Somen salad is light, refreshing, and delicious, but it is also hearty enough to be a whole and satisfying meal. This Japanese salad recipe has it all – noodles, meat, and plenty of veggies. And the dressing is sweet and savory and perfect with all the other flavors!
Somen salad is a kind of noodle salad that’s served cool or cold. This Japanese recipe features somen noodles, and in this layered salad, there’s plenty to love. It’s got crunch, it’s got savory meat, it’s got seafood, and with a delicious dressing to tie it all together, it’s a fabulous meal.
This somen salad recipe is perfect on a hot day, but I also love it for lunches on the go, and it always gets rave reviews at potlucks and family gatherings. It’s also perfect for picnics and family dinners. I love that I can make this salad ahead of time – keep the dressing separate – and then serve it for dinner when I get home.
It’s also a really popular classic Hawai’i recipe. You can find it prepared in grocery stores, on menus at restaurants, family reunions, and even some high school cafeterias serve it at lunchtime.
What Are Somen Noodles?
Somen noodles are popular Japanese noodles that are wheat flour-based, thin, almost vermicelli-type noodles. They have a mild flavor and take on the flavors in the salad. Somen recipes are most commonly chilled, at room temperature, or even hot versions of these noodle salads as well.
What You Need To Make Somen Salad
(Full recipe instructions and ingredient amounts are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post)
- Somen noodles – You can find them in the dried pasta section or with other Asian ingredients. Cook somen noodles according to package instructions.
- Lettuce – Look for nice crispy lettuce, like iceberg lettuce. Cut into thin strips to add some extra crunch to these cold noodle salad.
- Spam – Slice it thinly and fry until browned.
- Eggs – Scrambled and cooled.
- Kamaboko – Use your favorite brand. You can use imitation crab as an alternative.
- Carrot – Fresh julienned carrots add so much crunch and color to this easy Somen Salad recipe.
- Cucumber – Look for a small cucumber, like English, with edible skin to add color to the salad.
- Green onions – Just the green parts, thinly sliced
For The Somen Salad Dressing Ingredients (or somen sauce):
- Vegetable oil – Any brand will do.
- Shoyu – Japanese soy sauce made from fermented soybeans. This can be found in the Asian aisle at most grocery stores.
- Sugar – White granulated sugar. Brown sugar works here as well.
- Rice vinegar – Your favorite brand is fine.
- Sesame oil – A little goes a long way!
What is Kamaboko?
Kamaboko is a popular Japanese seafood product made from deboned white fish flavored and steamed in loaves. It is also known as cured surimi or Japanese fish cake.
How To Make Somen Salad
- Cook the dried somen noodles according to the package directions, drain, and then chill them under cold water and drain well. Place noodles aside.
- Add the noodles to the bottom of a large bowl or dish. Top with lettuce, char siu, eggs, kamaboko, carrots, cucumber, and green onion.
- Make the dressing by whisking the vegetable oil, shoyu, sugar, rice vinegar, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Mix until sugar dissolves.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad, serve on a large platter, and enjoy!
There are so many different ways to make this delicious salad, and you can customize and change it up however you like! Here are some of my favorite variations:
- Use ramen noodles or soba noodles instead of somen noodles if you can’t find them.
- Thinly sliced ham, char siu pork, lunch meat, or top it with leftover chicken or any meat.
- Add a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds as a garnish.
What To Serve With Somen Salad
This is a complete and delicious meal with carbs, vegetables, and protein. But, if you’re wondering what goes with somen salad, you can serve smaller portions of it along with miso soup or a few rice balls on the side.
How To Store Somen Salad
This somen salad recipe will keep in the fridge, if tightly covered, for a few days. It is best eaten fresh. Keep the dressing separate, if you can, to keep the salad crisp. Store in a small container or small jar
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! If you start with the char sui already cooked, this is a simple dish to make. There’s some cutting and chopping, but that can be done ahead of time, so all you need to do is assemble the salad.
Yes, this is a healthy salad. There’s lean protein, carbs, and vegetables in it. There’s some fat from the oil in the dressing, but it really isn’t that much per serving.
Traditional somen salads feature a vinegar-based dressing, and this one is no different. Shoyu, rice vinegar, and sesame oil flavor this tangy and savory dressing that’s perfect with all the other ingredients.
Other great Japanese recipes to try
For the salad
- 8 ounces somen noodles
- ½ small head of lettuce, shredded
- 1 cup SPAM, thinly sliced
- 2 eggs, scrambled and thinly sliced
- 3 ounces kamaboko, julienned
- 1 small carrot, julienned
- ½ small cucumber, julienned
- 3 stalks green onion, thinly sliced
For the dressing
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons shoyu
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- For the salad: Cook somen noodles according to package directions. When done, run under cool running water until cool. Drain and set aside.
- Add noodles into a large pan or dish. Layer over the lettuce, char siu, eggs, kamaboko, carrots, cucumber, and green onions.
- For the dressing: To a small bowl add vegetable oil, shoyu, sugar, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Mix until well combined.
- When ready to serve, drizzle dressing over salad and ENJOY!
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[ 2 Packs ] Hime Japanese Dried Somen Noodles, 28.21-Ounce
Spam Less Salt Cans - 12 oz - 6 pk
Yamasa Red Kamaboko 蒲鉾かまぼこ Steamed Fish Cake Alaska Pollock Grilled Cured Surimi Japanese Ramen Side Dish - 6oz (Pack of 3)
Pure Wesson Vegetable Oil - 1.25 gal
1/2 gal Aloha Shoyu Low Sodium Soy Sauce (pack of 2)
C&H Pure Cane Granulated Sugar, 20 Oz Easy Pour Reclosable Top Canister (Pack of 2)
Kikkoman Rice Vinegar, 20 Ounce
Kadoya Sesame Oil, 22.10 Fluid Ounce
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 986Total Fat: 68gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 48gCholesterol: 296mgSodium: 2293mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 2gSugar: 17gProtein: 35g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.