This is our favorite cold noodle salad with Asian flavors. The sesame oil mayonnaise is a great recipe on its own. It becomes epic when mixed with soba noodles, crunchy shallots, and green beans.
I don't make much Asian food, but I wanted to dip my toes further after making the Szechuan Pork with Carrots, so I thought this sesame recipe with chewy buckwheat noodles was a great compromise: some mayo, some noodles, and some veggies.
Why we love it
- It keeps for a day or two in the fridge after being assembled.
- Mayonnaise: it can be made a few days ahead.
- Eat this noodle salad at room temperature or cold, so it almost qualifies as a pasta salad.
- Versatile: it's a great option for a light dinner or as a cold salad on a hot Summer day. And they're great the next day, so don't worry about leftovers.
What are soba noodles?
They are Japanese noodles. Soba means buckwheat in their language.
And they are thin noodles, brownish grey (image below), that might have wheat flour also among the ingredients. They have an earthy, nutty flavor and are slightly slimy, in a good way.
Turns out that buckwheat flour is gluten-free despite its name. So they are a great alternative for celiacs. I had used this flour before for the Peanut Butter Bread and loved it.
And besides, they come in the neatest, prettiest bundles ever, all tied with a cute checkered paper – how can you not want to buy them?
Find them at Asian supermarkets and online as soba noodles or Japanese buckwheat noodles.
How to make sesame mayonnaise
Disclaimer: consult a doctor before eating mayonnaise with raw egg, especially if pregnant or giving it to children.
Use pasteurized eggs if you can't get fresh ones from a reliable source. Or use this store-bought mayonnaise shortcut.
The homemade mayo here makes this dish come together. It was such an amazingly delicious discovery! I had made mayo many times before but had never gotten past adding some garlic.
This recipe has that golden glory, sesame oil, and unique and fantastic flavor. I am such a huge fan!
It's made in a food processor or with an immersion blender. The only tip is to add the oil slowly. The rest takes care of itself.
Combine all spices into a large bowl and mix thoroughly into lean ground beef
Form into ball shape with your hands
- Green onions and shallots: the first are added fresh, chopped, and the latter is fried, creating contrast in flavor and texture. They add a crunch that complements the smooth dressing and the slippery pasta.
- Sesame seeds: of course, this whole dish is ended with some seeds, and I like to lightly toast them first. Be very careful because they burn in an instant.
- Mayonnaise: instead of making the sesame mayo from scratch, add some sesame oil, mustard, and soy sauce to store-bought mayonnaise. It will also last longer.
- Topping: use frozen veggies and not just green beans. Peas, green or red peppers or broccoli.
- The mayonnaise can be made a day or two ahead. It may last longer, and that depends entirely on the freshness of the eggs. Please note that we encourage you to ask a physician or nutritional expert if you have any doubts.
- The noodles mixed with the mayo last for two days in the fridge.
- The green beans can be cooked ahead of time, they last several days in the refrigerator. If using frozen, it will only take minutes to defrost them in boiling water.
- Citrus: add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice before mixing the soba salad.
- Add a protein: like tofu, pork or chicken, to make it heartier.
- Use a different vegetable: instead of green beans, use broccoli or broccolini, mushrooms, red cabbage, bell peppers, snap peas, edamame beans, purple cabbage or green onions. Or a mix. Use frozen instead of fresh veggies for a quicker dish.
- Spice it up: add finely chopped hot peppers or sprinkle red pepper flakes.
- Fresh herbs: like shiso or mitsuba, or even regular parsley or fresh cilantro can be sprinkled on top.
Related recipes you might like:
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For the sesame mayonnaise:
Use pasteurized eggs if you can't get very fresh ones from a reliable source. Or use this store-bought mayonnaise shortcut.
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons good mustard (I used Maille ancient mustard)
- ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 ½ cups sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon sriracha or similar
For the noodle salad:
- ½ cup sesame mayonnaise (recipe above)
- 4 portions of soba noodles
- ¼ cup canola or peanut oil
- 2 cups green beans, cooked, cut into pieces (defrost if using frozen)
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- ½ cup thinly sliced green onion
- Sesame seeds, to garnish
For the sesame mayonnaise:
- Put egg, yolks, vinegar, soy sauce and mustard in the bowl of a food processor and process 1 minute. Or use a bowl and an immersion blender.
- With the machine on the lowest speed, start adding the sesame oil in a very thin stream, followed by the olive oil in the same way.
- Finally add the sunflower oil, gradually, but you don’t need to be so careful since the mayonnaise will have emulsified by now.
- Add sriracha and taste. Adjust seasonings accordingly.
- Keep refrigerated.
- Makes about 2 ½ cups.
For the noodle salad:
- Cook noodles in abundant salted water according to package directions. I like them al dente, as they can turn quite soft if cooked too much, like regular pasta.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet and add shallots and green beans.
- Cook for a few minutes until most shallots are crispy. Transfer to a paper towel to drain while preparing the noodles.
- Rinse noodles under cold water and transfer to a bowl, or to the same pot where you cooked them.
- Add the mayonnaise and mix. Taste and adjust to your personal palate.
- Transfer to a serving platter, and top with green beans, shallots, green onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
- Mayonnaise: instead of making the sesame mayo from scratch, add some sesame oil, mustard, and soy sauce to store-bought mayonnaise. It will also last longer. The homemade version should be eaten in the first few days after making it. You can make half the recipe (easier if you use an immersion blender).
- Make ahead:
Mayonnaise: can be made a day or two ahead. It may last longer, and that depends entirely on the freshness of the eggs. Please note that we encourage you to ask a physician or nutritional expert if you have any doubts.
Noodles: last for two days in the fridge after being mixed with the sesame mayonnaise.
Green beans: can be cooked ahead of time, and last several days in the refrigerator. If using frozen, it will only take minutes to defrost them in boiling water.
- Use a different vegetable: instead of green beans, use broccoli or broccolini, mushrooms or red bell pepper. Or a mix.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Cooking
- Cuisine: International
- Serving Size: ¼
- Calories: 525
- Sugar: 2.3 g
- Sodium: 630.8 mg
- Fat: 35.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 47.4 g
- Fiber: 1.7 g
- Protein: 9.7 g
- Cholesterol: 11.6 mg
Keywords: sesame soba noodles
Adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook, by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins