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Soba (buckwheat) noodles with cucumber, lime and mint

Soba (buckwheat) noodles with cucumber get a flavor boost from lemon and mint. Add cashews or peanuts for crunch. #vegan

There are buckwheat noodles, and there are buckwheat noodles, and if you follow a gluten-free diet, you know what I mean. Some brands contain wheat flour as well as buckwheat; some contain yam or sweet potato; several brands are 100 percent buckwheat. I think they all taste so similar that, unless you have celiac disease, you can cook with them interchangeably. Read the labels when you shop at Asian markets; by law, ingredients must be listed in English on packaged foods sold in the United States.

Soba noodles make a perfect backdrop for sauces with citrus, and here it's lime that provides the tart balance to the earthy buckwheat. My friend Sarah gave me a gorgeous yellow cucumber, as well as mint from her community garden; you can substitute any cucumber, of course, but fresh mint is key (and you can find it year-round in the produce section of your supermarket, if you forget to freeze some from the garden). The cashews I love could be peanuts instead, if you like them better, or even slivered almonds or chopped walnuts. In theory, the dish will keep for a day or two in the refrigerator, though in practice these noodles never, ever last that long in my house.

Soba (buckwheat) noodles love lime and mint, and make a filling #vegan main course.

Soba noodles with cucumber, lime and mint {vegan, can be gluten-free}

From the pantry, you'll need: soba noodles, lime, low-sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, agave nectar, cashews, mint.

Inspired by a recipe in Everyday Food Light. Serves 4; can be multiplied.


6 oz soba noodles (use 100% buckwheat for gluten-free)
Juice of 2 large limes
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (use gluten-free if needed)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp agave nectar, or more to taste
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup dry roasted unsalted cashews
10 spearmint leaves, torn into small pieces


Cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse under cool water, and drain.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and agave. Plop the noodles on top, and with your very clean hands, mix the noodles with the sauce. (You could use tongs, but it's more fun with your hands.)

Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, and mix again.

Serve at room temperature, or chilled. Can be made one day ahead.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More soba noodles: 
Cold soba salad with peppers and ponzu dressing, from The Perfect Pantry
Spicy pesto soba with chicken and snow peas, from The Perfect Pantry
Soba, chives and creme fraiche, from 101 Cookbooks
Peanut soba spring rolls, from Love & Lemons

Chilled soba (buckwheat) noodles get a tangy boost from lime and mint. #vegan

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


The Shops at Porter Square, 1815 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge, MA are all Japanese including grocery store and a Japanese bookstore across the street for cookbooks. I used to go there to grocery shop for my authentic Japanese food supplies and soba noodles. It is a Japanese version of Chinatown.

Ken, I used to love to shop there!

Good dinner tonight, with this recipe tweaked into a hot dish. Baby bok choy, snow peas, onions and peppers, with a hard boiled egg chopped over the top. (I'll remember the cashews next time.

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