Friday, April 11, 2008

Deliciousness on a plate

My buddy Andrea posted a recipe a couple of weeks ago that she borrowed from the Pioneer Woman, who adapted it from Jamie Oliver. I figure that by this point there aren't too many truly original recipes out there, just a whole heck of a lot of adaptations of someone else's idea. Anyway, I of course couldn't leave well enough alone either, and made a couple of modifications myself last night when I made it for dinner. I'm posting it the way I made it rather than the "original" version. I neglected to take a picture of it so let me just describe it as an explosion of color and flavor. I'm so sick of all the stinkin' snow that I had to make something summery. My kids even ate several bites of it without complaint, which is remarkable considering how many different kinds of veggies there are in it. I love that it's so packed with nutrients. Enough rambling - here you go:

Asian Noodle Salad

1/2 package of either thin spaghetti or linguini, cooked, rinsed and cooled**
1/2 head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 head purple cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 bag baby spinach, lightly wilted**
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
generous handful of bean sprouts
3 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, peeled and julienned
1/2 a bunch of cilantro, coarsley chopped
1/2 can of salted whole cashews
3 chicken breasts, grilled and thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lime
8 T. olive oil
2 T. sesame oil
6 T. soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)
1/3 c. brown sugar
3 T. fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
generous dash of sriracha (Thai hot sauce)

I prefer Barilla brand "Plus" pasta. It's got a vastly improved nutritional profile over regular white pasta, but isn't quite as heavy as whole wheat. I used it last night with good results. I also lightly oiled the noodles immediately after draining and rinsing so that they wouldn't turn into a sticky glob while I got the rest of the stuff ready. I wilted the spinach by nuking it for 45 seconds in my Pampered Chef micro-cooker. You could just eat it raw too.

Get the biggest bowl in your kitchen and dump all the salad ingredients in. Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over all the salad ingredients. Using tongs or big salad forks mix mix mix away until everything is thoroughly coated. I think it'd be easier to mix if I had broken the noodles in half before I cooked them.

Either serve immediately or else refrigerate for an hour for further mixing of the flavors. Invite a couple of friends over, because this makes a LOT! The original recipe calls for a whole package of pasta and no chicken, but I prefer a higher ratio of "goodies" to noodles, and I felt like adding the chicken made it a more robust main dish salad.

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