Cheap and Easy Cucumber Soba Salad
This is a delicious cold summer noodle salad based on a Martha Stewart recipe I found in her “Cooking Light” book. Her version didn’t feel like a main to me, so I added chickpeas and feta to make it more filling and well-rounded. Librarian note: recipes cannot be copyrighted but the stories surrounding them can. I guess that’s why so many bloggers insist on giving you a long-winded narrative before getting to the actual recipe.
The best part of this recipe is it’s versatility. After the key ingredients, you can choose to use whichever ingredients you love - - lemon juice instead of lime, no olives, cilantro, peanuts, etc. It’s a great main for dinner or lunch on a hot summer day, keeps well, and only takes the time to chop veggies, herbs, and cook the noodles (6 mins), generally less than half an hour.
Key ingredients you may have to buy are lemon or lime, cucumber, and feta. The key ingredients I use all the time and have on hand are: soba noodles ($3 - $6, readily available at most supermarkets but way cheaper and in bulk at the Asian markets), sesame oil ($6 - $12), and soy sauce ($2 - $6). Prices are dependent on size. If you use these a lot, it’s best to get the large version. Other than these things, everything else is negotiable. All amounts given are estimations, make this to your taste.
If you want a more meditteranean/middle eastern flavor, add the parsley, lemon, and olives. If you’re more in the mood for Vietnamese-ish food, mint, lime, and peanuts. I know feta seems like a weird addition to Vietnamese-style food, but for some reason it really works here.
Feeds 4+ (We easily get two dinners, two lunches, and some snacking out of it)
Costs: $8 - $18 (depends on if you have soba, sesame oil, and soy sauce at home)
3 Green onions - sliced
Cucumber - chopped bite sized
1/4 c shallot/small onion - diced very small
1 can chickpeas - one can, rinsed. (Any bean, legume, or leftover meat would be good though)
Soba noodles - four bundles
Sesame oil - 2 T or to taste
Soy sauce - 2 T or to taste
Feta - 6oz crumbled - or to taste
1/4 c sesame seeds
Juice of 1 lemon or lime - to taste, may want 2 depending on your palate. I prefer lime with cilantro or mint (and peanuts is a great combo), lemon if you’re using parsley.
Flat leaf parsley - 1 c, chopped medium OR fresh mint - 1/2 c chopped medium OR cilantro - 1/2 c chopped medium
1/2 c peanuts
1/2 c olives - halved
Wash and chop all veggies, put them in a large bowl. Rinse chickpeas, drain, add to veggies. Cook soba according to directions, generally just boil for about 6 mins, until they are cooked but still have some bite to them. Strain and rinse with cold water until they are not warm anymore. Shake strainer to get as much water out as you can, then pour sesame oil and soy sauce on and mix around until all noodles are well coated. Add to veggies. Add feta and sesame seeds. Mix well. Pour lime juice on and mix well.
Can add red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, olive oil, whatever else you like, to taste. Serve cold. Lasts a few days in fridge.