This cold soba salad is reminiscent of peanut sesame noodles, but with a few key swaps. Its flavor is more lively, surprising, nutty, and spicy. Instead of peanut butter, this salad dressing uses almond butter, which has great texture and savory roastiness that can evade some peanut butters. Paired with red curry paste, it tastes like you added a whole bunch of ingredients, when you really just stirred two together with some water.
Red curry paste is a jarred mix of red chiles, lemongrass, garlic, lime, and other aromatics and is typically used as the base of Thai curries, stir-fries, and soups. It’s incredibly fragrant and flavorful in salad dressing, too. Here, the red curry-almond dressing coats nutty buckwheat soba noodles and whatever chicken you have around (leftover thighs from dinner, shredded rotisserie, etc.) — although steak, salmon, or tofu would also be good.
Because of the spice and earthiness of the noodles and dressing, you might seek some sweetness, which is where the carrots come in. They’re shaved into long ribbons to mimic the noodles. As you shave the carrots lengthwise with a vegetable peeler, you’ll eventually only be left with a little carrot that’ll be hard to shave. You can chop that part up and add it to the salad, or keep it as the chef’s snack.
Chicken and Soba Noodle Salad with Red Curry-Almond Dressing
- 6 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup
- 2 1/2 teaspoons
red curry paste
Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 package
dried soba noodles (8 to 10 ounces)
- 2 cups
cooked shredded or sliced chicken
Bring a medium pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, add 6 tablespoons water, 1/4 cup almond butter, and 2 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste to a large bowl, season with kosher salt and black pepper, and stir to combine.
Add 1 (8 to 10-ounce) package dried soba noodles to the water and cook according to package directions. Meanwhile, peel 4 carrots, then shave them into long ribbons with a vegetable peeler. (If the ribbons are particularly wide, cut in half lengthwise so that they are closer in size to the noodles.) Slice or shred 2 cups cooked chicken.
Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water, then drain again. Place the noodles in the dressing, add the carrots and chicken, and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Gluten-free: Make sure the soba noodles are made of 100% buckwheat to keep this gluten-free.
Storage: The salad will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Let come to room temperature, and thin the dressing as needed with more almond butter, curry paste, and water before serving.
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