Noodle salad on the go.

Soba noodle salad rollsSince I made Vietnamese salad rolls, I was left with a ton of rice paper wrappers left and I thought to myself, “I can’t wait to make these again!” but realistically (and without my mandoline and banh pho), I probably won’t be making them unless I specifically go out to buy those ingredients. And I’m lazy. That probably won’t happen for a while until I get a craving or something.

But…I have so many damn wrappers to go through. What else could I possibly make with them? After reviewing the ingredients, I thought, “Why don’t I wrap a noodle salad in there?”. And thus, the chilled buckwheat soba noodle, baby bok choy, and kimchi salad roll was born.

Buckwheat soba noodles are quickly becoming my new favourite noodle (sorry udon!). They’re nice and thin, have a delightfully chewy texture, and are mostly gluten-free (for those who care). I ate soba noodles all summer and all throughout Tokyo (zarusoba!!!!!) and well, they are just damn good. They’re good hot but especially good cold, like in noodle salads.

It’s actually kind of funny. I hate pasta salads, especially the ones that come in tubs at Safeway or some other grocery chain. Dis-gus-ting. Always taste overwhelmingly like relish (another ew) and mayonnaise (“would you like some macaroni with your mayonnaise?”). Gross, man. I even feel sick thinking about it.

However, I do make an exception when it comes to Asian-style pasta/noodle salads which is far superior than any other pasta salad, obviously made by me. Made with smidgen of Japanese mayonnaise, a hint of soy sauce, and the spicy Korean hot pepper paste, gochujang, this salad is better for you and packed with umami.

Honestly, this noodle salad is good as is. If you have time (as I clearly don’t), feel free to add canned flaked tuna, fried tofu, or any other protein and fresh herbs, my personal favourite being poached eggs with gently shredded roasted nori and cilantro. A meal in itself that doesn’t take more than 10 minutes! But on the other hand, if you’re as busy as I am, bundle these babies up in a rice paper wrapper and take ’em to go. Great way to reuse leftovers as well.
Chilled soba noodle salad roll Chilled soba noodle salad roll Chilled soba noodle salad roll
Chilled buckwheat soba noodle, baby bok choy, and kimchi salad roll

What you’ll need:
– 2 bundles buckwheat soba noodles
– 1 tsp sesame oil
– 4 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
– 3 tsp soy sauce
– 3 tsp gochujang (optional)
– 8 rice paper wrappers
– Warm water
– 32 leaves baby bok choy
– 16 pieces napa cabbage kimchi
– Sriracha (optional)
Tahini-soy dipping sauce (optional)

What you’ll need to do:
1. Cook the soba noodles according to packaged directions, drain, and set aside in a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle sesame oil over the noodles.
2. Mix Japanese mayo and soy sauce in a small bowl. Pour on top of the soba noodles and mix thoroughly.
3. Fill a medium-sized bowl (big enough to fit the rice papers in) with warm water. Dip rice paper wrappers in warm water for 4-5 seconds until the wrapper is pliable and easy to work with.
4. On a flat surface, lay the wrapper down and assemble the roll as so: 2 baby bok choy leaves, 2 forkfuls of noodles, 2 kimchi, 2 baby bok choy leaves. From the bottom, carefully bring the rice paper wrapper over the fillings, tuck fillings in on both sides, and roll. Repeat.
5. Serve with tahini-soy dipping sauce and Sriracha. Makes 8 rolls.

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