Soba & cabbage noodle salad with spicy peanut sauce


Ten days ago was Theo’s first birthday party. I meant to take photos of his cake and share that with you – but the opportunity eluded me in the bustle of party hosting.

I’ve started this blog post at least half a dozen times, but keep abandoning it. It is an emotional experience, celebrating your first child’s first birthday. I’ve struggled to scramble together the words to commemorate it properly. I’ve been mulling over what I should write here for weeks now, but in the end… the thoughts in my brain are just to disjointed and poorly organized to summarize such a huge personal journey.

Jennifer-Pallian-2Photo by Tina Francis.

It has been a year of sheer joy, complete chaos and unnerving love. I spent it exhausted and happy, in equal parts – often to the brink of tears for one or the other, sometimes both.

I’m just so grateful for the community of friends and family we have surrounding us, even from a distance. For the Nana and Granny/Grandpa who flew across the country and across the world to be part of Theo’s first weeks, and who took such good care of us.

For the sister and brother-and-law who love him so much, playing with him for hours on end.

Jennifer-Pallian-3Photo by Tina Francis.

For all the amazing mamas who have shared their wisdom, experience and support – you have been my absolute rock this first year – whether over coffee dates or long-distance Facebook threads or right here in my comments.

For all the friends who rocked Theo in their arms while I puttered away in the kitchen, who have showered him with affection, spoiled him with gifts and have been so understanding of the reduced number of girls’ nights.

For the sweet, caring babysitters who have given me peace of mind, allowed me get work done and have date nights.

For the stranger in Costco who said, “You’re doing great, sister!” when I was out shopping with Theo, exhausted and overwhelmed, when he was just a couple weeks old.

To all the many people – husband, family, friends, neighbours – in my life who share with me the experience of growing in motherhood and loving Theo: thank you.

Happy birthday, little peanut. :)

Soba Noodle salad with Peanut Sauce

And speaking of peanut… I bring you peanut sauce!

Haha that was a totally unplanned segue, but I’m pretty pleased with myself about it.

Soba Noodle salad with Peanut Sauce

Give me a peanut sauce that hits all the notes (sweet, salty, sour, spicy) and I am yours forever.

This chewy soba noodle salad is full of crunchy peanuts and carrots, sunflower sprouts, vibrant herbs and (the little secret) lots and lots of cabbage “noodles”.

Soba Noodle salad with Peanut Sauce

Shredded cabbage is cooked along with the soba, doubling the volume of your bowl while -somehow imperceptibly – only half of your noodles are real noodles. Because let’s be real – I want to totally drown it in peanut sauce. Balance!

Feel free to sub in whatever veggies you have in your crisper – asparagus, zucchini, red pepper, spinach… it’s a good “clean-out-the-fridge” salad. I rounded it out with some spice-rubbed grilled steak (for my hubby who thinks a meal is not a meal without animal protein). Alternatively, some nicely seared tofu cubes would be really amazing, as would shredded leftover chicken.

Jennifer-Pallian-4Photo by Tina Francis.

It’s been quiet around here. Sorry for that, I’m back now.

Soba & cabbage noodle salad with spicy peanut sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
For dressing:
  • ⅔ cup natural, unsalted peanut butter
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 5 tbsp lime (or lemon) juice
  • 2 large (or 3 small) cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1-3 tsp crushed red chili flakes, to taste
For salad:
  • 3.5 oz/100 grams (½ package) snap peas, trimmed
  • ½ lb soba noodles
  • ¼ cabbage, cored, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 carrot, peeled, julienned or shredded
  • 75 grams 2 cups (loosely packed) pea, bean or sunflower sprouts
  • Handful of chopped fresh mint and/or cilantro
  • Handful of chopped, roasted peanuts, optional
  1. Combine all dressing ingredients (starting with 1 tsp chili flakes, and adding more to taste) in a microwave-safe bowl, then microwave on full power in 30 second intervals until it's loose enough to whisk together. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to thin out to desired consistency.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and cold water.
  3. Cook snap peas in boiling water for 30 seconds, or just until they turn bright green, then plunge in ice bath. Add soba noodles and cabbage to boiling water and cook 7 minutes, or until both are tender. Transfer to colander and rinse with cold water until cool. Let drain thoroughly.
  4. Toss snap peas, noodles, cabbage and carrot together with dressing in a bowl. Top with sprouts, herbs and peanuts. Serve chilled or room temperature.


  • Sheena S.

    Awww. That last photo of you and Theo is just stunning. Theo, you have a long life of great food ahead of you, little man. : )

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Haha thanks, Sheena! xo

  • Olivia

    I love spicy peanut butter sauces… pinning ;-)

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Thanks, Olivia :)

  • Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps

    Happy Birthday to your little guy!! He is ADORABLE! Those peanut noodles are looking pretty darn good too. :)

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Thank you, Nicole! :)

  • Farah @ The Cooking Jar

    Loved your segue! The salad looks great and I love the marriage of flavors in the dressing. And the addition of mint!

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Thanks, Farah!

  • Sara Struckman

    Making this recipe this weekend! Can’t wait! Also, I made your Spicy Thai Meatballs for my brother, who is increasingly hard to impress. He was more than impressed – he has made them for his family! Keep the recipes coming. And happy one year to you mama!

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Hi Sara! Thank you, and I’m glad the Thai meatballs impressed your brother!!! :)

  • Colene

    Aw, Happy Birthday Theo! Also, you’re doing such a great job! I’m such a huge admirer (and drooler) of yours :)

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Thank you so much, Colene! :D xox

  • Michelle Hooton

    Your post was perfect! Sometimes the magic just happens…

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Thank you, Michelle!

  • Ami@NaiveCookCooks

    This salad is just perfect!! You both look so adorable!

  • MizzJ

    Happy birthday to your little man!

  • Katelyn Sidley

    My roommates and i are obsessed with spicy peanut sauce, were always trying to create the perfect one to put on our thai dishes. This looks delicious and super simple for all of our busy schedules, “pinned” this recipe for sure.

  • Radha

    Hi Jennifer, the peanut dressing was getting thick every time I took it out of the microwave,but it was yummy..I am in Wellington ,NZ. Is there any other way of making this without it getting set all the time coz its cold here? But it was yum!

    • Jennifer Pallian

      Hi Radha, yes! If it’s too thick, you can whisk in some hot tap water by the tablespoonful until it’s thin enough to work with. :)