It’s a bone fide heatwave here in Vancouver and I’m not going to complain. It’s hot, but we can manage. Bike rides add much needed breeze and is a generally pleasant way to get around town. Cold drinks on a shaded patio are always a recipe for summer fun. A good blast from a fan to cool down the bedroom before you go to sleep has been a nightly occurrence around here. And if you’re looking for something to help feed yourself while keeping the kitchen cool, this salad has been my go-to all week long. The recipe is adapted from the New York Times and I’ve made it more vegetable heavy instead of thinking of the vegetables as a garnish. It’s fresh and full of flavour and it’s eaten cold, so it’s a very refreshing meal on a hot day.
The first time I made these noodles, I was prepping for our 10th wedding anniversary getaway to the well-named Sunshine Coast. I prepped the sauce at home and then packed everything I’d need into the travel cooler. At our cabin, I boiled the noodles, prepped the vegetables and then served the salad to go along with our salmon. It was delicious! This would be a great accompaniment with chicken, steak, shrimp, tofu or as we ate last night, corn on the cob. It’s a very versatile meal.
For the noodles, I used something I’ve always spotted in the little markets in my neighbourhood but never picked up. Shame on me, because these fresh Chinese noodles are wonderful. And bonus, they only take 2 minutes to cook once the water boils – perfect for keeping a steamy kitchen at bay.
Carrots and cucumbers get julienned with my favorite hand tool. Though, if you’ve got some serious knife skills or a fancy spiralizer, you’re good to go. I added in some thinly sliced & slawed purple cabbage for colour, but some thinly sliced red peppers or baby bok choy wouldn’t be out of place. And later on this summer, when you’ve got zucchini coming out of your ears, think of this salad.
It’s the sauce though that is the true magic here! It’s got peanut butter, ginger, honey and rice vinegar and a good hit of spice, but not too much (though if you’ve got a gentle palate you might want to take it easy on the chili-garlic sauce and lay off the sriracha. I ran out of tahini and so I made my own which felt like a pretty cool thing to do (lightly toast some sesame seeds and blend them in a food processor with some olive oil, ta da! Hello new skill!). I really recommend making a double batch of the sauce as the salad really seems to soak it up and you really want a good strong flavour, don’t hold back here.
Like any good noodle salad, the leftovers are wonderful right out of the fridge. Perfect to take along to a picnic or slip into your lunch bag.
cold sesame noodles
(adapted from the NYT)
I like a 50-50 mixture of noodles to vegetables. It tastes more like summer and it’s just healthier that way, but play around with what feels right for you. I recommend doubling the dressing ingredients because these noodles can, and should, take a lot of sauce. Plus, it’s nice to have on hand so that you can whip up this meal on a moments notice. You’re welcome to change up the vegetables – adding sliced baby bok choy would add a nice crunch.
2 T sesame oil
3 ½ T soy sauce
2 T unseasoned rice vinegar
2 T tahini
1 T smooth natural peanut butter
1 T honey
1 T finely minced ginger (I use a microplane to get it really fine & juicy)
2 t minced garlic
2 t chili-garlic sauce
a squirt or three of sriracha
Add all ingredients into a lidded mason jar and then shake like the dickens until well blended. Set aside.
1/3 pkg of steamed Chinese noodles (I used fresh steamed Farkay brand noodles, but udon would be good too)
1 large carrot, julienned
1/4 small red cabbage, finely sliced into a thin slaw
1/2 English cucumber, julienned (but toss the inner seedy core)
Cook noodles according to package directions, the steamed Farkay noodles took only 2 minutes to cook in boiling water. Rinse well under cold water to cool down the noodles and drain very well. Add noodles to a large serving bowl along with the vegetables. Toss well to combine and then pour on some of the dressing, mix again and taste. You’ll probably want to add a bit more dressing, trust me. Serve cold or at room temperature. Makes 2 large servings or 4 regular appetites.