Soba Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce

By Diane Rossen Worthington | August 30th, 2023

Cool, nutty, and satisfying

Soba Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce: Crispy radish, cucumber and water chestnut slices add just the right crunch and color to these softened noodles.

What happens when two cookbook author get together? Nothing short of culinary magic! If cookbook author Laurie Burrows Grad saw fit to prepare this Soba Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce for her friend and fellow chef Diane Rossen Worthington, then Worthington sees fit to share the recipe with readers, you know it’s a winner!

The other day I had lunch with my friend, cookbook author Laurie Burrows Grad. She prepared this cooling Asian pasta salad, using soba noodles for their slightly nutty, earthy taste. This is a welcome dish during a heat wave. The only cooking you’ll need to do is boil the noodles. If you do this earlier in the day, you’ll have a cool kitchen.

Crispy radish, cucumber and water chestnut slices add just the right crunch and color to these softened noodles. If you want even more veggies, toss in some shredded carrots and bean sprouts.

The peanut sauce is a lively blend of Asian flavors along with sweet maple syrup, slightly sour lime juice and optional spicy chili paste. You can decide how much chile paste you want to add, depending upon your guests’ preferences. (You can also use hot chile oil instead of the paste if you like.)

I enjoyed this for a main lunch course. If you want a more substantial meal, consider accompanying the noodle salad with grilled salmon, shrimp or chicken. To drink? You can’t go wrong with either a Gewürztraminer, rose, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, or a Pilsner beer.

Soba Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce

Serves 4

Note: Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour and are usually gluten free. Sometimes wheat is added so make sure to look at the label if you are on a gluten-free diet.

For the salad:

  • 10 ounces soba noodles
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 8 whole water chestnuts
  • 6 large radishes
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

For the peanut sauce:

  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (not natural)
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Asian style chile paste or to taste, optional

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts (about 2 ounces), roughly chopped
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • Handful of cilantro leaves
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 lime cut into four pieces


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil on high heat. Add the soba, stir to prevent sticking, and cook according to package instructions until just tender. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until the noodles are cool. Reserve.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the cucumber, water chestnuts, and radishes into 1/8-inch thick slices, then cut into thin matchsticks. Place them all in a large bowl.
  3. Loosen the soba noodles by running them under some water, then allow to drain again. Add them to the vegetables along with 1 tablespoon sesame oil and toss to combine. (This will keep them from sticking.)
  4. Make the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk the peanut butter, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, maple syrup, lime juice, sesame oil and optional chile paste until smooth. Taste for seasoning.
  5. Spoon the sauce over the noodles, toss to coat the noodles Garnish with peanuts, scallions, cilantro leaves and toasted sesame seeds. Cover and refrigerate for an hour to let the flavors meld. Serve lime wedges on the side.

Advance preparation: This is best made the same day, covered and refrigerated.

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple: Easy Recipes for Creative Cooks” and “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at

© 2023 Diane Rossen Worthington. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

More cookbook recommendations from Diane Rossen Worthington, including ‘Jew-ish: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch’

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