2 cup thinly sliced Napa cabbage
1⁄2 unit red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or basil leaves
1⁄4 cup chopped unsalted peanuts or cashews


Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your equipment and ingredients and put them on a counter.

  1. Fill the pot halfway with water and put it on the stove. Turn the heat to high and bring the water to a boil. (You’ll know the water is boiling when you see bubbles breaking all over its surface.) Add the soba noodles and cook until tender, about 5 minutes (or follow the directions on the package). To test a noodle to see if it’s done, carefully fish it out with the fork, run it under cold water, and taste it. Drain the noodles in the colander and rinse with cold water.
  2. Put the soy sauce, scallions, lemon or lime juice, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and ginger in the bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the soba noodles and stir well.
  4. Add whatever extras you like and stir well. Now taste the salad. Does it need more lemon or lime juice, or soy sauce? If so, add it and taste again.
  5. Serve right away or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.


Toast sesame seeds in a small, dry skillet over low heat for a minute or two, until you just begin to smell them.


Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour and are used a lot in Japanese cooking. But here’s the funny thing: buckwheat isn’t wheat — or even a grain at all! It’s actually a seed-producing plant related to rhubarb.