I made this Peanut Butter Sesame Asian Noodle Salad to take to a party last week, and all I can say is it was a complete success. I’ve been told that it tasted like paradise!
I’ve to admit that I pretty much agreed with these allegations! While I do have a soft spot for everything Asian, I found this salad to be particularly tasty and pleasing to the taste buds.
For starters, I love the fact that it’s made with long noodles, and the addition of so many raw veggies turns it into a crazy texture extravaganza: it’s soft, chewy, crunchy and creamy all at once. As for the flavors, well, can you ever go wrong with peanut butter, toasted sesame, ginger and garlic? I don’t think so. This is a failsafe, winning flavor combo!
This salad will no doubt become a regular for me. It’s perfect as a side dish, but you could super easily turn it into a main by simply adding a protein to it. Cooked shrimp, leftover cooked chicken, hard boiled eggs, even leftover pork I think would work super well!
And it’s the kind of salad that allows you to make all kinds of changes to adapt it to your mood of the moment, or content of your fridge! For instance, I used Yet Ca Mein, one of my favorite kinds of Asian noodles, but you could just as well use regular spaghetti or vermicelli, or any other noodle you prefer.
Likewise, you could sub whatever veggies you like best: try broccoli, cucumbers, sliced mushrooms, daikon radish, snow peas… let your imagination go wild.
As for the cashews, you could very well replace them with peanuts, or almonds…
Another thing that I really love about this salad is how easy it is to make. And how you can (and even should) make it ahead of time, too!
Start by making the sauce by combining some peanut butter and sesame oil in a small bowl or measuring cup; Stir vigorously with a whisk until they are well combined, then add the rest of the ingredients and resume whisking to fully incorporate them. It’s best that you don’t add all the ingredients at once and then try to mix them, because if you did that, it would be much harder to get the oil and peanut butter to bind together…
Once the sauce is out of the way, combine the bean sprouts, julienned carrots, bell pepper and sugar snap peas, green onions, cashews and sesame seed in a large mixing bowl. Set all that aside.
Now cook your noodles in plenty of salted boiling water until they are cooked to your liking. Then, as soon as the noodles are cooked, fish them out of the water with a large fork or a pair of kitchen tongs and drop them directly into the bowl containing the reserved veggies.
The heat from the noodles will help soften the veggies while the little bit of excess starchy water still dripping from the noodles will mix in with the sauce and create the perfect consistency.
Speaking of sauce, now’s the time to add it to the salad: simply pour it all over those hot noodles…
… and then toss the whole thing very delicately, until all the ingredients are well combined.
Technically, you could serve this salad right away if you wanted to, but ideally, you’ll want to cover it and let it sit in the fridge until the next day, or even up to a few days; this will allow all those gorgeous flavors to meld and will also give the veggies more time to soften.
For a totally optimal experience, take the salad out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving. Leftovers, if any, will keep for up to a week.
- 200g (7oz) dry Yet Ca Mein Noodles (or other noodle of your choice)
- 200g (7oz) bean sprouts
- 1 medium carrot, finely julienned
- ½ red bell pepper, finely julienned
- 2 dozen sugar snap peas, finely julienned
- 3 green onions, cut diagonally into ½" chunks
- ¼ cup (50g | 1.8oz) dry roasted cashews
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- Combine the peanut butter and sesame oil in a small bowl or measuring cup and stir vigorously with a whisk until well combined; add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce and resume whisking to fully incorporate them; set aside.
- Combine the bean sprouts, julienned carrots, bell pepper and snap peas, green onions, cashews and sesame seed in a large mixing bowl; set aside.
- Cook the noodles in plenty of salted boiling water until cooked to your liking. As soon as the noodles are cooked, fish them out of the water with a large fork or kitchen tongs and drop them directly in the bowl with the reserved veggies. The heat from the noodles will help wilt the veggies and the starchy water will mix in with the sauce to create the perfect consistency.
- Once all the noodles have been added, pour the sauce over them and then delicately toss the salad until well combined.
- Technically, you could serve this salad right away, but ideally, you want to cover it and let it sit in the fridge until the next day, or up to a few days; this will allow for the flavors to meld and the veggies to soften.
- Take the salad out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving. Leftovers will keep for up to a week.