Warm Soba Salad with Cucumbers

BY : PUBLISHED : September 12th, 2021 UPDATED: September 14th, 2021

This Warm Soba Salad tossed with Sunomono-Style Cucumbers is a quick, healthy, and oil-free salad that will warm your belly up! The silky soba noodles and crisp zucchini and cucumbers coated in an umami-rich dressing from the Japanese-inspired cucumber dish are absolutely delicious!

completed Vegan Warm Soba Salad with Cucumbers in white bowl with chop sticks against a white background

If you adore light, tangy and fresh salads, then you are in for a treat with this recipe! This warm salad is a profusion of taste and textures.  Each mouthful is bursting with delightful oriental flavors that you just won’t get enough of. It is easy enough to make using a handful of plant-based ingredients, a pot, and a few bowls.

What are Sunomono-Style Cucumbers?

Sunomono is a Japanese style of making salad where the vegetables are sliced thinly then marinated in vinegar. This is one of the most common side dishes or appetizers in Japan. It is super easy to make, nutritious, and tasty! This is almost the same as my Marinated Cucumber Salad recipe with just a couple of ingredients that make them different. So if you bought a bunch of cucumbers, you might want to try it too for some variation. The recipe makes a pretty decent amount of pickled cucumber, probably more than you’d want to use in the salad. But they’re great to have around to snack on or add to other salads or sandwiches.  They keep in the fridge for a week or two, so you can take it out of the fridge anytime you need a great side dish for dinner.

A Healthy, Oil-free Salad

Soba noodles are one of the healthiest noodles around! It is without a doubt, a healthier alternative to traditional pasta or noodles. It is made of buckwheat, a type of pseudocereal (non-grass seeds) that contains a high amount of protein, soluble fiber, thiamine, and manganese. These are essential for our bone health, metabolism, cell growth, heart health, and immune system. Plus Soba noodles made 100% of buckwheat are naturally gluten-free and are almost fat-free! Furthermore, adding cucumbers and zucchini which are rich in antioxidants and a number of vitamins and minerals further boosts the nutritional score of this salad! Delicious, fresh and healthy- just the way I like them!

completed Vegan Warm Soba Salad with Cucumbers in white bowl against a white background

Ingredients for Warm Soba Salad with Cucumbers

Making this Asian-style salad does not require complicated ingredients that are hard to find. In fact, most of them are pantry staples and are probably on your shelves waiting to be used. I suggest buying the vegetables fresh from the farmer’s market or harvested from your backyard garden.

For the Sunomono

  • Cucumbers – 1 medium-sized cucumber sliced into thin half-moons. I recommend using Japanese, English, or Persian cucumbers because they are smaller seeds and thinner skins. 
  • Hot water – adding water to the marinade allows it to soak more cucumbers for more flavor. 
  • Rice vinegar – this mildly sweet vinegar is a staple ingredient in a lot of Asian cuisines and is great when used to pickling vegetables. You can use other types of vinegar like apple cider, balsamic, or wine vinegar. However, take note that these bring a different flavor to the salad. 
  • Sugar – Balances the acidity from the vinegar and adds sweetness to the salad. You may also use other sweeteners like agave nectar or maple syrup.
  • Salt – adding salt to the cucumbers is an important step in making this salad. Salt helps remove excess water which makes the cucumbers crunchier. 

For the Soba Salad

  • Dried soba noodles – these healthy noodles have a naturally nutty taste and can be served warm or cold. 
  • Zucchini – wilted slightly by the heat of the noodles which releases their natural sweetness without losing its crispness.
  • Soy sauce – gives a salty and umami taste to the dish. You can also use Japanese soy sauce which tends to be sweeter. 
  • Scallions – give a mild onion taste with a bright freshness.  
  • Cilantro – adds a fresh citrus taste and aroma!

Warm Soba Salad with Cucumbers Ingredients measured out against a white surface

For Garnishing

  • Sesame seeds – white sesame seeds provide a nutty, sweet little crunch that further enhances the salad’s texture and flavor. 

How to Make Warm Soba Salad with Sunomono-Style Cucumbers

Prepare the cucumbers. Peel and slice it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds using a spoon and place them on a chopping board sliced side down. Slice them thinly into half-moons.

process for Soba Salad with Sunomono-Style Cucumbers with cucumbers and knife on cutting board process for Soba Salad with Sunomono-Style Cucumbers with peeled cucumber on cutting board process for Soba Salad with Sunomono-Style Cucumbers with sliced cucumber on cutting board process for Soba Salad with Sunomono-Style Cucumbers with sliced and scooped cucumber on cutting board process for Soba Salad with Sunomono-Style Cucumbers with sliced cucumber on cutting board process for Soba Salad with Sunomono-Style Cucumbers with sliced cucumber on cutting board

Place the sliced cucumber in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl, add the hot water, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. our over the cucumber, making sure to submerge as much cucumber as possible. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes, the longer the better. 

Soba Salad with Cucumbers marinade ingredients in bowls Soba Salad with Cucumbers marinade ingredients mixed in bowl Soba Salad with Cucumbers marinade ingredients mixed in bowl with sliced cucumbers in white bowl on the side cucumber in marinade white bowl

Prepare the zucchini. Slice the top and bottom parts. Cut them thinly lengthwise until you have 4 long slices. Stack them up and slice diagonally across until you have julienned cuts. Place them in a bowl and set them aside.

Soba Salad with Cucumbers Zucchini preparation with two cucumbers on cutting board Soba Salad with Cucumbers Zucchini preparation with sliced cucumber ends on cutting board Soba Salad with Cucumbers Zucchini preparation with sliced cucumber in half on cutting board Soba Salad with Cucumbers Zucchini preparation with sliced cucumbers on cutting board Soba Salad with Cucumbers Zucchini preparation with method of cucumber slice on cutting board Soba Salad with Cucumbers Zucchini preparation with sliced cucumber on cutting board

On a pot or deep pan, add water and bring to a boil. Add the soba noodles and boil for 3-4 minutes. ( always check the package instructions for al-dente cooking). Drain once tender but with a little bite. While the noodles are still hot, add to the zucchini and toss. Next, add as many lightly pickled cucumbers as you like, along with 2 tablespoons of the vinegar brine.

sliced cucumber in bowl and soba noodles in separate bowl against white surface sliced cucumber mixed with soba noodles in white bowl with another bowl of cucumbers in marinade

Add the soy sauce and toss to coat. Once the noodles and veggies are voted, toss the scallions and cilantro in. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds if using, and serve warm. Enjoy your Warm Soba Salad with Cucumbers!

process of adding soy sauce to cucumber and soba noodles bowl white bowl of soba noodles and cucumber and another bowl of green veggies/herbs against white surface one bowl of soba noodles with cucumbers mixed with green veggies and herbs mixed bowl of soba noodles with cucumbers mixed with green veggies and herbs

Warm Soba Salad with Cucumbers Recipe Tips:

  • You can make the Sunomono-Style Cucumbers ahead of time! For best results, soak them in the marinade for 3 days ideally. This is enough time for the cucumber to really absorb full-fledge flavors.
  • Do not over-cook your Soba noodles. Leaving them boiling even for a few seconds than recommended will turn them into a gummy mess. So do not leave the pot unattended.
  • Make sure to toss the veggies and seasonings quickly so the noodles do not cool down. This Soba Salad with Cucumbers is best served warm!

Can I make this Gluten-free?

As long as you are using 100% buckwheat Soba noodles as well as swap the soy sauce with tamari sauce, then this dish will be gluten-free.

How to Store Warm Soba Salad with Cucumbers

If you have any leftovers, place them in a sealed container and refrigerate them for 3 days.  Reheat using a microwave or on a stovetop. Take note though that the longer the Soba Salad is stored, the higher the possibility that the veggies will lose their crunch.

If you are looking for more easy Asian-inspired dishes, these too:

  • Blistered Shishito Peppers– make the perfect appetizer, snack, or side dish that can be ready in under three minutes only! They are really irresistibly good with a mildly spicy, sweet, and smoky taste.
  • Avocado Basil Pad Thai- If you’re looking for a simple pad thai recipe you can easily make at home again and again, look no further. This recipe is versatile, flavorful, and not at all hard to prepare.
  • Udon with Spicy Tofu and Greens– A quick, easy recipe that looks minimal but really impresses. If you’re a noodle fan like us, then this Udon with Spicy Tofu & Greens will become one of your favorites.

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

finished Warm Soba Salad with Sunomono Cucumbers in bowl with ingredients scattered with chop sticks in the background

Warm Soba Salad with Cucumbers -T

Warm Soba Salad with Sunomono-Style Cucumbers

Stefan
This Warm Soba Salad tossed with Sunomono-Style Cucumbers is a quick, healthy, and oil-free salad that will warm your belly up! The silky soba noodles and crisp zucchini and cucumbers coated in an umami-rich dressing from the Japanese-inspired cucumber dish are absolutely delicious!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Asian
Servings 2 people
Calories 112 kcal
METHOD Stovetop
DIET Vegan, Vegetarian

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium cucumber peeled, halved, seeds scooped out, and sliced into thin half-moons
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 ounces dried soba noodles
  • 1 medium zucchini julienned or 2 small ones
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 stems scallions thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1/4 cup cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds optional

Instructions
 

  • Put the cucumber in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the hot water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Pour over the cucumber, making sure to submerge as much cucumber as possible. Set aside for at least 15 minutes (though ideally for like 3 days).
  • Put the zucchini in a large bowl. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and add the soba noodles and boil for 3-4 minutes (unless your package directions tell you otherwise) until tender but with a little bite. Drain, then, while hot, add to the zucchini and toss. Add as many cucumbers as you like, along with 2 tablespoons of the vinegar brine. Add the soy sauce and toss to coat. Add the scallions and cilantro, and toss. Taste, and add more vinegar, soy sauce, or salt as necessary. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds if using, and serve warm.

Nutrition

Calories: 112kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 5gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1454mgPotassium: 438mgFiber: 2gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 413IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 1mg
Keyword asian, cilantro, cucumber, Japanese, light, noodle, noodles, oil free, pickle, pickles, salad, scallion, soba, squash, sunomono, zucchini
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