An Asian twist on summer salads

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 16, 2012

By Katie Scarvey
When the weather gets warm, cool food hits the spot. And it doesn’t have to be the same old boring chicken salad, either. If you’d like to add something a little zingier to your summer repertoire, try this Spicy Asian Noodle and Chicken Salad.
My husband took this basic recipe and tweaked it to suit himself, which included using spinach linguine instead of regular linguine or udon noodles. I’m pretty sure he also upped the amount of chili garlic sauce because he’s sneaky like that and because I think he secretly likes to see me fanning my mouth with my hand while my eyes water.
That didn’t actually happen with this dish, which did not pack too much heat. It was quite satisfying, and with the colorful carrots, peppers and cilantro, it was pretty enough for me to ask if I could use it for the food page.
Spicy Asian Noodle and Chicken Salad
1/3 C. creamy peanut butter
1/4 C. soy sauce
2 Tbs. rice vinegar (unseasoned)
2 Tbs. chili garlic sauce
1 Tbs. golden brown sugar (packed)
1 Tbs. peeled fresh ginger (minced)
3 Tbs. low salt chicken broth
3/4pound linguine or dried chow main
udon noodles
4 C. cooked chicken (thinly sliced,
cut into strips)
2 carrots (coarsely grated about
11/4 C.)
6 green onions (chopped)
1 red bell pepper (cut into matchstick
size strips)
1/2 C. fresh cilantro leaves
Combine peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili-garlic sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and 3 tablespoons broth in processor; blend until smooth. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water to cool and drain again. Transfer pasta to large bowl. Add chicken, carrots, green onions, bell pepper, and cilantro; toss to blend. Pour dressing over and toss to coat, adding more broth by tablespoonfuls if dressing is too thick. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.
• • •
Here’s another spin on the Asian noodle salad — without chicken — from Guy Fieri, of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” fame. Extra sesame oil and hoisin sauce gives it a different flavor, and the peanuttiness comes from the garnish, not the sauce. I have not tried this recipe yet, but I love the variety of vegetables listed here and I am tempted by the toasted sesame seeds.
Dang Cold Asian Noodle Salad
1 package soba noodles
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
3 Tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. hot chili oil
1 Tbs. hoisin sauce
5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot, thinly sliced or julienned
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
or julienned
5 green onions, bottom 4 inches,
thinly sliced
1/2 C. thinly sliced napa cabbage
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
or julienned
1/2 C. julienned bok choy
1 C. bean sprouts, optional
3 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro leaves
3 Tbs. sesame seeds, toasted,
for garnish
4 Tbs. unsalted peanuts, for garnish
In a medium stock pot, boil water, add salt and cook noodles. When finished, place noodles in an ice water bath to cool. Drain and set aside.
In a medium bowl combine, sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, hot chili oil, hoisin and extra-virgin olive oil. Mix thoroughly and then combine prepared vegetables and noodles.
Garnish with sesame seeds and peanuts.
• • •
If you’d like the Asian-inspired flavors but without the chicken or the noodles, here’s a great slaw recipe from
A rainbow of colors means that this salad is full of good nutrition.
I made a slight goof in making this recipe and omitted the brown sugar from the dressing, but honestly, I didn’t miss it. I found the amount of the dressing to be in just the right proportion for the amount of vegetables. With other recipes of this sort, the salad part is sometimes swimming in too much oily dressing.
The green onions and cilantro really boost the flavor quotient of this slaw. I’ll definitely be making this recipe again.
Awesome Asian Slaw
For The Dressing
11/2 Tbs. minced garlic
2 Tbs. minced peeled
fresh ginger
3 Tbs. soy sauce
3 Tbs. packed brown sugar
5 Tbs. creamy peanut butter
6 Tbs. vegetable oil
6 Tbs. rice vinegar
For the Slaw
2 carrots, peeled, cut into
1 red bell pepper, seeded,
cut into matchsticks
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded,
cut into matchsticks
2 C. thinly sliced red cabbage
5 C. thinly sliced green
1/2 C. chopped cilantro
8 green onions,
cut into matchsticks
In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. This can be made ahead and refrigerated for several days.
Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature before tossing the slaw.
In a large bowl, combine the slaw ingredients.
Add dressing and toss to coat. Season and serve.