Rice Noodle Salad
This noodle salad is probably the quickest, easiest and the healthiest recipe you can make from the Asian cuisine. Its loaded with fresh flavors and can be put together in a jiffy. A perfect recipe for a quick lunch. Its a cold salad so its great for the summer months. Its vegan and gluten free as well…..a little something for everyone.
You need rice vermicelli to make this salad. The delicate flavor of thin rice noodles compliment the freshness from the herbs and crunch from the veggies. There are a few ways of cooking the rice noodles…I prefer boiling it like pasta for a couple of minutes till they turn tender. Although, since these noodle are so delicate, I never move away from the pot while cooking them as if neglect you can land up overcooking them very easily. Another tip is to run the noodle through tap water as soon as your remove them from hot water. This stops them from cooking further and sticking to each other. In my opinion you should not cook the rice noodle till you are ready to throw them in whatever dressing, broth or sauce that you are making them with. Cooked noodles lose their texture pretty easily so cook them as the last thing.
I topped my salad with grilled tofu to make it more hearty. This is totally optional but it does add quite a lot to the salad by making it more flavorful and wholesome. Marinade the tofu in some salad dressing and cook it on a non stick pan till it caramelizes on all sides. Slice and place it on the top of the salad. You can make this recipe a little spicy if you can handle the heat. All in all this salad is a winner!
Serving 2 medium bowls
Cooking time 20 minutes
rice vermicelli, enough for two people
1/2 cucumber, cut into thin sticks
1/2 carrot, cut into thin sticks
1/4 yellow or red bell pepper, cut into thin sticks
some iceburg lettuce, shredded
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, crushed
Red chili, sliced diagonally into thin slices
1/2 a block of firm tofu
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 tsp sesame seed oil
a handful of cilantro, basil and mint – roughly chopped
To make the dressing – Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to mix roughly. Reserve little bit of chopped herbs to sprinkle on the top. Make a little extra dressing if using tofu in the salad.
To make the Salad
- Marinade tofu in 2 tablespoons of salad dressing for about 15 minutes. Add a little oil on a non stick pan and cook the tofu on medium heat till it caramelizes on all the sides. Once cooked, remove from the pan and let it rest for 5 minutes. Cut it into 1/4 inch thick slices.
- Boil vermicelli on hot water and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Strain in the colander and run through cold/tap water for a few seconds moving it around with your fingers.
- In a large bowl add all the salad ingredients along with the vermicelli.
- Drizzle the salad dressing and mix with your hands.
- Place the salad in a serving bowl and top with tofu slices. Garnish with fresh herbs and more peanuts.