Last week I got a craving for Asian noodle salad but didn’t want to take a trip down to Sacramento, so I decided to give it a try at home. I already had some wonderful Hakubuku salt free udon noodles on hand. Most Asian noodles are packed with sodium, so I was pretty excited last year when I found Hakubuku No-Salt-Added udon noodles at World Market . A few weeks ago I was doubly excited when I found both the udon and somen Hakubuku no-salt-added noodles at a local specialty market.
I went shopping and bought some bean sprouts, a red bell pepper, and cilantro for the salad. I used two of the La Bou clone recipes that appeared in the newspaper as inspirations. The first thing I did was to prepare the dressing. When making salads, I’ve found that tossing the hot pasta or potatoes with a simple vinaigrette helps add flavor that’s missing because of boiling in unsalted water.
Asian Noodle Salad
This is a great tasting salad, full of flavor and crunch. Feel free use whatever vegetables you want. It makes a delicious side dish or a wonderful vegetarian meal all by itself. Or you could add grilled chicken or shrimp.6-8 oz. udon no-salt-added noodles (substitute vermicelli or spaghettini)
¼ – ⅓ cup coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts, salt free
¼ – ⅓ cup mung bean sprouts, rinsed and drained well (I use my salad spinner)
¼ – ⅓ cup broccoli florets, blanched for 2-3 minutes and drained well (I use my salad spinner)
½ red bell pepper, julienned
2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup cilantro leaves, rinsed and drained well (I use my salad spinner)
2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce (I use Chinatown brand)
2 tbsp. rice vinegar, unseasoned
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ginger – powder, paste, or fresh (adjust to suit your taste)
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
⅛ – ¼ tsp. hot chili oil or chili flakes (adjust to suit your taste)
Combine dressing ingredients, blending well with a whisk. Set aside.
Cook noodles following package directions. Drain well, and toss while still warm with half of the dressing. Refrigerate the noodles until cooled, stirring and separating every 15 - 20 minutes.
A few minutes before serving toss the chilled noodles with the bean sprouts, red pepper, broccoli, and green onions. Add all or part of the remaining dressing. Arrange noodles on a bed of leaf lettuce, if desired. Sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro. Serve immediately.