Photo by Read Urban

Photo by Read Urban ()

This cold noodle salad is quick, light, and won’t have you spending more than five minutes in front of a stove. The prep work is easy and the final dish comes together quickly. Boiling the noodles and a quick sear are the only things that will tear you away from your other summer duties.

The trick with this recipe is cooking the noodles correctly. For most noodles similar to soba or somen you want to cook them all the way through. This can sometimes result in overcooked noodles if you aren’t paying attention. For cold noodle recipes I try to remove them from the heat 30 seconds before I think they are going to be done. It might take some practice, but you are looking for firm and fully cooked noodles (save all that al dente talk for the Italians).

Serve this salad soon after you toss it in the dressing. Like any salad, you don’t want it soggy and limp. You can prepare most of this beforehand (even cooking the mushrooms), just make sure to keep the dressing separate. If you decide to make this the day before, toss the cooked noodles in a bit of vegetable oil (it will help keep them from sticking together).

Ingredients ... 2 servings

Cold Somen Salad • 4 ounces somen • 4 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed • 2 scallions, thinly sliced • ½ a carrot, shredded

For marinade • 3 tablespoons soy sauce • 1 tablespoon ginger • 1 clove of garlic, minced • ½ tablespoon honey • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Dressing • 2 tablespoon soy • ½ tablespoon honey • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar • 1 teaspoon sesame oil • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Garnish Ingredients: • Sesame seeds • Chopped scallions


  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl. Toss the whole mushrooms in the marinade and let them sit for at least 30 minutes.

  2. Bring a pot of water to the boil and cook the noodles according to the package directions. Probably, two to three minutes – remember, you want a firm noodle that is completely cooked through. Strain the somen and run cold water over them until they are cool.

  3. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing in a shallow bowl. Toss the noodles, carrots, and cucumber in the dressing.

  4. Place a sauté pan with a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Remove the mushrooms from the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Sear the mushrooms on one side for about a minute, then flip and finish cooking for another 30 to 45 seconds. Remove from the pan, let them cool slightly, and slice on the bias.

  5. Set the noodle salad on a bed of greens, fanning out the mushroom on top. Garnish with extra sesame seeds and scallions.

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