Contrary to many good cooks I know, I love following recipes. I don’t believe that they are restrictive. On the contrary, I feel super satisfied and proud when I follow a recipe step-by-step and produce an outstanding dish. But I like formulas, too—you know, recipes that provide guidelines, rather than instructions, so you can let your creative juices flow? This recipe—perfect on hot summer days!—is one such formula. Got noodles in the pantry, leftover meat, and veggies in the fridge? You’re all set for an easy weeknight meal. Want to turn it into a company-worthy dish? Marinate and grill your meat, carefully select your vegetables for a colorful result, and pick up exotic ingredients at the Asian grocery store to kick it up a notch. Regardless of your choices, the enticing aromas of this salad will tempt you to make it again and again.
Freestyle Asian Noodle Salad
Makes two generous servings.
For the dressing
3 tbsp [45 ml] peanut oil (or another smooth-tasting oil)
1 tbsp [15 ml] toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp [30 ml] rice vinegar (or Chinese black vinegar, or lime juice)
1 tsp [5 ml] sugar
1 clove garlic, crushed or chopped very finely
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
For the salad
2 cups [500 ml] cooked noodles (for example, flat rice noodles, Asian egg noodles, soba, or udon)
1 cup [250 ml] cooked chicken, shredded (or any other cooked or grilled meat, or sautéed shrimp, or fried tofu)
1 cup [250 ml] green papaya, julienned (or Asian pear, or green apple)
1 cup [250 ml] mixed julienned vegetables (for example: cucumber, carrot, bell peppers, zucchini, and radishes)
1 handful bean sprouts, thoroughly rinsed and dried
1 green shallot, chopped
Toppings (use one or several of the following ingredients)
Toasted peanuts, chopped
Toasted sesame seeds
Fresh herbs (regular or Thaï basil, coriander, mint)
Fried shallots (readily sold in Asian grocery stores or online, sometimes called “fried onion”)
To make the dressing: Place all ingredients in a glass jar with a screw-top lid. Shake energetically and reserve.
To make the salad: Add the cooled, cooked noodles along with the protein of your choice and all the vegetables in a large mixing or salad bowl. Drizzle with about half the dressing and mix well so all the ingredients are coated.
To serve: Divide the dressed noodle salad between two serving bowl. Add the toppings of your choice and serve the remaining dressing on the side so each person can add more to their liking.
Note: The version of the salad I photographed (above) contained soba noodles, flank steak, green papaya, zucchini, carrots, radishes, Thaï basil, coriander, and peanuts.
Recipe Credit: Catherine Côté & Marie Asselin. The recipe was previously published in French by Fou des foodies.
More Asian salad inspiration:
- Salmon Soba Salad with Ginger-Peanut Dressing
- Green Vegetables, Miso and Sweet Sesame Salad
- Asian Cole Slaw with Wasabi Dressing
- Susur Lee’s Singapore Slaw
- Peanut and Coriander Noodles