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Asian Noodle Salad with Toasted Sesame Dressing

Reprinted from Feeding the Whole Family, 3rd ed. by Cynthia Lair.
I have taught a class called "Whole Foods Salads" many times and Asian Noodle Salad is often the favorite dish.  You can create a most impressive summer meal by serving this with Nori-Wrapped Wasabi Salmon. Nutritionally impressive too!  

1 8-ounce package soba noodles
cup chopped cilantro leaves
cup toasted sesame seeds


2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons tamari or shoyu
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon
maple syrup
1 tablespoon hot pepper oil

Optional Additions:

Blanched vegetables
Chopped red cabbage and scallions

Cook soba noodles according to package directions.  Drain and rinse in colander.  To toast sesame seed, place in a dry skillet over medium heat.  Keep seeds moving until they give off aroma, pop and begin to change color.  Remove and set aside.

Combine dressing ingredients (toasted sesame oil, tamari, vinegar, maple syrup, and hot pepper oil) in small bowl; whisk together.  Place drained noodles in a large bowl. Add dressing, cilantro and sesame seeds; toss gently.  Add optional ingredients and toss again. In this video we took 1/2 pound of grass-fed flank steak and marinated it with some of the dressing, then pan-seared it and broiled it for  7 minutes.  It was sliced on the diagonal and added.  Vegetarians could add Fried Tofu to the dish which makes a delicious whole meal.

Preparation time: 20-25 minutes
Makes 4-6 servings


Shari Heege
I've been cooking out of the second edition of the book for years and this dish has become a staple in our house. It gets taken to many potlucks, too. Always delicious and always a hit!
January 1, 2009, 11:10 pm

Melissa Schilling
I LOVE this salad!!! Thank you for posting this. Can I use whole wheat pasta instead of soba noodles? I can't find soba in our town. Yummy!!
February 16, 2009, 8:45 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Melissa, I'm glad you like the salad! (me too)I'm not particularly fond of whole wheat noodles because they are so heavy but they would certainly work. Regular white flour pasta works. And there are some other grain noodles (rice, spelt, kamut) that could works as well. Cynthia
February 17, 2009, 2:03 pm

I just bought your book and I love it! One question- in this recipe you mention 3 T. of sesame oil in the video but the text recipe calls for 2 T. Which works better? Thank you!
October 27, 2009, 10:58 am

Cynthia Lair
Hi Julie, I am the Queen of Inconsistency when it comes to recipes always changing things. I like the 2 T. better. I thought the dish had a bit too much dressing and this is where I cut it back.
October 27, 2009, 11:09 am

November 10, 2009, 12:25 pm

Patty Tompkins
I just love this recipe and make it at least once a week. I like to add more vegies, though. About 2 minutes before the soba noodles are done cooking, I throw in some broccoli and edamame into the water to cook, then drain and toss with the dressing. Oooooh, yummy!
December 11, 2009, 5:28 pm

Lindsey Parks
This was fantastic and so easy-- thank you! I used whole wheat spaghetti, added shredded carrots and blanched peas, and served it with your fried tofu. My 4-year-old son referred to it as 'the phenomenal noodle salad' and kept offering additional helpings to everyone at the table! I will definitely be making this again. :-)
February 14, 2010, 5:06 pm

Carrie Martin
This looks so good. I have some buckwheat noodles in the pantry and now I know what to do with them. Thx!
March 21, 2010, 8:55 pm

Joya L
What it that you are cooking this dish in? Is it some kind of Wok, pot, ovenware?
April 15, 2010, 4:53 pm

Cynthia Lair
Joya, It's just a big white serving bowl that happens to be sitting on the burner (the burner's not on.
April 15, 2010, 5:27 pm

My kids make this all by themselves for a lunch. One will mix the dressing in a jar and then shake it up. The older one will cook the noodles (with proper stovetop supervision, of course). They like to top it with shredded carrots and any leftover steamed veggies around. Nori too. It's their very favorite.
June 4, 2010, 2:19 pm

My kids make this all by themselves for a lunch. One will mix the dressing in a jar and then shake it up. The older one will cook the noodles (with proper stovetop supervision, of course). They like to top it with shredded carrots and any leftover steamed veggies around. Nori too. It's their very favorite.
June 4, 2010, 3:04 pm

Tessa Francis
This is my go-to summer potluck dish. I just came to the site to check the ingredients list to make this for a party this weekend!
June 17, 2010, 4:40 pm

val greene
Where have I been? I just now came across your site. I have never enjoyed looking at recipes as much as yours and had such a laugh plus great info. and learned something. You are ALL a kick. Thank you for being here, keep up the great work and info. There is nothing out here like you, what a joy. Must say, I watch you everyday you. Thanks
September 11, 2010, 8:00 am

Allison Sharpe
This salad looks amazing. I'm going to try it asap. I do love soba noodles, but I'm wondering how it would be using spaghetti squash instead. I'm a big fan of occasionally replacing noodles with cooked and chilled spaghetti squash noodles. What do you think? Also, until now I didn't know you could get hot pepper sesame oil. I'm now totally excited! Off I go to buy some of my own!
January 10, 2011, 3:52 am

Erin Johnson
Loved it! I was worried about the spice, at first, but it turned out perfect! Thanks!
January 19, 2011, 8:08 pm

Silvia Arias
You guys should be in the Food Channel so more people should know about your delicious recipes and healthy too! Absolutely, everything I had tried from your website has turn out exquisite and so easy to cook too. Now you have a fan from Peru (and we do have good food there) and I am posting your link on my Facebook account. Thanks!
May 7, 2011, 11:37 am

Les Metrovich
Tried my first recipe Cynthia! Asian Noodle Salad with Toasted Sesame Dressing It was very good. Thanks for the inspiration!
February 22, 2012, 9:13 pm

Kelly Merta
Tried the recipe and it was delicious!
June 7, 2012, 10:50 am

Kat H
Why did I wait so long to make this AMAZING salad? I made it yesterday, and am having some for breakfast today..I added shredded red cabbage, juliened yellow and orange carrots, red bell pepper, spring will be my go to summer bbq potluck dish...I LOVE THIS SALAD...even better the next day if there is any is that good..
July 15, 2012, 11:02 am

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