There are loads of flavor packed in this simple noodle salad. A bright zingy Asian dressing, handfuls of herbs, green beans and crunchy peanuts may seem like they are casually tossed together, but there is more than what meets the eyes.
Summer is the season for fresh herbs and beans, so load up this salad with your favorites. When it comes to the fresh herbs, mint is pretty much a must. Parsley, cilantro, basil, or chives make good companions. It’s tough to resist picking these lovely purple basil that has been growing gangbuster in my backyard herb garden. A touch of purple among the sea of greens in the salad is appealing. Furthermore, nothing beats the freshly harvested herb: backyard to table!
Besides a wide range of herbs, there is the unending array of noodles that would work beautifully here. Choose soba, udon, ramen or vermicelli. These other noodles give the salad a slightly different vibe and feel. I used some organic gluten-free vegetable noodle made from edamame. I don’t think the type of noodle used alters the essence of the dish. By and large, what’s brought it all together is the dressing.
The dressing is whisked together using some common Asian ingredients: rice vinegar, lime juice, chili, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil. If you like to amp up the flavor, or in the mood for some heat, try adding some grated ginger to the dressing. If you like peanut butter, add some to the dressing or put it on the side.
When it comes to cooking, it is minimal. You need to prepare the green beans and the noodles. That’s it. I steamed the beans. Used the same pot, with a little more water, and cooked the noodle. That works wonder on those summer days when you don’t want to get the kitchen any hotter than it is. Meanwhile, slice some fresh cucumber and pile them on the salad. The cucumber tastes refreshing and cooling in the salad.
You are welcome to serve this noodle dish cold as a side. I can imagine it served on a picnic table for an outing or packed in a lunch box for school or work. You won’t mind having the leftovers stored in a takeout box ready to grab and go.
I am posting this herby peanutty noodle salad at IHCC. The challenge this week calls for adding a pinch of this and a dash of that among our favorite herbs and spices using a Huge Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe. I cooked some beans and noodles I have on hand. They were all easily and casually transformed into a coherent dish with some fresh herbs, a sprinkle of roasted peanuts and a zingy Asian dressing.
Herby Peanutty & Noodly SaladPrint Recipe
- 75g raw or roasted unsalted peanuts
- 200g fine egg noodles or Thai rice noodles
- 150g French beans
- ½ cucumber
- 6 spring onions, trimmed
- About 12 basil leaves (ideally Thai), roughly torn
- A small bunch of mint, roughly chopped
- A small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped (optional)
- For the dressing
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lime, or ½ lemon
- ½–1 small red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon soy sauce, plus extra to serve
If using raw peanuts, roast on a tray in the oven (at 180°C/350°F) for 8–10 minutes, until golden brown. Leave to cool, then chopped into smaller pieces.
For the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and rinse under the cold water. Add to the dressing and toss until well coated. Leave to cool completely in the dressing.
Cook the beans in a pan of lightly salted boiling water till just tender and still a bit crunchy, about 3–5 minutes. Drain, refresh in cold water and drain well.
Halve the cucumber lengthways and slice thinly. Finely cut the spring onions on the diagonal.
Toss the cooled noodles with the peanuts, cucumber, spring onions, beans and herbs. Serve with soy sauce on the side, for everyone to help themselves.
Adapted from Huge Fearnley-Whittingstall website.