A Cool Salad for a Hot Summer’s Day – Sesame Chicken Cucumber Noodle Salad

When I was working in Nashville, Tennessee, one of my favorite places for lunch was a small bistro directly across the street from the Main Library.  They had scrumptious pastries for the morning and satisfying salads for lunch.  My choice was their cold peanut noodle salad with fresh vegetables.  I had not thought about that salad for quite some time until I ran across this recipe from the Eating Well Test Kitchen.  Loaded with strips of chicken, red peppers, cucumbers and green onions, the pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti) is bathed in a sauce of creamy peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil and soy sauce.  I followed the recipe (see below) but feel it’s a bit too much rice wine vinegar.  I am not a fan of Cilantro so that was not added to my dish.  I used whole wheat pasta, low sodium soy sauce, and Smart Balance peanut butter for a healthier version. For purposes of my photo, I did not add the romaine but I will when this dish is served.  Try making this dish with less rice wine vinegar and then add more if needed.  You may also need to add a touch of sweetener; just taste the dish and make any necessary adjustments. I added a small amount of Splenda.

Many thanks to Eating Well Test Kitchen for this delicious recipe, click here:

Sesame Chicken Cucumber Noodle Salad

I mean, who doesn’t like peanut butter for lunch!!  Give this salad a try for your next get together or as a treat just for yourself.  Go ahead, you deserve a treat.  See ya in the kitchen ~ Barbara

 

 

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It’s Almost Summer … Bring On The Salads!

With summer almost upon us, it’s time to start thinking of cool, fresh salads.  When I was living in Nashville, Tennessee, a favorite place for lunch served these cold sesame noodles, loaded with fresh vegetables.  It was always a highlight of the summer to grab a bowl and sit in the beautiful courtyard of the Nashville Public Library.

While browsing some magazines, I came across this recipe for Cold Sesame Noodles with Extra Veggies and decided to see if it mirrored the noodles I remember.  Yes, it did, and I was thrilled, but I did make a few changes along the way.

To make the recipe healthier, I omitted the salt in the water for cooking the noodles.  I also used Smart Balance Peanut Butter, low sodium soy sauce and less sesame oil.  The original recipe did not call for zucchini.  Zucchini is a staple in our refrigerator so I added two to the mixture.  Our spiral slicer did not cooperate so I used the food processor and shredded the carrots, zucchini and the cucumbers.  Feel free to make any changes to the recipe to suit your healthy diet.  The recipe states it makes four servings, however I stretched it to six servings and served it over shredded lettuce.  Full of veggies and taste, this will be a repeat for our summer menu.  Enjoy!

Cold Sesame Noodles Loaded with Veggies
Serves 4

1 teaspoon coarse salt
8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
1 cup edible pea pods (or sugar snap peas), trimmed
5 tablespoons smooth (or chunky) peanut butter (no sugar added)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 large carrots, peeled and cut with a spiral slicer into “noodles” (or shredded or cut into matchsticks)
2 medium zucchini, cut with a spiral slicer into “noodles” (or shredded or cut into matchsticks)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and shredded (or cut into matchsticks)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Directions
Bring a large pot of water with 1 teaspoon coarse salt to a boil. Boil pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente; during last 2 minutes add pea pods, and cook until crisp-tender. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup liquid. Rinse pasta and peas under cold water to cool.

Whisk peanut butter with reserved cooking liquid, vinegar, soy sauce, and oil in a large bowl. Add pasta, peas, carrots, zucchini and cucumber and toss to combine. Top with sesame seeds.

NOTE: For a healthier version, omit the salt, use Smart Balance Peanut Butter and low-sodium soy sauce.