Tomato Water with Cold Soba and Veggies

updated Aug 31, 2020
summer
Tomato Water with Cold Soba and Veggies

This refreshing low-cook dish, made with homemade tomato water, is the perfect meal for a hot summer day.

Serves4

Prep2 hours

Cook10 minutes

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Credit: Amelia Rampe
Soba Noodles

Have you ever made tomato water? It’s my very favorite way to celebrate ripe, sweet-smelling summer tomatoes. Once you’ve got it on hand, there are endless ways to turn it into a meal — and I’m particularly fond of this cold noodle bowl. It’s the ultimate quick-cooking, make-ahead summer lunch to keep in your back pocket.

For this recipe, I took a cue from a Japanese dish called “zaru soba,” which is cold soba served with a soy dipping sauce (though the cold soba is where the similarities end). Here, I cook soba noodles and shock them under very cold water, then let the noodles drain completely before tossing them in sesame oil to prevent them from sticking together.

If I’m meal prepping the dish, I’ll divide the noodles into four small-ish containers, then sauté a bunch of aromatics and veggies and add them on top. When I’m ready to eat, I simply pour the cold tomato water over the noodles and vegetables. It’s delightful as-is, but sometimes I kick it up a notch and add furikake, togarashi, a dash of chili oil, and toasted sesame seeds to enhance the flavor. It’s a perfect cold meal for a hot day.

Tomato Water with Cold Soba and Veggies

This refreshing low-cook dish, made with homemade tomato water, is the perfect meal for a hot summer day.

Prep time 2 hours

Cook time 10 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds

    tomatoes, such as beefsteak or on the vine

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon

    toasted sesame oil

  • 1 (6 1/2-ounce) package

    dried soba noodles

  • 4

    medium scallions

  • 1 (2-inch) piece

    fresh ginger

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 8 ounces

    Persian or English cucumber

  • 2 tablespoons

    vegetable oil

  • 2 cups

    cherry tomatoes (about 12 ounces)

  • 1 teaspoon

    Asian chili oil, such as Layu (optional)

Instructions

  1. Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth and fit over a medium bowl. Place 2 pounds tomatoes in a blender. Turn the blender on to low speed and slowly increase up to high speed. Blend until very smooth, about 1 minute once on the highest speed. Pour the tomato pulp into the strainer and let sit until the bowl has collected about 2 cups tomato water, about 2 hours. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables.

  2. Cut the whites from 4 medium scallions into 1/2-inch pieces, then thinly slice the greens, keeping the whites and greens separate. Peel a 2-inch piece of ginger and finely chop until you have 1 tablespoon. Finely chop 2 garlic cloves. Dice 8 ounces cucumber.

  3. When the tomato water is ready, discard the contents of the strainer. Add 2 teaspoons kosher salt to the tomato water and stir to dissolve.

  4. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add the scallion whites and chopped ginger and cook until the scallions begin to look translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and 2 cups cherry tomatoes, and cook until the tomatoes start to burst, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cucumbers, then remove from the heat. Let cool until room temperature, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the noodles.

  5. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add 1 (6 1/2-ounce) package soba noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain the noodles and run under cold water until cool. Drain again. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil and toss to combine.

  6. To serve, divide the soba between 4 bowls. Divide the vegetable mixture over the noodles. Top with the scallion greens and drizzle each bowl with 1/4 teaspoon Asian chili oil, if desired. Pour the tomato water into the bowls and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Gluten-free: To make this recipe gluten free, make sure the soba noodles are 100% buckwheat.