Soba are thin Japanese noodles made from buckwheat, which has a nutty flavor. Despite its name, buckwheat isn’t actually a grain — it’s a fruit seed that’s naturally gluten-free.

Buckwheat can be enjoyed hot or cold, especially in the form of soba noodles. In this recipe, the noodles are served chilled, with a creamy cashew sauce. Consider the sauce a template you can tailor to your preferences.

You could swap out cashew butter for peanut butter or your favorite seed butter. Change up the heat by using dried serranos instead of fresh, or replace the lemon juice with a splash of rice vinegar instead. — Andy Baraghani

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

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  • 1/2 cup (119 mL) cashew butter
  • 1 (1/2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 serrano chili pepper, finely grated
  • 3 tbsp. (45 mL) tamari or soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. (45 mL) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. (5 mL) toasted sesame oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 oz. (28 grams) dried soba noodles
  • 1 cup (20 grams) watercress, peppercress, or arugula
  • 1 cup (16 grams) cilantro
  • Thinly sliced cucumber, radishes, or carrots, for serving

Chef’s note

While buckwheat is gluten-free, many soba noodles contain added wheat, which helps them keep their form. If you’re sensitive to gluten, be sure to check the ingredients list.

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk cashew butter, grated ginger, serranos, tamari, lemon juice, sesame oil, and 3 tbsp. (45 mL) water until smooth. Taste and season with salt, if desired. (You won’t need too much with the tamari already in there.) Set aside.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook soba according to package directions. Drain, then rinse the noodles under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain again to remove as much water as possible.
  3. Add noodles to reserved cashew sauce. Using tongs, toss noodles until nicely coated with sauce. Divide noodles into serving bowls and top evenly with watercress, cilantro, and sliced crunchy vegetables of your choosing.

Do ahead

You can make the cashew sauce up to 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.