Noodle salad, two ways

It seems that every summer I come up with a salad that I am somewhat obsessed with.  Last year it was kale and quinoa.  This year it has been a very simple cold Chinese noodles.  The basic version of this could not be any simpler - but start adding more goodies to it and it goes from being just really good, to something amazing.  It's not just a salad actually, the noodles are really good warm as well.  And best of all - my kids love these noodles, and as long as I don't push it too far, I can put some veggies in and they will eat it.  We have had this a lot this summer, it's a super easy one to pack up and take to the pool.

Sesame noodles - the basic version:

  • noodles. The one pictured is with Chinese egg noodles, and that is what I prefer to use when I have them, but really this works with anything.  I have used soba and udon, or even just spaghetti. 
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce
  • a little bit of grated veggies - squash or carrot or cucumber

I don't have quantities here because I have never measured.  I really just add stuff until I like the way it tastes.  Cook the noodles.  I like to start with them a little firm (5 minutes for the Chinese egg noodles), because they will absorb moisture as the veggies lose their liquid.  Toss with sesame oil while hot so they don't stick.  Add soy sauce to taste.  And mix in your veggies.  When using zucchini I like to toss it in while the noodles are still hot, so they cook a little.  But other veggies I wait until it has cooled.  Serve warm as a meal or side dish, or let it cool and serve as a salad.  A little splash of rice vinegar is also great in the cold salad.

Now here's where it gets fun - you can add whatever you want to this, to make it a really complete meal salad.  In the version picture here, I added:
  • Sliced cucumbers that had been marinated for a couple days in rice vinegar, soy sauce and furikake
  • Red cabbage
  • Purple carrots
  • Edamame
  • Kale
  • diced leftover grilled teriyaki chicken (I made the teriyaki sauce and will share that recipe later)

We packed this up and took it to the park for a picnic dinner - eaten out of plastic cups with plastic forks, and a thermos full of crisp white wine - it was the perfect summer dinner.