This Asian-inspired tornado of pasta and fresh vegetables is a great alternative for people who would gladly eat a salad if it weren’t for all that lettuce.

You’ve got a base of whole wheat spaghetti (or soba noodles) tossed with sesame oil, which gives you a much lighter sesame taste than adding the oil to the dressing. These noodles are tossed with a homemade peanut-ginger dressing, chives and citrus zest, so they are not lacking in flavor, but then it’s time to go crazy with the vegetables. This time around, I added cucumbers, scallions, arugula and carrot, but you could toss in some snow peas, sugar snaps, red and yellow bell peppers and a mix of baby greens.

For even more crunch, you could top the salad with toasted sesame seeds or chopped peanuts and then shout “BrrrrrZAP!” and get your own show on the Food Network.

You can store the finished salad (minus the baby greens) in the refrigerator for up to four hours before serving, so it’s a great choice for entertaining (or just having dinner done early). And if you’re hosting a not-so-meatless group or husband, you could always add some sliced grilled chicken. Just don’t let anyone catch you drinking shot glasses of the peanut-ginger dressing.

Sweet goodness, it’s good.

 

Sesame Noodles with Baby Greens and Peanut-Ginger Dressing

Adapted from Sara Foster’s “The Foster’s Market Cookbook”

Feel free to add snow peas, sugar snap peas, julienned yellow bell peppers, sprouts, julienned carrots, toasted sesame seeds or chopped peanuts. When choosing the mixed baby greens, you could go with a packaged mix or any of the following: arugula, kale, red mustard, dandelion, spinach or Napa cabbage.

Serves 6-8

  • 8 ounces soba noodles or whole wheat linguine or spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 cup Peanut-Ginger Dressing (recipe follows)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or parsley
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • Grated zest of 1 lime
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped or sliced into half-rounds
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and julienned
  • 4 ounces (about 5 cups, loosely packed) mixed baby greens
  • Garnishes: chives, parsley, julienned red bell peppers
  1. Prepare the soba noodles or whole wheat pasta as directed on the package. Drain, rinse with cold water, toss with sesame oil in a colander, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the noodles, dressing, chives, orange zest and lime zest. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the cucumbers, scallions and greens, and toss gently. Garnish with chives and red bell peppers, if desired.

STORAGE: The finished salad can sit up to 4 hours in the refrigerator before serving. Add the greens just before serving.


Peanut-Ginger Dressing

Makes 1 3/4 cups

The salad only calls for 1 cup of dressing, so if you scale back the salad, be sure to scale back that 1 cup of dressing instead of the full amount in this recipe.

  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, at room temperature
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons peeled, grated fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup canola or safflower oil

In a medium bowl, whisk together everything but the oil. Slowly add the oil, and whisk until all the oil is incorporated. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 6 days.