I’m all about ginormous salads these days – ones with quinoa and barley and rice noodles and just loads of chopped up stuff – salads I can fill up on and pat myself on the back for having consumed a virtuous quantity of veggies.
This particular salad was served at the very first back yard meal of the season, long before the floods, when it got chilly as the sun went down and we had to leave early because it was a school night. We were at a housewarming dinner at our friends‘ first home; this was set upon the picnic table alongside a chicken curry and stacks of mismatched plates, and all was devoured. When I made it myself at home it was far too much for us three – far better for a backyard get-together – and next time I’ll make sure I have salted peanuts or cashews to crush overtop, and perhaps some quickly cooked shrimp or leftover roasted chicken to add to the mix, if I’m so inclined when the moment comes.
And I’m hoping there will be another opportunity to bring something to someone else’s back yard on a hot summer night – as a bonus, this particular tossed noodle salad thing is gluten-free (if you use tamari instead of soy sauce), wheat-free, dairy-free and vegan, and yet all you notice when it comes to the table is all the stuff that’s in it – not all the stuff that’s not.
How’s your summer going so far? What’s everyone doing and making? I want to hear!
Orchid Lime Salad
Adapted from Whitewater Cooks with Friends
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
finely grated zest and juice of a lime
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed, dried and chopped
16 oz thin rice noodles
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 long English cucumber, seeded and cut into matchsticks
1 red pepper, cut into matchsticks
2 cups bean sprouts, washed well
a few green onions, chopped
toasted sesame seeds or salted peanuts
Put all of the dressing ingredients, including the chopped stems of cilantro but not the leaves, into the bowl of a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.
Meanwhile, cook or soak the rice noodles according to the package directions; drain well and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the sesame oil.
Add the reserved cilantro leaves, carrots, cucumber, red pepper, bean sprouts and onions; drizzle generously with dressing and toss with tongs to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or chopped salted peanuts and serve. Serves lots.