I’ve spoken of my husband’s fondness for noodles and our general enthusiasm for vegetables. (Heck, the latter is what this journal is premised upon.) But hot noodles in May (even in the temperate Bay Area) don’t always whet the appetite or seem appropriate for dining on the patio. So when I happened upon this colorful cold noodle recipe on Orangette, I began to salivate.
The original recipe comes from The Greens Cookbook, a compilation of recipes from the famed San Francisco restaurant that pioneered vegetarian cuisine. Known for using fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices from cuisines around the world, their dishes are vibrant and savory. And this recipe does not disappoint. The noodles are dressed with sesame oil, soy sauce, red pepper oil, a touch of sugar, and unexpected balsamic vinegar. Robust and savory, the silky noodles are contrasted with ribbons of refreshing snow peas, vibrant julienned carrots, and crispy clean mung bean sprouts. A flavor and textural explosion, it is perfect for a leisurely summer dinner.
FHE asked that I tell you he and Rice Kernel slurped up every last noodle. And that his bowl could have used some more red pepper oil. There, hun.
Asian-Inspired Noodle Salad with Crispy Vegetables, adapted from The Greens Cookbook, via Orangette
For the dressing and the noodles
5 Tbs toasted sesame oil
7 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari)
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs sugar
1-2 tsp salt
1 Tbs red pepper oil
8-10 scallions, thinly sliced into rounds
3 Tbs cilantro, chopped
1 lb fresh Chinese egg noodles (like Orangette, I used spaghetti; please forgive the lack of authenticity)
For the vegetable garnishes
1 cup snow peas, strings removed
½ lb mung bean sprouts
3 Tbs sesame seeds, toasted in a skillet until lightly colored
1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned
- Begin by making the dressing. Combine all the dressing ingredients (except the noodles, of course) in a bowl, and stir them together until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring a large pot of (unsalted) water to a boil, and add the noodles. Cook until done but not overly soft (slightly before al dente); then immediately pour them into a colander to remove excess water. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl and pour half of it over the cooked noodles, tossing to distribute the dressing evenly. Set aside the remaining dressing. If the noodles aren’t to be used for a while, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate to allow the flavors to develop.
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the snow peas, and cook them until they are bright green, about 20-30 seconds. Remove them with tongs or a strainer, and rinse them with cool water. Cut them into long, thin strips, and set them aside. Next, put the sprouts into the boiling water, and allow them to cook for about 30 seconds. Pour them into a colander, rinse them with cold water, and lay them on a layer of paper towels to dry.
- If the noodles have been refrigerated, allow them to come to room temperature; then toss them with reserved dressing, as well as half of the sesame seeds. Mound them in a wide bowl or on a platter, and distribute the snow peas, mung bean sprouts, and carrots over them. Garnish with the remaining sesame seeds and a few branches of cilantro. Once served, guests can toss the noodles and vegetables together to thoroughly mingle the textures and flavors.