Gourmet Picnic with Spicy Cold Soba Noodle Salad

gourmet picnic
Gourmet Picnic

Spicy Cold Soba Noodles with Peanut, Scallion, and Cilantro
Radish, Tofu, Shiitake, Carrot, Cucumber, Edamame, Shrimp

Natasha, the 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! host the 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group, a fabulous monthly event for “sharing ideas and creating gourmet makeovers of selected classic dishes or flavor combinations.”

The 5 Star Makeover assignment for May is Gourmet Picnic Food, perfect for the Memorial Day holiday. “Take your favorite picnic food for a ride and make something special. Lots of leeway and freedom, you choose the ingredients. Just make sure it is 5 Star.”

My contribution to May’s Picnic is a makeover of the ubiquitous pasta salad. This one is portable, delightfully colorful, bursting with flavor, healthy, and since guests compile the salad themselves can be made vegan (just skip the shrimp).

buckwheat soba noodles

The buckwheat noodles are made with buckwheat flour and organically grown yams. The noodles are smooth, tender, and firm to the bite. Cook noodles in plenty of water according to package instructions.

buckwheat soba noodles

Rinse twice and drain well. Toss with some sesame oil and chill in refrigerator.

the ultimate cold pasta sauce

soba noodle sauce

Start with:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t. szechwan peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 t. minced ginger
  • 2 T. seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T. hot chile oil

soba noodle sauce

Then add:

  • 4 T. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 T. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 T. tahini

This recipe makes enough sauce for an 8 oz. portion of dried noodles.

soba noodle sauce

Whisk all the ingredients together, set aside. Be sure to use szechwan peppercorns as they give the sauce a zippy, tingly nuance which alongside the hot chile oil makes this is an uber-flavorful cold pasta dressing. Remember to crush the peppercorns but don’t grind them as that will result in a gritty texture. This sauce goes great with linguini and spaghetti as well.

buckwheat soba noodle salad

Toss the chilled noodles with the sauce then add chopped peanuts, sliced scallions, and cilantro leaves.

super chill bowl

This neat big stainless steel bowl is called a “super chill insulated server.” It keeps the noodles perfectly chilled for eight hours without ice or condensation. The gel-based inner layer freezes like ice and holds its temperature without leaving water rings. It is chilled in the freezer prior to use.

spicy cold soba noodle salad

spicy cold soba noodles, peanut, scallion, cilantro


gourmet picnic

  • diced radish
  • cubed tofu cutlet
  • roasted shiitake with shredded carrot
  • sliced cucumber
  • chopped peanuts
  • boiled shelled edamame
  • jumbo shrimp, scallion, black sesame seed, sesame oil

jumbo shrimp

Prep the accompaniments and place in separate containers. To take this meal on the road you need one large plastic container for the noodles and seven small plastic containers. Pack a cooler with some ice packs, serving plates & utensils, soy sauce, chile & sesame oil for drizzling. Once at the picnic site, just pop off the lids and let everyone help themselves to create their own spicy cold soba noodle dish. For a heart-healthy, vegan, vegetarian meal – guests can simply pass on the shrimp.

gourmet picnic

Thank you to Natasha and Lazaro for including

Taste With The Eyes
in the
5 Star Makeover Cooking Group

gourmet picnic
Please visit Lazaro Cooks! here for a round-up of fabulous gourmet ideas for your Memorial Day picnic.

Lastly, I would like to take a moment to commemorate the U.S. Men and Women who have died in Military Service defending our Freedom and Liberty and to wish everyone a very Happy Memorial Day weekend.

58 thoughts on “Gourmet Picnic with Spicy Cold Soba Noodle Salad”

  1. how lavish and your soba looks and sounds delicious – I like how the top photo makes me wonder whats beyond in that little hint of the distance….

  2. May I please get an invite to this picnic?! Wow. Just lovely, creative, smart, and executed perfectly. Everything your cuisine is.

    Two thumbs way up!

  3. Looks like you had a beautiful picnic! Such a pretty table setting. And of course, great salad! I like how guests can assemble the salad themselves–that is always fun. 🙂

  4. Looks like a fantastic noodle salad and a beautiful picnic setting! Love the tahini in that pasta sauce for a creamy texture and nutty flavor.

  5. Love rice or noodle salads in the summer. Seems you can’t escape mayo-laden potato salad or cole slaw, so something like your soba noodle salad is always a welcomed change. Cheers!

  6. I just knew you’d drum up something over the top fabulous! I love it all. The setting, the noodles, the flowers. Great minds think alike. I’d picnic with you anytime! 😉

    1. Hi Emily – all the roses are from my garden which included passionate kisses, queen elizabeth, and tournament of roses!
      Thank you for your comment!

  7. now that is what I call one elegant picnic. the flowers, the food, the settings – just dreamy

  8. Love that you are using a cold soba dish for the picnic! Soba is my favorite type of noodles. Healthy, tasty, and has the most gorgeous color. I would be so happy at your picnic table! And I really love that second photo you took of the soba. Great job!!

  9. What a beautiiful dish and a beautiful picnic setting. I would love to sit down to a bowl of cold spicy soba salad. Nice job!

  10. I think I’d be happy if you were serving PB&J served on such a beautiful table. What a welcoming setting,LL! Love your “create your own” approach this salad. 🙂

    1. HI Debi – we were lucky to get the blooming bougainvilla, the weather, the late afternoon sun for our picnic. It was lovely, and the pasta a big hit…

  11. Gorgeous and the perfect example of ‘taste with the eyes’. I appreciate the do-it-yourself aspect which is not only visually appealing but very considerate of guests’ varying tastes. And that chill bowl is so cool.

  12. OMG- I’m drooling over your blog. What an elegant picnic! Love the cold soba and the sauce you shared with us. Although I’m not a big fan of szchuan peppercorns (cause it’s kinda numb my mouth) but I will it a second chance! the accompaniments are gorgeous!

    1. Thank you Tanantha! You can leave out the peppercorns if they are not to your liking – I bet you will enjoy it still, the chile oil and tahini make it so unique and flavorful, can’t miss!

  13. Your table looks absolutely stunning! Seriously like a magazine spread. And the pasta salad looks so refreshing for a hot summer day. Love it.

    1. Hi Trix – thank you, this pasta salad is a summertime hit! Buckwheat noodles are great, but I’ve made it with linguini with equally satisfying results. I hope you try it!

  14. What a lush setting and, as always, your table top is stunning – creating a magical and elegant picnic! Fantastic makeover of pasta salad – love the flavors in the dressing and the beautiful colors and textures of the accompaniments!

  15. This went to my heart… or my stomach… or my eyes. Writing the ingredients. It will get made – not as elegantly perhaps but as deliciously.

  16. That is a heavenly table for sure. What a great idea to have all the toppings in that amazing dish so that people can take what they like. All the flavors remain fresh and separate. A picnic fit for a king, if you ask me. Beautiful job!

  17. Now that is one beautiful picnic spread! I love soba noodles and will definitely have to get some szechuan peppercorns so that I can try the dressing out – it sounds like the kind of food I could eat all day…

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