Portrait of a Lunch

The Make-Ahead Soba Noodles You’ll Crave on the Hottest Days

You know those times when it’s too steamy to truly cook anything, but you can’t deal with the idea of one more takeout meal? Well, this silky, nutty chilled soba noodle salad is here for you, and making it requires little more than boiling water. It’s great prepped the night before and pulled out when you need it—and it’s also a stellar vehicle for any extra leftovers you need to use up (including the broccoli in your crisper drawer you can’t bring yourself to roast).

Whisk together one scoop creamy or crunchy peanut butter, two teaspoons sesame oil, a spoonful of honey, one teaspoon vegetable oil, and one teaspoon water in a large bowl until they’re mixed up and smooth. Boil a pot of water and cook two ounces dry soba noodles (about a handful) for three minutes until tender. Drain and rinse in cold water. Toss the noodles in the bowl with the peanut dressing and a sprinkle of sliced scallion, ½ a shredded carrot, and a handful of diced cucumber. Toss until evenly coated, and season with salt. This salad is also great with any leftover, cooked protein you’ve got on hand—think shrimp, a chunk of grilled salmon, or that lonely half a chicken breast hanging out in your fridge.

Pack up your soba noodles with some crunchy dried seaweed snacks (they’re good on the side, but you can also crumble them up and sprinkle them on top of your noodles). Add a handful of fresh summer fruit to your bag, and you’ve got a homemade warm-weather lunch in less time than it takes to run out for a slice of pizza.

Pack It In