This Protein-Packed Spicy Noodle Salad Tastes Even Better as Leftovers

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For many people, pasta salad conjures up the image of macaroni elbows slathered in a mix of mayonnaise, finely-diced vegetables, and minimal seasoning. For some, it's a delicious nostalgia trip. For others, it's...well, pretty bland. Thankfully, chef and Well+Good Council member Candice Kumai has a pasta-based salad that is incredibly flavorful—and super healthy. Soba noodles, a buckwheat noodle from Japan, are the starring ingredient in this dish. Paired with scallops for some protein as well as vitamin B12 and zinc, along with lots of greens and a delicious marinade and dressing, and you've got a winner of a dish. 

This fiery soba noodle salad recipe is a delightful full-meal salad. Easy to cook soba noodles and Alaskan scallops, plus a simple sriracha sauce, are some of my favorite ingredients—especially for quick and easy one pan meals. It's also great to make with any heatwave, since it doesn't require an oven and only very minimal stovetop time (six minutes, tops!) to sear the scallops to perfection. If you like it hot—spice-wise, that is—this one’s for you.

Spicy Soba Noodle Salad

Serves 6 


For the salad:
1 pound medium Alaskan scallops, thawed
One 8-ounce package soba, cooked, cooled, and drained
1 cup organic edamame (if using frozen, thawed)
1 cup fresh baby arugula
2 scallions, finely sliced on the diagonal
2 tablespoons whole fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

For the marinade:
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (gomabura)

For the dressing:
2 1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari soy sauce
1/4 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil (goma abura)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Rinse the scallops under cool water and pat dry with paper towels.

2. In a medium nonreactive container (i.e. no copper, cast-iron, or aluminum), make the marinade. Whisk together the rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey or maple, cayenne, and grated ginger until the marinade is well combined. Add the scallops and toss gently to coat. Cover the container and place in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, turning as needed after 10 minutes.

3. Remove the scallops from the fridge. Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the marinated scallops to the hot pan, and sauté until slightly golden on each side, about 6 minutes. Remove the scallops from heat and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing: the tamari, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and cayenne. Gently add the cooked and cooled soba noodles and edamame; toss well to coat with the dressing. Mix in the arugula and scallions. Top with mint leaves, cilantro (if using), toasted sesame seeds, and scallops. Enjoy immediately, and even a few days later—this salad holds fabulously well overnight in the fridge!

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