Buckwheat Noodles with Green Beans & Toasted Sesame-Lime Vinaigrette

The morning after the last day of school, I always woke up feeling a little adrift and lost, slightly suffocated by a feeling of anticlimax.  As excited as I might be about summer vacation, even as a child I was someone who needed days to be filled with purpose.  I’d sleep late and stumble into the kitchen listlessly for cereal, anticipating day after hot day unfolding in just the same way, wondering what my friends were doing, envisioning the darkened classroom I was so eager to escape only yesterday, chairs stacked haphazardly, abandoned and empty.  My mother, stepping into the kitchen for another cup of coffee, could always recognize the storm clouds on my forehead.  “Get dressed,” she’d say, “Let’s go to the Book Rack.”

As a kid, the Book Rack, which sold used paperbacks, was possibly one of my favorite places on the planet.  There was no talking, no muzak, no one wondering if they could help you find something, just shelves of books, a rocker, handmade vinyl paperback book covers, and a few sad pothos ivy plants struggling to survive in macrame hangers.  Clearly designed for serious readers, the books were helpfully arranged by genre, so I could disappear into the horror section or the mysteries and never be bothered with Westerns, romance novels, or God forbid, “historical” romances.  My mom would drop me off there while she went to run errands, and I could happily stay for hours, enveloped in the owner’s cool quiet fog of menthol cigarette smoke, filling a paper grocery bag with books priced at a quarter.  At the end of the day, I’d spread all the books out on my bed and agonize over which one to read first.

Summer is here.  I want more than anything to go back to the Book Rack, pull a damp and crumpled $10 bill out of my shorts pocket, and disappear for three months into another world.

A lovely tangle of slippery, sesame-scented noodles is a cool, easy recipe–make a big batch for lazy days and late evenings so you don’t have to put your book down for long.

Buckwheat Noodles with Green Beans & Toasted Sesame-Lime Vinaigrette 

1 package buckwheat soba noodles, cooked to al dente, drained and rinsed

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed, cut into 1″ lengths and blanched

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2″ pieces

1 c. cherry tomatopes, cut in half

1-2 spring onions, cut into paper thin slices

1 c. cooked chicken or tofu, cut into 1/2″ pieces

small handful cilantro leaves

1/3 c. roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped


1/3 c. freshly squeezed lime juice

3 Tbs. fish sauce

2 Tbs. “rooster” chile sauce or siracha (to taste)

1 Tbs. sugar

2 Tbs. tamari sauce

3 Tbs. toasted sesame oil

Make dressing.  Place lime juice, fish sauce, chile sauce, sugar and tamari in a small bowl.  Whisk in sesame oil until well blended.

Place all salad ingredients together in a large bowl, reserving a small amount of peanuts and cilantro for garnish.  Add dressing, toss well, garnish and serve.


39 Responses to “Buckwheat Noodles with Green Beans & Toasted Sesame-Lime Vinaigrette”

  1. Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen

    And this has been officially added to the “Memorial Day” checklist.

    Best thing about it? I’m pretty sure I already have everything I need in my fridge or pantry. 🙂

  2. Meg

    Yum! Just made this for lunch and it was delicious!!! Will be making it again sometime soon!

  3. Christy Seals

    oh man, this was delicious. i used green tea soba noodles, so everything was very green. and substituted carrots since i had used up all of the cherry tomatoes making the goat cheese and cherry tomato tart. will make again and again, perfect summertime dinner and leftover lunch.

  4. wsake

    i want to go to this book place so bad now… and take with me a bowl of this amazing noodles…

  5. bevweidner

    This is beauuuuutiful! I could dig on some soba for like, days.

  6. Rachel

    Wow- reading this post was like stepping back into my childhood. I could sit and read for hours upon hours, perfectly happy living in the alternate reality of whatever book I was reading. I was one of those kids who would bring a book to a restaurant and read during dinner, and one who also read during class while the teacher was teaching. And I also woke up early on Saturday mornings at friends’ houses just to read. There is nothing better than escaping into a book. Great post, and I love the recipe!

    • farmhousetable

      me too–I still carry a book around in my purse “just in case” I have a minute during the busy day!

  7. thelittleloaf

    Just discovered your gorgeous blog via 101 Cookbooks – this recipe looks so fresh and beautiful and the dressing sounds divine!

  8. forkpenmouth

    I’d be content to read all day if I had something with sesame oil to snack on.
    This more than fits the bill- I know what I’m doing this weekend!

  9. suzann

    I am one of ‘those kids’ too. This looks delicious–will be trying VERY soon!

  10. Lynn

    This looks fantastic! Do you remember what size package of soba noodles you used? My grocery store sells them in various quantities (8 oz, 16 oz, etc).

  11. Jordan

    Just made it on the recommendation of Heidi Swanson. It was delicious! So glad to have discovered your blog.

    Is there a way to print the recipes, ideally with a picture, that I’m missing?

  12. Pam

    I simply love the way you write. You paint a picture with your words. I would love to see you write a novel ala Nora Ephron.

  13. Angele

    This salad dressing is now my favorite in the world. I make it on Asian coleslaw, regular salads (with peanuts, peppers, carrots, cilantro, snap peas, green beans, green onions, chicken, pickled ginger and mandarin slices), pasta salads… as an egg roll dipping sauce. I almost eat it off a spoon it’s so good. Thank you so much for this!


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