This simple and refreshing pasta salad is made with soba (buckwheat) noodles, raw cucumber, lightly cooked asparagus, and wakame seaweed. It’s tossed in a lemon-soy vinaigrette with sesame oil, sesame seeds, and a hit of fresh ginger.
Why It Works
- Lightly blanching the asparagus gives it a perfect crisp-tender texture while preserving its vibrant green flavor.
- Cucumber keeps this salad cool and refreshing.
- 1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed
- 1/2 ounce dried wakame seaweed (see note)
- 300 grams (about 10 1/2 ounces) dried soba noodles
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup fresh juice from 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons canola, vegetable, or grapeseed oil
- 1 (1 1/2-inch) knob fresh peeled ginger, grated
- 1 large English cucumber, ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced into quarter-moons
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced on the bias
- Kosher salt
Place wakame in a medium bowl and cover with plenty of warm water. Let stand until softened and rehydrated (about 10 minutes), then transfer to a fine mesh strainer to drain. In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch asparagus until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to an ice-water bath to chill. Slice chilled asparagus into 1 1/2-inch lengths on a slight bias.
In a new pot of salted boiling water, cook soba noodles until tender, according to package instructions. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold running water until chilled.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon juice, canola oil, and ginger. Drain wakame and squeeze out excess water with your hands.
In a large bowl, combine soba noodles, asparagus, wakame, cucumber, sesame seeds, scallions, and soy dressing and toss well. Season with salt and serve, sprinkling more sesame seeds on individual plates, if desired.