Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Miso Glazed Tofu

I have been OBSESSED with anything sesame-soy-miso-ginger this summer. They all come together in this Cold Soba Noodle Salad. The nutritionist in me thinks it’s because these flavors are satiating. Even though they are most often served cold, they tend to satisfy your appetite, due to the high salt content.  And it has been HOT in Columbus – salad suppers are a must.

This whole obsession started with my most recent purchase of miso. I use miso in a lot of recipes, just to add a little more depth. Miso is salty and sometimes sweet, tangy even, but it gets it’s fame from it’s umami characteristics.  I refuse to buy the little containers of nutritional yeast, so I only buy it when a store has it in bulk containers, leaving me without most of the time (vegan sacrilege, I know). Because of it’s umami, nuttiness and slight tang, miso is a really good substitute for nutritional yeast.

Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Miso Glazed Tofu - Vegan

Since it’s a fermented product, miso lasts for a long time. For some reason when I bought this container of it, I promised myself to use it quickly. I do this sometimes, and I don’t know why, but really delicious recipes are born because of it.

Soba noodles are made out of buckwheat. You can find some gluten free brands, but most are cut with whole wheat flour. I think they are the easiest of the Asian noodle varieties to work with. I love rice noodles, but they always clump up on me. Soba noodles cook like Italian pasta, in boiling water. They take 4 minutes, and then I drain them and rush them with cold water. You can make them ahead of time and store them covered in cold water. Soba noodles are more delicate than Italian pasta, so they are great served cold in a salad on a hot summer day.

Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Miso Glazed Tofu - Vegan

Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Miso Glazed Tofu - Vegan

The rest of this recipe is two insanely easy sauces/dressings, some easy marinated tofu and fresh chopped veggies.

Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Miso Glazed Tofu

  • Servings: 4 sides, 2 entrees
  • Difficulty: easy
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I know this looks like a lot…but it’s really not. The long prep time is mainly to marinate the tofu. Read through the recipe instructions first so you understand the flow, and it’ll all come together quickly!

Marinated Tofu

  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

Miso Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon yellow miso
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Sesame Ginger Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic

Cold Soba Salad

  • 1/3 package of soba noodles (they come already separated in thirds)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced (or, use your peeler to make ribbons, as pictured)
  • 2 radishes, halved and sliced thin
  • 2 cups fresh kale, chopped
  1. Marinate the tofu: Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, oil, red pepper flakes and liquid smoke in an oven safe dish. Slice the tofu into eight 1/4″ thick slices. Add the tofu to the marinade, so each piece is coated completely. Let marinate for 1 hour, flipping each slice halfway through.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the tofu for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  3. Heat a small pot of water with a big pinch of salt. When it boils, add the soba noodles. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and immediately rinse in cold water. If you are making them ahead of time, keep them submerged in cold water until ready to use.
  4. Make the Miso Glaze: Use a whisk to combine the water, miso, ginger and agave in small bowl. Heat a heavy skillet, like a cast iron pan. Brush each piece of tofu with the glaze. Place the tofu in the pan with the glazed side down. Add the glaze to the other side. Flip the tofu after about 3 minutes, reglaze the first side. After about 3 minutes the tofu should be done – each side should have a nice caramelized sear from the glaze.
  5. Combine the soba noodles, red pepper, carrot, radish and kale in a large bowl. Measure and combine the sesame, vinegar, water, soy sauce, garlic and ginger in a blender*. Blend on high for about 1 minute and pour directly over the soba mixture. Use your hands or tongs to toss.
  6. Serve the salad cold and top with the glazed tofu.

*Blenders aren’t necessary, but they help to emulsify the dressing. If you skip the blender and opt for a good old fashioned whisk, you’ll want to grate your garlic so it’s super fine, or sub it out for 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.

Laura Ryan