I found this unique recipe in the cookbook Open Kitchen by Susan Spungen, published in 2020. There is so much I love about this recipe – especially all of the flavors and colors!
The salad is really unique, with a soba noodle base, plus charred shishitos, vegetables, strawberries, and a combination of cilantro and mint. The spicy miso dressing adds that perfect amount of zing.
From the author: “To me, there is nothing more refreshing for a warm-weather lunch or dinner than a cold noodle salad. While adding strawberries to a salad like this may seem unusual, and it is, it really works. The juiciness of the berries adds a cool and sweet-tart contrast to the slight spiciness to the peppers and the salty miso dressing.”
The recipe suggests serving this fun salad cold with flank steak, which would be wonderful. Some slices of avocado would also be good in the salad. And goat cheese!
Soba Noodle Salad with Strawberries
For the dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white miso
1 hot red chile, finely minced, or more to taste
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
For the salad:
1 – 8 or 8.8 ounce package soba noodles, cooked and rinsed
4 ounces shishito peppers (or substitute cubanelle or poblano)
2 Persian (mini) cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced on the bias into 1/4” thick half-moons
8 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1 small red chile, thinly sliced
2 scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped if large
Sir the vinegar, sugar, and salt together in a small bowl until dissolved. Add the miso, chile, and oil and whisk to combine; set aside.
Place noodles in a serving bowl and toss with the dressing.
Grill the shishito peppers on a hot grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until blistered and softened. Cool, then slice on a bias, avoiding the seeds.
Top the dressed noodles with the grilled peppers, the cucumbers, strawberries, chile, scallions, mint, and cilantro and mix gently to combine.
Don’t add the strawberries until just before serving.
I absolutely loved this unique salad. And how pretty this would be for a spring luncheon?!
I’d personally make a little extra dressing next time, and toss the main ingredients in it, before adding to the noodles, then top with the cilantro and mint. The cooked noodles are delicate, so I’d leave them alone, but make sure the other ingredients get dressing.