A few weeks ago, while I was making a list of potential upcoming summer recipes, I asked Jack, “Hey, what’s a recipe you really want me to make?” In the past, answers to questions like that have been “Pretzels!” or “Pizza!” but this time it was “An Asian noodle salad.” I asked if he could be more specific, but he said, “I just really really love noodles – you know, when they’re tossed in an Asian-y kind of dressing.” Not a huge help, but at least it was something.
So on a Monday when I felt I could use a little reset after weekend-eating, his idea (with a ginger-y sauce) sounded pretty good. This recipe is not an authentic version of anything, but when I got around to making said “Asian noodle salad,” this was what I happened to have: a bunch of cucumbers, a ripe mango, a few limes, a jalapeño, and a bunch of mint. At first, I wanted to add peppers, cabbage, and everything colorful, but then I realized that I could make something delicious without tossing in the kitchen sink.
The tangy miso-peanut sauce is the real star – it’s also become a go-to recipe lately because its ingredients are so easy to keep on hand. Miso paste lasts about 1 year in the fridge, and I store my fresh ginger in the freezer. Peanut butter, garlic, and limes are all regulars around here.
The second time I made this recipe, I served it to my family and added tofu on top to make it a bigger meal – the tofu is not pictured here, but I’ve included a recipe below. This recipe serves 3 on its own or 4 if you add the tofu (or whatever protein you like – chicken, shrimp, salmon, etc).
If you don’t have vermicelli rice noodles, brown rice stir fry noodles (the flat, thicker noodles) work well here. Pasta would also be fine in a pinch.
- 6 ounces rice vermicelli noodles (or any noodle you like)
- 4 Persian cucumbers or 1 large English cucumber, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- 1 ripe mango, diced
- ½ jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced or minced
- 5 lime slices (1 for squeezing, 4 for serving)
- Extra-virgin olive oil or sesame oil, for drizzling
- ⅓ cup chopped cashews, toasted
- ¼ cup torn mint
- Sea salt
- Protein of choice, or (see baked tofu recipe below)
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 to 4 tablespoons warm water
- Make the peanut-miso sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, miso paste, ginger, garlic, and lime juice. Whisk in the warm water, as needed, until the sauce is a drizzable consistency. Set aside.
- Combine the cucumbers, scallions, mango, and jalapeño in a bowl with a few pinches of salt and a squeeze of lime. Toss and set aside.
- Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Toss with a bit of olive oil or sesame oil to keep the noodles from sticking together.
- Assemble bowls with the rice noodles, cucumber mixture, cashews, mint, generous drizzles of the peanut-miso sauce, and tofu, if using. Serve with lime slices and extra sauce on the side.
14 ounces extra-firm tofu
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
tamari, for drizzling
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
sriracha, for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Pat the tofu dry and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place on the baking sheet and toss with drizzles of olive oil, tamari and pinches of salt and pepper. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven, toss the tofu lightly with sriracha, and return it to the oven for 2 more minutes.