Sesame-Ginger and Cucumber Soba Noodles

Sesame-Ginger and Cucumber Soba Noodles

Busy busy busy busy bzzzzz. That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. Juggling work deadlines and freelance projects, yoga class and happy hour, dinners with friends and family. Feeling busy can be overwhelming at times, but I feel unusually energized by my full calendar. I’d guess that the spring in my step comes from connecting with a few more friends in this new city. It’s nice to feel more connected with the community at large.

green onions and sesame dressing ingredients

This recipe exemplifies how I eat when I’m busy, or really, how I eat all the time. I’m generally only feeding myself, so it’s hard to justify pulling out all the stops for every meal. I like to keep a big bowl of leftovers in the fridge and find that I’m only motivated to cook again once I’ve emptied it. It begs mentioning that I’ve consumed almost every serving of every recipe on this blog. In other words, these are dishes that I’ve tasted for days in a row and believe are worthy of being cooked in your kitchen.

soba noodles

The idea for this recipe came to me when I was dining at Masu Sushi & Robata in Minneapolis. My friend Grace ordered an appetizer of sliced cucumbers smothered in a delicious sesame-ginger sauce. They paired wonderfully together. As I was ordering my soba noodles, I wondered why I hadn’t tried mixing ginger into my favorite tahini dressing recipe, and this recipe was born.

This recipe is a flexible one and I’ve left room in the instructions for you to adjust it to taste. Feel free to toss in additional vegetables, like carrot ribbons (sliced with a vegetable peeler), chopped bell pepper or whatever strikes your fancy. If you love the creamy sauce, you might also like this peanut soba noodle bowl. If you prefer a lighter sauce, try my colorful soba noodle & raw veggie salad. It’s a popular one that would go over well at a fourth of July potluck.

soba noodles with ginger-sesame dressingSesame-ginger and cucumber soba noodles recipe

Sesame-Ginger and Cucumber Soba Noodles
4.7 from 6 reviews
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Japanese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
Soba noodles tossed with cucumber, scallions and a light yet creamy sesame-ginger-tahini sauce. This would be a great vegan potluck dish, but note that it is best when served promptly, as the salt will draw out the water from the cucumbers and dilute the flavors. It can be gluten-free if you buy gluten-free soba noodles, soy sauce and miso.
  • 8 ounces soba noodles (about 2 bundles)
  • 1 large or 2 small English cucumbers
  • 1 bunch scallions (green onions), chopped (about ¾ cup chopped)
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon white miso (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • ⅓ to ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (preferably black)
  • sea salt, to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the soba noodles until al dente, according to package directions (do not overcook them!). Drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. Use a chef's knife, or better yet, a julienne peeler, to slice the cucumber into long, skinny strips. Toss the super seedy inside strips. Then you can slice the remainder into 3-inch long strips (as shown) or leave them long.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, rice vinegar, ginger, miso, tamari/soy sauce, sesame oil, cilantro and red pepper flakes. Once blended, whisk in water until you reach your desired consistency.
  4. Toss the soba noodles in the sesame-ginger sauce (depending on how saucy you like your noodles, you may have some sauce left over). Toss in the cucumber strips, scallions, sesame seeds and extra cilantro if desired. Season to taste with salt or additional tamari until the flavors really sing. Serve immediately.
Suggested equipment: Two tools worth owning: a Microplane for finely grating ginger (and citrus zest, chocolate, and Parmesan), and a julienne peeler for slicing long strips of cucumber (and apples, shoestring potatoes, etc.).
On leftovers: If your leftovers are watery, blame the cucumbers. Pour off some of the extra liquid and punch up the flavor with a light drizzle of sesame sauce and tamari/soy sauce.
Leftover sesame-ginger sauce would make a light vegetable dip for carrots and bell pepper strips.
Freeze it: If you have leftover ginger, freeze it whole. When you're ready to grate it for a dish, pull off a frozen chunk and grate it against a Microplane. No need to peel it, as the skin will stay on the top side of the Microplane.
Change it up: Spice up this dish with chili garlic sauce or sriracha if you'd like.
Make it soy free: Just use tamari in place of regular soy sauce.


  1. Matt Charley says

    I literally eat cold soba noodles almost every week, and after reading this recipe, I’m never making them the old way ever again.

    You are an inspiration and I can’t wait to try these this weekend.

  2. Autumn says

    YUM! I have book club this upcoming Tuesday and we all bring what we like to call “Pinterest food”. This will be my addition this month! :)

  3. says

    This looks very cooling and tasty for summer! I also love keeping bowls of leftovers in the fridge for the week. Something to look forward to each day! Can’t wait to try this!

  4. says

    I love dishes like this- vegetarian, flexible and so fresh and flavorful! The sesame-ginger-tahini sauce is especially mouth-watering :)

  5. says

    This sounds wonderful, Kathryne! I recently made a similar bowl with spiralized zucchini and shitaake mushrooms, but my favourite part was definitely the ginger sauce! I’m going to try your version next!

  6. says

    I am the same way with food! I love eating it all up before moving onto the next dish…and what better way to tell if it’s blogworthy than if I’m still craving it days later! I would totally crave these noodles, though, no question.

  7. says

    WORK IT GIRL. Busy times are crazy, but ultimately awesome if you ask me. Especially if you’re making tasty-sauced noodle suppers for fortification. Happy weekend to you miss. Hope you get to sit back and enjoy a cool drink here and there :)

  8. Gunhild says

    I really, really have a thing for soba noodles these days and am so gonna try out this recipe. I’ll let you know how it turns out :-)

  9. says

    I recently fell in love with soba noodles and have twice made them for a peanut-noodle salad. I love tahini, however, so will definitely try soba noodles with your sesame-ginger sauce!

  10. says

    This sounds delicious. I too am trying to post things that I eat frequently and know are good, rather than the random dessert that I tried once or twice. I bet this would be great with spaghetti squash too! :-)

  11. says

    This meal looks so fresh and delicious. I’m usually only cooking for myself as well, so I really appreciate a meal that I can throw together and keep in the fridge for a few days. It’s no nice not to have to cook one night when you’re tired and stressed!

  12. says

    Super looking dish. Soba noodles are such fun to eat- slurp-tastic! Especially with a yummy sauce like this one.
    Sadly I live with a ginger hater so I’ll have to save this one for when they’re not around.

  13. says

    This has refreshing and summer written all over it!!! I bet this would be a huge hit at a summer BBQ because it is so not your typical pasta salad. Yum!

  14. says

    This looks delightful! I’ve recently discovered the magic of soba noodles. I live in South Korea now so sometimes it’s hard to find the ingredients listed on my favorite American food blogs… but I think I can find all of these ingredients here so I can make this. Yay, can’t wait! :)

  15. says

    I just recently watched a video of three michelin star chef Alain Passard, in it he slightly cooks his cucumbers. I’m sure his technique would work wonders with this delicious recipe!

  16. says

    I’ll admit, most of the dishes I make at home are one-bowl dishes. Who has time to clean various pots and pans and when it’s 95 degrees outside – forget about it! This dish has everything I want in one bowl, perfect for summer, yum!

  17. michelle says

    What would be a good protein to pair with this dish?

    I was thinking some shrimp or scallops? I wanted a fish dish, but I don’t know what flavors would work with it.

    • says

      I’m sorry, Michelle, I wish I knew what to suggest! I’m guessing scallops would be nice, but I don’t eat much meat so it’s hard to say.

    • Cait says

      I put half a can of tuna in (I also halved this recipe, I wanted to take it for lunch at work). I wouldn’t serve it to anyone for anything specia this way , but it made a nice, quick, and filling lunch for myself.

  18. says

    I kept this recipe open in a tab until I could make it today. I ended up using black rice soba, so I switched the sesame seeds to white. Everything else I kept he same, and the sauce was delicious. This is the first time I’ve ever made soba (I have no idea, WHY), and I think it’ll become a staple. Yum! :)

    • says

      Thanks, Dani! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I’ve never seen black rice soba, but it sounds interesting! I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  19. says

    Just wanted to let you know that I made this the other day and it was incredible! I added a few more veggies though (red pepper and shredded kale) just so it could be a main course. I can’t wait to make it again.

  20. Lisa says

    Thank you! Made this tonight- it was my first time using soba noodles and this was just great! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  21. Kris says

    I made this for dinner tonight (only change was I added more veggies) and it was incredible. :) Thanks for the inspiration!

  22. Claire says

    I made this the other night without the miso and I think that probably makes a big difference. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for miso. I might try this another night with some fried tofu or maybe a little peanut butter added to the sauce.

  23. Alarive says

    Hi Kate! This recipe looks so good but I have one question- is it gluten free if there is soy sauce? I was led to believe soy sauce had gluten, but maybe I’m wrong…?

    • says

      Hey! Good question. I have a little note about that in my recipe summary but it is easy to miss. Tamari (a Japanese variety of soy sauce) is usually gluten free, but soy sauce isn’t. White miso is usually gluten free. You would need to hunt down 100 percent buckwheat noodles for those to be gluten free. It should be pretty easy to find these ingredients at a well-stocked health store.

  24. Diane says

    Was looking online for a recipe using soba noodles. Found this one, had all the ingredients on hand so gave it a try. Delicious and easy, too! Excited to try your other recipes – they all look great.

  25. Deborah says

    Made this last night and it was delicious. But the leftovers that stayed in my refrigerator overnight until lunchtime, which gave the flavors plenty of time to marinate and the dish to get cold, was phenomenal–the absolutely perfect hot weather lunch. Thanks for the GREAT recipe

  26. Vicky says

    Oh. My. God.
    That sauce is AMAZING! So, so delicious. I made my noodles with sliced carrots instead of cucumbers because that’s all I had and threw in some sesame seeds, and they were so delicious. I will definitely be making this again (and again, and again)!

  27. Lola says

    I just made this tonight and it was a great hit for my tastebuds. I did not have tahini, so I substituted it with a tablespoon of peanut butter and some yogurt. Another option could be avocado instead of tahini, ideas ideas! For those questioning white miro or not, get the miso. It makes a huge difference and nice savory edge.

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