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Soba Chicken Noodle Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing

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This Asian-inspired noodle salad is everything you want a summertime meal to be: flavorful, light, and totally satisfying.

Plate of soba chicken noodle salad with ginger peanut dressing.

Photo by Johnny Miller (Clarkson Potter, 2021)

Years ago, I wrote a salad column for the popular food site, Serious Eats. Among my contributions, the most popular was this Asian-inspired noodle salad. It marries chicken and veggies with a punchy dressing flavored with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and peanut butter. The salad is perfect summer fare: full of fresh flavors, light on the palate, and totally satisfying. For the chicken, I’ve provided cooking instructions, but if you’re looking for a shortcut, this recipe is perfect for using up leftover chicken or a store-bought rotisserie. If you opt for the latter, you’ll need 2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken.

A heads-up about the dressing: it might seem a bit sharp and salty on its own, but that’s intentional. The noodles absorb a lot of flavor, so it’s important to over-season the dressing slightly. While you can prepare the dressing ahead of time, I’d suggest cooking and tossing the noodles just before serving to keep them from becoming soggy.

Soba noodles, similar in appearance to spaghetti, are made from buckwheat and hail from Japan (indeed, “soba” translates to “buckwheat” in Japanese). They are available at Asian markets and most grocery stores. However, if you can’t find them, spaghetti makes an excellent substitute.

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Soba Chicken Noodle Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing

This Asian-inspired noodle salad is everything you want a summertime meal to be: flavorful, light, and totally satisfying.

Servings: 4


For the Chicken

  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad

  • 10 ounces soba noodles (or spaghetti)
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup chopped salted peanuts
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

For the Dressing

  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon Asian/toasted sesame oil
  • 1½ tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  1. Cook the chicken: Preheat the oven to 350°F and set a rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the chicken breasts on the prepared pan. Rub the skin with the vegetable oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
  2. Begin the salad: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions, stirring occasionally so they don't stick. Drain and rinse well under cold water.
  3. Make the dressing: Meanwhile, in a small food processor or blender, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, peanut oil, sesame oil, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, and sugar; blend until smooth.
  4. Finish the salad: Remove the skin from the chicken breasts and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, toss the shredded chicken with the noodles, bell pepper, scallions, peanuts, cilantro, sesame seeds, and dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.
  5. Note: If you'd like to use leftover chicken or a store-bought rotisserie, you'll need 2 cups of cooked, shredded meat.
  6. Note: Check out easy guidance on how to peel, grate, and chop fresh ginger here.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 708
  • Fat: 36g
  • Saturated fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 67g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 37g
  • Sodium: 2099mg
  • Cholesterol: 56mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • I would enjoy serving this to my card club for lunch. I saw your suggestion to serve coconut shrimp as a side, but that would not be one of my favorites. Serving a salad as a side doesn’t seem right. Maybe some steamed dumplings? What about a dessert? Thanks in advance. I’m new to your website and love it!

    • Hi Candy, I think steamed dumplings would work nicely in terms of the Asian theme, but that’s also a lot of pasta (if you count the outside of the dumplings as pasta). A dessert may be a better way to go. (Glad to hear you’re enjoying the blog!)

  • Also, low-sodium soy sauce is a good choice. That will help the dressing not be too salty for those who are concerned.

  • This was so delicious! I made it with spaghetti and added shredded carrot, blanched broccoli florets, and edamame. (always trying to squeeze in extra veggies) The dressing is so flavorful and balanced. This recipe has a lot of potential for a variety of veggies and protein. My husband loved it. We ate it warm last night and cold for lunch today. Also shared the leftovers with my daughter and her husband. Everyone gave it 5 stars and more! Thanks, Jenn, another winner as always!

  • Hi Jenn
    I can’t find rice wine vinegar, but I can find rice vinegar. Is it the same product? My internet search says it is. Is that correct??

    • Yes, that’s correct – hope you enjoy!

  • I made this salad today to take to a Labor Day picnic and made a couple minor changes. The dressing was a little too salty and strong for my taste so I added some grapeseed oil to tone it down a bit. I also sweetened it a little more with some honey. We love ginger so added extra minced ginger to the salad and added more veggies…shaved carrots and sliced snap peas.

  • This is a winner in our house. I add chopped cucumber and shredded carrots to squeeze in an extra serving of veggies

  • Hi Jenn! I really want to make this recipe but I’ve been unable to come across peanut oil (stores are pretty much wiped out around here) and I just finished what I had. What can I use instead of the peanut oil?
    Thank you!!

    • Hi Cristie, I think you could get away with using vegetable oil instead. Hope you enjoy!

    • Hi Jenn
      I’m making this recipe (Sounds delicious) but my husband does not like cilantro. What would you replace it with or should I simply omit it? Thank you.

      • Hi Anita, It’s perfectly fine to just omit it. Enjoy!

  • I’m a horrible cook and nothing really works out for me. I followed this step by step and it worked out!!! I’m super happy that I didn’t have another disaster in my kitchen. Will make this again.

  • I made a few changes based on what I had in my kitchen. I used shredded carrots and red cabbage in place of the red pepper. I didn’t have soba noodles (or even spaghetti!?), so I used the rice ramen noodles sold at Costco (4 “cakes”). My whole family enjoyed this, including my 3 and 4 year old. This is definitely a great warm-weather dinner idea!

    • — Carrie Toloczko
    • Reply
  • Made it exactly as written—it was great! A real keeper! I like the suggestion from the comments of adding edamame—I will do that next time.

  • Hi Jenn! I use your recipes every week when I cook for a group of 20 adults. 🙂 Question: what would you serve as a side dish (or two) with this meal? Thank you so much! Can’t wait to receive your cookbook! Amanda

    • — Amanda Woodiel
    • Reply
  • Absolutely yummy…added it to my printed “once upon a chef” handmade cookbook.
    I served the red pepper flakes separately at the table for those who don’t like heat…great either way.

  • can you serve as a cold salad?

    • — Colleen J Smith
    • Reply
    • Hi Colleen, Yes, definitely!

  • Made this recipe for dinner. Would recommend to put in shelled edamame for extra crunch. My family and I also found that this tasted much better on the second day and served warm! Thank you, Jenn!

  • Delicious!!!

  • How much in advance can you make the dressing?

    • Hi Gail, the dressing should keep nicely in the fridge for up to a week.

      • Thank you. I so love your recipes. I’m taking this to a salad pot luck and this will be the tastiest one there I’m sure!

  • I want to eat this salad every day for the rest of my life. Holy deliciousness! Didn’t change a thing to the recipe and topped it with some sriracha for some spice! I will be making this for my lunches and leaving the dressing and peanuts off until last minute mixing 🙂 YUM. Don’t forget to add the peanuts.

  • This was very good. I followed the recipe exactly and was very pleased with the final results. I will make this again.

  • This recipe rocks and is a perfect summer dish. I make a batch for our pool days and never come home with leftovers. I add pre-made shredded broccoli & carrots and this is a great jar salad. The dressing is also wonderful on salads. I like a hint of spicy so added a teaspoon of the garlic sambal chili garlic sauce.

  • Just made this for dinner tonight. Our family is spending Memorial Day all together at our beach house, and I wanted a yummy meal that would not heat up the kitchen. Not a noodle was left in the bowl! Delicious ?

  • This recipe was a tremendous hit with my family. The only changes I made were using spaghetti noodles & adding in some leftover shredded carrot,cabbage ,& peas. I’ve had to make double batches of the peanut dressing because it’s that addictive.

  • Made this salad this evening. It was delicious! Didn’t change one thing and was thoroughly enjoyed.

  • I am allergic to nuts so I avoid peanut butter! What could I substitute it for? Many thanks.

    • Hi Vi, you could just omit the peanut butter, or if there is another type of nut-free butter that you use, you could try replacing it with that. Hope you enjoy!

    • I know this is really late but a little bit of tahini sauce has worked for me to substitute in savory sauces using peanut butter, like this one—tahini has that nutty flavor without the allergy risk unless you are allergic to sesame too (I have multiple kids with nut allergies). Hope this helps!

      • — Ro on December 21, 2023
      • Reply
  • Another FANTASTIC recipe! My local grocery didn’t have soba noodles, so I used spaghetti, and my family all really loved it. I admit I was afraid I wouldn’t care for the chopped peanuts in it, but they were good. The flavors were well-balanced, and the salad was easy to put together.

  • Let me first start by saying that it drives me crazy when I read a review and someone says something like, “the recipe called for a French baguette but I used a frozen Totino’s pizza instead”. I did substitute shrimp for the chicken and used rice noodles because that’s what I had on hand. I made the sauce exactly as the recipe called for (with a lot less sesame oil) and was a little worried because it was a little salty – but – I trust Jenn and went for it. It was delicious and everyone loved it. This will be a part of our dinner rotation. Thanks Jenn!

  • Another delicious recipe which I will definitely make again. I used Eden Foods Organic Soba Pasta which is 70% wheat and 30% buckwheat. I used unsweetened peanut butter and reduced the sugar in the dressing to 2 teaspoons.

  • Hello Jen,
    Is there an Asian Sesame Oil that you recommend? I’ve tried a couple of different ones and the flavors were over powering. If I use it, it’s just a drop or two. When I read recipes that call for tablespoons, I usually steer clear.
    It could just be my palette, but I’d be willing to give it another try.

  • Amazing

  • Hi Jenn:

    Any suggestions for Christmas side dishes?


    • Hi Cyntha, Yes, check under my recipe index under “Holidays.”

  • Hi Jenn:

    I’ve bought all the ingredients for this amazing looking salad, however I absolutely hate cilantro, do you use a subsitute or just leave it out?


    • Hi Cynthia, Just leave it out — it will still be delicious 🙂

  • Delicious. A hit with whole family!!

  • This recipe has my Honey/Hubby’s name written all over it! (Of course we’ve never tried one of your recipes just once ~ all of them are real keepers!)

    Congratulations on the Win-Win-Win! I’ll look forward to seeing/reading you at Serious ~ one of my favorite recipe sources ~ which just got even better. I’m delighted that more people will be seeing your excellent recipes and cooking ideas. Best wishes!

    • — Jesselyn Andersyn
    • Reply
  • I took this to my Bunco group one night and it was a real hit. This salad is unique and has a very pleasing flavor. Something different and keeps really well in the fridge so can be made ahead easily.

  • We love this recipe! We eat it as a main dish. You can substitute all kinds of asian flavors in the dressing and it still turns out great. Oyster sauce, hoisin, fish sauce, all work equally well in this.

  • If I don’t have the seasoned rice wine vinegar what could I use instead? Thanks

    • Hi Julie, I recommend getting the seasoned rice vinegar but if you don’t have it, regular rice vinegar or white wine vinegar with a bit of sugar will work.

  • I made this today and it was SOOOO GOOD! I used an all-natural peanut butter with no added salt or sugar, and the dressing was perfect. It wasn’t too salty or sweet. The soba noodles were a wee bit clumpy after cooking them and rinsing them in cold water. I added a little bit of oil to loosen them up but maybe I needed more. But all in all, I really enjoyed it! It didn’t take long to prepare either! That’s always a bonus.

  • I love coming home and making this. I always make to much so I can have for lunch the next day. Sometimes I mix up the veg. but other then that it is a great recipe.

    • — patricia Barna
    • Reply
  • Made this yesterday….my husband said he could eat it every day for the rest of his life, so I’d say it was a delicous success!

  • I’m usually not crazy about peanut butter in dressing, so I took a chance and left it out – it was great!

  • Oh yummy! I loved this, and my husband finished off the leftovers before he went to bed. Wouldn’t change a thing.

    • — Nicki Howerton
    • Reply
  • We thought this was delicious – even better the second day after the flavors marinated together more. We added sugar snap peas and edamame. The one thing I may do differently is use another shaped pasta – with the spaghetti I was either getting a mouthful of noodles or just the goodies. Might try a bowtie.

    • — Shelley Thomas
    • Reply
  • I made this over the weekend for some friends and instead of chicken, I used tofu instead. It was very tasty! Everyone loved it! 🙂

  • My family loves this dish!

  • Congrats on your new column!

  • Where’s the recipe for this?

  • Congratulations on your new column. So look forward to reading it. You are off to an awesome start from the looks of this featured dish. Thank you.

  • Congrats on the new column. I saw it yesterday. The recipe looks good and the dressing is similar to your Asian ginger/peanut slaw recipe which I have made at least 4 times this summer for various parties. It’s always a hit.

  • That’s exciting! I love entree salads and will look forward to reading your ideas at Serious Eats. Congrats!

  • Congratulations on your new writing adventure! Is there anything as nice to eat as a salad?
    I love love Asian. I love Chicken. I love Noodles. I love Ginger-Peanut Dressing. I guess I will have to try this recipe!

  • wow this looks yummy!

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