Cold Sesame Soba Noodles and Tofu


Summertime, and the livin’s easy! Happy vacation to all of my teacher friends out there.  You’ve earned yourself a glass of wine and a comfy place to rest your feet. As of today, I’ve officially completed my second round of grade school… 13 years as a student and 13 years as a teacher/leader.  Schools can be tremendously challenging places to work and they are also deeply rewarding. Over my last 13 years working in schools I’ve learned the following lessons:

  • Listen to students – their wisdom is far beyond ours.
  • We often learn more from things that can’t be graded
  • We are more likely to remember things that we make or build
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar has stood the test of time and is still well loved today
  • Pack a lunch! Otherwise you’ll end up eating burritos every day.

cold sesame noodles with tofu.JPG

In my efforts to meal prep I have a special place in my food notebook for dishes that will make, store, and pack well for lunch.  While my low-prep go-to is a spinach salad with some hard boiled eggs and assorted veggies, I also appreciate changing that up every now and then.  Some of my favorite stand-out lunches have included chipotle chicken burrito bowls, curried lentils, and a BBQ chicken grain bowl.  

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I originally saw the Pioneer Woman cook these cold sesame noodles on her show and promptly wrote it into my food journal! Her original recipe is here, and I followed it fairly closely but didn’t have / couldn’t find hot chili oil so I substituted the chili garlic sauce.  This sauce comes together on the counter top all while the noodles are boiling! If you are adding tofu that adds a few extra minutes, but it’s worth it.    The whole dish can sit overnight in the fridge and the flavors come together perfectly making you a happy camper the next day at lunch.

cold sesame noodles with tofu 5.JPG

I won’t be prepping lunches for a few months, but send me your favorites and I’ll ad ‘em to the notebook!  Now, where’s my wine?


Cold Sesame Soba Noodles and Tofu

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Print

The flavors in this make ahead lunch come together in the fridge overnight for a cool refreshing mid-day meal Enough for one hungry camper or enough to share as a side.


  • 1 bundle of soba noodles
  • 1/4 cup soy
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • Sesame Seeds
  • 4 slices of extra firm tofu about 4 oz

Steps & Notes

  1. Remove the tofu from the package and place between two plates with a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Let sit for 10 minutes and drain once if necessary.
  2. Then, make the marinade, pouring some into a shallow bowl for the tofu.
  3. Place a pot of boiling water onto the stove.
  4. Once dry, cut the tofu and place into the marinade for 10 minutes.
  5. While the tofu soaks, place the soba noodles into the water and cook for 6 minutes.
  6. Strain the noodles and immediately rinse under cold water. Then, place the noodles into the bowl of marinade. Use tongs to evenly distribute the sauce over all noodles.
  7. Saute the tofu on a flat hot pan in some canola oil.  Sear for 3 minutes per side.
  8. Layer the noodles and the tofu then garnish with green onions, sesame seeds, and an extra light drizzle of sesame (if you are as obsessed with this flavor as I am!)
    1. Note:As an option you can also saute peanuts in the marinade for 3-4 minutes to add on top of the dish.
  9. Store in the fridge overnight.



  1. So many great lessons there from the school kids – I’d extend the memory one to say we’re also more likely to remember things we write down!


  2. This sounds amazing!! Thanks!


  3. […] to adding more new lunch creations this fall. For now I’m happy to share a few grain bowls, some cold soba noodles, and a curried chicken salad (which drastically needs a photo update – stay tuned on that one). […]


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