Earthy tones of shimeji mushrooms and soba noodles with the added freshness from the cucumber, seaweed and tangy yuzu dressing, this Vegan Soba Noodle Salad needs no sides. A perfect meal for one, for two or for the whole gang!
What are Soba Noodles?
Soba is Japanese for buckwheat. So can you guess what soba noodles are? Buckwheat noodles!
Soba are thin noodles that are very popular in Japanese cuisine and often used all year round in hot and cold dishes. Traditionally made from 100% buckwheat flour and water which makes them gluten-free. However, there are many producers now who use a combination of buckwheat and wheat flour therefore it is worth checking first if gluten-free required.
It is common for buckwheat flour to be extracted from the grain with the skin on. Therefore when making soba noodles, it gives a light brown colour and more earthy taste. This is why I love soba noodles so much.
Buckwheat is a highly nutritious grain due to its high mineral and antioxidant content. It is known to help with blood sugar control, support lowering cholesterol and boost energy metabolism. Plus it is low in fat and high in fibre. Therefore soba noodles are known to be a healthy addition to your diet.
One day I would love to try handmade soba cut fresh in a traditional Japanese noodle store (foodie dream!). But in the meantime, dried soba noodles is pretty good too.
What Can I Do With Soba Noodles?
The most simple way to enjoy soba noodles is having it cold with a light dashi soy dipping sauce. It’s so refreshing. Our family loves it during the hot summer months. And don’t forget to slurp! It’s an essential part of eating cold soba noodles.
The mild flavour of soba noodles makes it a good pairing with a number of proteins including chicken, salmon, prawns, semi-boiled egg and tofu for vegetarians. It is often fried with veggies and chicken for yakisoba or alternatively try it with a hot miso soup and grilled salmon.
And a popular way to include soba noodles are in poke bowls. Rather than rice, try soba noodles as your base. Lighter but still super yummy with all your favourite toppings.
What are Shimeji Mushrooms?
Very common in Japanese cooking, Shimeji are small mushrooms with a long stem and a round light brown cap all clustered together. Delicate in flavour with a slight nutty taste, popular shimeji mushroom recipes include hot pots, noodle soups and stir-fries.
Love mixing Shimeji mushrooms with other mushrooms like enoki and oyster mushrooms to create a more robust flavour. You can find fresh Shimeji mushrooms in most Asian grocery stores.
Why I Love Vegan Soba Noodle Salad with Yuzu Dressing
Love the earthy tones of both the Shimeji mushrooms and fried enoki mushrooms combined with buckwheat noodles. To balance the soba noodle salad, I’ve added some freshness with the cucumber and seaweed.
I have decided to use pre-prepared Japanese seaweed at my local Asian grocery store which makes it a quick tasty addition. If you can’t find something similar, you can omit and add edamame beans to add more crunch. And you can’t go past a tangy yuzu dressing just to tie it all together.
This salad is a meal in itself. Refreshing for lunch or dinner. You can also try our other soba noodle salads: Asian Pear Salad with Soba and Hot Smoked Salmon or Soba Noodle Salad with Pearl Oyster Mushrooms.
How to Make Vegan Soba Noodle Salad with Yuzu Dressing
How to Make the Soba Noodles
Place dried soba noodles in a large saucepan of boiling water. Stirring occasionally so the noodles don’t stick. Cook until al dente, it should not take more than 2-3 minutes. Drain noodles.
After draining soba noodles, make sure you give the noodles a good rinse with cold water. This removes any excess starch. Place in a large mixing bowl and add a few drops of sesame oil so the noodles don’t stick.
Double check the packaging of your soba noodles to cook as each brand may vary on cooking time. It is better to under cook soba noodles a little than to overcook as they may become a gluggy mess.
How to Make the Salad
Cut the cucumber in half or thirds depending on the length of your cucumber and julienne (cut into long thin strips). If the core of the cucumber is quite soft, I would remove these strips. You don’t want them to make the salad too soggy.
Thinly cut spring onions (scallions) into slices. Use both the green and white part of the onion. Set aside.
Cut the base of the Shimeji mushrooms, separate into smaller pieces and place in colander to rinse under water. Make sure there is no dirt left on the mushrooms. Drain and put aside to dry.
Heat up a medium sized fry pan over high heat with a little olive oil and stir fry mushrooms evenly for a couple of minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan without any liquid to a large bowl.
How to Fry Enoki Mushrooms
Cut the base of the enoki mushrooms, separate into individual strands if possible and place in colander to rinse under water. Make sure there is no dirt left on the mushrooms. Drain and use a paper towel to pat dry mushrooms. You want to make sure the mushrooms do not have excess water as this will affect the frying.
Heat the oil in a large wok or fryer. You can test the oil if ready to fry by placing one strand of enoki mushroom in to see if it would fry quickly. Once ready, add half of the enoki mushrooms into wok and shallow fry until golden brown. Do not overcrowd the wok and use chopsticks or tongs to gently stir and separate the enoki mushrooms so they can all get crispy.
Once golden brown, remove from oil and place on kitchen towel to remove excess oil. Repeat until all mushrooms are fried.
How to Make Yuzu Dressing
Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit similar to a small grapefruit. It is rarely eaten as a fruit but used frequently in Japanese cuisine like a lemon for its rind and juice. Tart and fragrant, yuzu juice adds a fresh taste in sauces, dressings and desserts.
You can purchase bottled yuzu juice at Japanese and Korean grocery stores. If you can’t find yuzu juice, lemon juice would be fine as a substitute.
Add tamari, water, yuzu juice and sesame oil together in a small bowl. Grate in fresh ginger and whisk together.
How to Assemble the Soba Noodle Salad
Using a large mixing bowl, add soba noodles, mushrooms, cucumber, spring onions and Japanese seaweed salad. Add yuzu dressing and toss together so that noodles are evenly coated.
Split noodles into individual bowls. Sprinkle sesame seeds, top with fried enoki mushrooms and serve.
Add grilled chicken or tofu if you wish to have extra protein. And I personally love to have a glass of yuzushu over ice with this soba noodle salad. This quick delicious Japanese salad recipe is perfect on warm summer evenings.
More Asian Salad Recipes:
- Roast Duck, Caramelised Grapefruit and Wombok Salad
- Tropical Mango Salad with Coconut Flakes
- Wombok, Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw
- Gochujang Chicken Salad with Noodles and Tofu
- Thai Green Mango Salad with Salty Tamarind Dressing
Easy Salad Dressing Recipes:
Vegan Soba Noodle Salad with Yuzu Dressing
- Place dried soba noodles in a large saucepan of boiling water.
- Cook until al dente (2-3 minutes).
- Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Add a few drops of sesame oil so the noodles don’t stick.
- Cut cucumber into thirds and then julienne.
- Thinly cut spring onion into slices.
- Trim shimeji mushrooms from the base. Then separate into individual/smaller pieces. Rinse well under water and set aside to dry.Over high heat in a large fry pan or wok, add olive oil and mushrooms. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes and then remove from pan without any liquid.
- Remove the enoki mushrooms form the base so they are loose strands.Over high heat in a large fry pan or wok, add peanut oil. When hot, add enoki mushrooms and deep fry them until golden brown.Remove and set aside to cool.
- Add tamari, water, yuzu juice and sesame oil together in a small bowl.
- Grate in fresh ginger and whisk well together.
- Using a large mixing bowl, add soba noodles, mushrooms, cucumber, spring onions and seaweed salad.
- Add yuzu dressing and toss together so that noodles are evenly coated.
- Split soba noodle salad into individual bowls.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds, top with fried enoki mushrooms and serve.
- For a gluten-free recipe, ensure you use soba noodles that are 100% buckwheat and tamari instead of soy sauce.
- If you can’t find pre-prepared seaweed salad, use edamame beans (removed from pod). This will add another element and a healthy crunch.
- Yuzu juice can be substituted by lemon juice.