Asian Noodle Salad with Avocado
This salad is full of different textures and bright flavors, and the avocado adds a silky richness that caps it all off beautifully. It’s perfectly portable if you’re looking for something to bring to a party, or to pack for lunch. Add some grilled chicken, shrimp or tofu to make a more substantial meal.
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup canola or other mildly flavored vegetable oil
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
1/2 - 1 teaspoon chili sauce or paste
1/2 cucumber, seeds removed and julienned
1/2 red pepper, julienned
1 large carrot, shaved into strips with a vegetable peeler
1/4 of a small head of cabbage (red looks nice, but any kind is fine), cut into thin strips
8 ounces dry soba noodles
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/3 cup chopped peanuts
2 small or 1 large avocado
Per main course serving: 647 calories, 38.7 g fat, (4.5 g saturated fat, 22 g monounsaturated fat, 12.1 g polyunsaturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 64.9 g carbohydrate, 13.7 g protein, 5.6 g fiber.
In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake the dressing ingredients to combine. Place the cucumber, pepper, carrot and cabbage into a medium bowl and pour about two thirds of the dressing overtop, tossing to coat the vegetables. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, tossing the vegetables with the dressing from time to time.
Cook the noodles according to package directions just until they’re al denté (be aware that soba can cook in as little as 2 minutes). Drain well, then pat with a paper towel to remove excess water. Transfer to a medium bowl (or back into the dry cooking pot) and drizzle with the soy sauce. Chill in the fridge, tossing once or twice until all the soy sauce has been absorbed by the noodles and the noodles are cold (the vegetables and noodles can be prepared a few hours ahead if you wish).
Plate the salad on either 1 large platter or in 4 individual wide shallow bowls:
Spread the noodles out in the bowls a little to one side, then add the marinated vegetables to the other side, overlapping with the noodles (discard the extra liquid from the vegetables). Top with the cilantro, basil and peanuts. Halve, pit and scoop out the avocado, then cut the flesh into slices and arrange overtop. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, and serve immediately.
Serves 4 as a main, or more as a side dish.