This quick & easy zaru soba recipe features cold soba noodles dipped in an ultra-flavorful Tsuyu sauce made with only 4 simple ingredients from your pantry! This light and refreshing meal takes just a few minutes to prepare, and truly the ultimate way to cool down on a hot summer day.
What is Zaru Soba?
Zaru Soba is easily one of my favorite meals to have in the summertime as they are simple to prepare, healthy, and best of all, loaded with incredible umami flavors to complement the ice-cold noodles.
This soba recipe is third on the cold noodle series I am sharing with you to enjoy on a hot summer day and one that I make the most often due to its alluring flavors and easy prep.
Soba noodles are known to be healthier than other alternatives as it is made with a base of buckwheat flour, resulting in fewer calories and more nutrients such as Vitamin B, various minerals, and fiber.
It’s also gluten-free and tastes incredible with a nutty flavor and a wholesome texture.
If you’ve been following my blog awhile you’d know that my obsession with noodles is indisputable, and this is a great way to satisfy that noodle craving without taking on the extra calories.
Although there are many different ways to prepare cold soba noodles, the dish that I am sharing with you today is known as Zaru Soba (ざるそば) in Japan.
This is the most classic way to serve soba noodles in dipping them in a rich and flavorful Mentsuyu sauce, which can be put together in minutes using this easy recipe.
Although Mentusyu is traditionally made with homemade dashi stock and a long list of ingredients, we will be simplifying the process today as usual but without any compromise to the taste.
Best of all, the soba dipping sauce is good for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, making it the ultimate make-ahead meal to enjoy during the summertime.
What do I need to make Zaru Soba?
This easy soba recipe calls for a seamless two-step preparation of cooking the noodles and making the dipping sauce. Here is everything you’ll need to make this delicious summer meal:
- Soba noodles: to be cooked, chilled and served alongside your Tsuyu sauce. These noodles are sold pre-portioned and only take 3-4 minutes to cook in boiling water, to be strained and rinsed under ice-cold water prior to serving.
- Dashi: for the base stock. This is the backbone of many Japanese dishes, and can be prepared easily with instant soup stock, which works in a similar fashion as chicken bouillon powder.
- To prepare your dashi, simply mix the powder into water and it’s ready to go! For 1 cup of water, you will need to mix in about 1/2 tsp of dashi powder.
- Please feel free to use homemade stock as well if you prefer, but this method is a true life-saver for the busy days, without compromising the flavor.
- Another alternative is to use low-sodium chicken stock, or a 2:1 ratio of regular chicken stock and water. To prepare for this recipe, you’ll need to mix 2/3 cup of chicken stock with 1/3 cup water.
- Soy sauce, mirin, and sugar: to season the dipping sauce.
How do I serve Zaru Soba?
There are many different ways to serve Zaru Soba, but my favorite way is to garnish the noodles with some shredded nori, microgreens, and sesame seeds.
You can also dress your sauce with minced daikon, quail egg yolk, and a large handful of chopped green onion if you prefer.
Here is a list of popular toppings that you can add to your tsuyu dipping sauce:
- Chopped green onions: or scallions.
- Shredded nori: you can purchase pre-shredded nori, or use a pair of scissors to snip them into silvers.
- Wasabi: fresh or store-bought will both work.
- Grated daikon or ginger: shaved in a fine grater and squeezed of excess liquid
- Egg yolk or poached egg: quail or regular-sized
- Tempura: vegetable or shrimp
The best way to serve these soba noodles for a crowd is to serve the noodles and dipping sauce individually, and have the variety of toppings centered at the table for guests to dress their sauce to their liking!
Zaru Soba is quick & easy to prepare and makes for a fun activity for your loved ones to enjoy together, which makes it a popular choice for a shared meal during the summertime.
I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious soba recipe, and please feel free to leave a comment below or message me on Instagram with any questions. Happy cooking everyone!
Other easy dinner recipes you may like:
- Yaki Udon (Stir Fried Udon Noodles)
- Melt-In-Your-Mouth Japanese Hamburger Steak
- Chicken Katsu (Japanese Chicken Cutlet)
- Bibim Guksu (Korean Spicy Cold Noodles)
- Oyakodon (Japanese Chicken & Egg Rice Bowl)
10-Minute Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles)
- 2 bundles (200g) soba noodles
- shredded seaweed, toasted sesame flakes for garnish, optional
- green onion, grated daikon, wasabi, and/or egg yolk for the dipping sauce, optional
- Add dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar into a saucepan and mix to combine. Once the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and place in the fridge or freezer to cool.
- Cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain the noodles in a strainer and rinse under cold running water to remove the excess starch. Shake well to drain, transfer to a plate, and garnish to your preference.
- Pour the dipping sauce into a bowl and dress to your liking. Dip a portion of the noodles in the sauce and enjoy!
♥ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a 5-star rating or leave a comment below to share your experience, or tag @cookerru on Instagram to showcase your creations!
That was deliciois! It’s nearly 90 in Seattle tonight so cold dinner was needed. I used chicken stock, added blanched bok choy and spinach then to make it a meal I added shrimp and a poached egg. Everything chilled on ice in the fridge for 30 minutes. I totally forgot to add the nori but i did add cod and wasabi furikake. Yum! Slurp!
Wow – I absolutely love your choice of garnish Sharon! Especially the wasabi furikake So happy you enjoyed the recipe!
The flavour is perfect! Thanks for this easy recipe – perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.
My pleasure Fiona! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much for this recipe. This was exactly want I was craving for and this recipe hit the spot. Its also very jot here in australia so perfect and easy for a late night easy dinner.
So happy you enjoyed it Dominique! 🙂
Thank you Zelle for your recipe!!! I didn’t try with yolks yet, but overall this tasted just like what I got at Japanese restaurants while living in Los Angeles… that makes me so happy, and I don’t care it’s winter now but will again enjoy in summer living in Berlin Germany I don’t get authentic Japanese options and decided to learn to make these dishes during “Rona Times”. I made thus recipe with homemade gluten-free soba noodles and totally loved ❤️ it.
That sounds so lovely Sue! Thank you so much for sharing your experience! ❤️
This was so easy to make and so delicious! And I love that the sauce lasts for so long in the fridge. This is definitely going to be a staple for the rest of my summer, and I look forward to trying more of your recipes 🙂
We are in the middle of a heatwave and this cold soba noodle recipe hit the spot. The sauce is delicious, bought some hondashi at the Asian market.
Hello ! I wish to prepare this meal ahead of time to eat while at work, but I wonder : can I put the noodles in the sauce from the beginning, even though that would mean for them to stay in the sauce for an hour or two ? or would they not be as good anymore ? I can arrange to not have them mixed then, but I do wonder. Thanks for the recipe !
Hi Any! If possible I’d recommend packing the noodles and sauce separately, as noodles will turn mushy when stored in liquids for a long period of time. Additionally, to prevent the noodles from sticking together, it may help to add a tiny bit of oil and separate the noodles with chopsticks/tongs before packing them in the container. Hope you enjoy the recipe! 🙂
This was excellent!
I just skimmed the instructions so I mixed the dipping sauce ingredients together without heating and cooling them. is that ok???