I may earn from purchases through links in this post.
Hot days call for easy meals that don’t require turning on the oven or laboring over a hot stove.
We’ve been enduring a heat wave for the last couple of weeks around here, and I have barely had the desire to cook at all. But even if my appetite is a little suppressed by the heat, we still need to eat.
These sesame-lime soba noodles have been just the ticket.
All the work can be accomplished in the amount of time it takes for a pot of water to come to a boil.
The sauce is mercifully easy to make. (Even easier than my basil peanut sauce.)
It’s just a matter of whisking together a bit of soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, sugar, sesame oil, and sriracha until the sugar dissolves.
And it hits all of my favorite hot-sour-salty-sweet buttons. It’s pretty much slurpable all on its own.
Then the sauce hangs out while a cucumber gets peeled, quartered, and sliced ever so thinly.
Cucumbers, which are mostly water, are one of my favorite cold, crunchy, hot weather vegetables. And they take so many flavors well. (They’re great in this tomato cucumber salad with basil vinaigrette and this cucumber kimchi.)
For this, I like getting the cucumber slices almost paper thin so there’s more surface area for soaking up the sauce.
The cucumbers get slightly pickled in a soy-sesame-lime sort of way that I just love.
Then the tofu gets chopped into bite-sized cubes.
Look for the firmest tofu you can find.
I love making this with the extra firm fried tofu or baked yellow tofu from Chicago’s own local Phoenix Bean Tofu, but any extra firm tofu you like will work here. (If you have an Asian grocery store nearby, it’s worth checking out their selection for fried or baked tofu.)
If you have the water packed kind, don’t bother pressing the tofu for this. Just drain it and pat it dry before slicing it up.
You could easily swap in another protein like chicken or shrimp or edamame if tofu isn’t your thing.
Then there’s the matter of cooking the soba noodles themselves.
They’re a traditional Japanese noodle made with buckwheat flour. (Most varieties also contain wheat flour, so they’re not typically gluten free.)
They cook quickly—most packages I’ve encountered suggest cooking for anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes.
But the trick to getting soba noodles right is immediately straining them and running them under cold water to stop the cooking process and rinse away the extra surface starches.
Then all that’s left for you to do is toss the tofu and cucumbers and sesame-lime sauce and soba noodles together.
I like to top these with a handful of fresh herbs.
Any combination of basil, mint, cilantro, or shiso would be lovely here.
And then, my friend, all there is left to do is eat.
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced
- 10 ounces extra firm tofu, drained, patted dry, and diced into 1-inch cubes
- 1 10.8 ounce package soba noodles
- A handful of basil, cilantro, mint, or shiso, roughly chopped
- Put a large pot of water on to boil.
- Meanwhile, add the soy sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and sriracha to a small mixing bowl and whisk together until the sugar is dissolved.
- Slice the cucumber and tofu and set aside.
- When the water comes to a boil, add salt and cook the soba noodles according to the package directions. Immediately strain through a colander and rinse under cold water until the noodles are cold.
- Toss the noodles, cucumber, tofu, and sesame lime sauce together in a large bowl. Top with herbs.
Can be made a day ahead of time and chilled in the refrigerator.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Mac Knife MTH-80 Professional Hollow Edge Chef's Knife, 8 Inch, Silver
Epicurean Kitchen Series Cutting Board, 14.5 by 11.25-Inch, Natural
Kuhn Rikon 3-Set Original Swiss Peeler, Red/Green/Yellow
Bushwick Kitchen Weak Knees Gochujang Sriracha Hot Sauce, Classic Sriracha Chili Sauce mixed with the complexity of Korean Gochujang Chili Paste, 10.5 Ounces
Marukan Seasoned Rice Vinegar 12 Oz (12 ounce)
Twin Pack Hime Dried Buckwheat Soba Noodles, 25.40 Ounce (Pack of 2)
Kadoya 100% Pure Sesame Oil 5.5 oz
San-J Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce, Black Bottle, 10 Ounce
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 747mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 13g