August in NYC is crazy hot and humid. For the uninitiated, it’s the type of heat that hits you in the face as soon as you step outside, stifles your breathing, and makes you sweat immediately. Case in point: having some cold dinner recipes in your proverbial recipe box is key for survival.
This cold peanut noodle salad (along with these summer rolls) is one of our go-to’s right now. It’s got slippery brown rice noodles, refreshing cucumbers and crunchy peppers, protein-rich edamame, creamy peanut dressing, and funky kimchi. It’s a light yet satisfying one-pot meal perfect for this time of year.
Noodles (and pasta) often get a bad rap. Popular phrases like “committing carbicide” or “cheat-day food” tell us there’s a fair amount of guilt associated with eating these foods, and that makes me sad.
Eating carbs (or any food/nutrient, for that matter) doesn’t make you a bad person. And unless you have a specific health condition that’s aggravated by certain foods (like Celiac disease), eating a bowl of noodles every now and again is nothing to feel guilty about. In fact, noodles are to be celebrated, because they are magic.
With that said, not all noodles are created equal. Seeking out whole food-based varieties (like fiber- and protein-rich brown rice or quinoa noodles), loading up your meals with vegetables, and opting for nutritious sauces (like this peanut one) means that noodle dishes can be downright virtuous.
This cold peanut noodle salad is what I like to call a “template recipe”. The key elements are noodles and peanut sauce, while the rest is pretty open to interpretation.
The cucumbers and bell peppers at the farmers market are incredible right now, so that’s what I use. Feel free to substitute with other fresh crunchy veg, though, like carrots, radishes, cabbage, or bok choy. You can also sub in half of the noodles for raw zucchini “zoodles” (or “courgetti” for my friends across the pond).
If you don’t have brown rice noodles, this salad will work equally well with ramen, lo mein, or udon noodles – or even fettuccine, in a pinch.
Be sure to thoroughly rinse the noodles under cold running water before mixing them with the peanut sauce. Rinsing is important here because it washes off excess starch and keeps the noodles from sticking together.
Check out these other salads…
- Panzanella Salad with Tomatoes, Avocado and White Beans
- Warm Farro Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Parsley Pesto
- Summer Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Artichokes and Arugula
Cold peanut noodle salad is a light yet satisfying one-pot meal for hot summer days. Feel free to sub in whatever fresh veg you have on-hand, like carrots, radishes, cabbage, or bok choy.
- 8 ounces brown rice noodles
- 3/4 cup frozen shelled edamame
- 1/2 cup well-stirred natural peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed or grated
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- 2 small cucumbers, partially peeled, cut into matchsticks
- 1 bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup kimchi, roughly chopped
- Sliced scallions, for serving
- Sesame seeds, for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the noodles and cook them according to package directions. Toss in the edamame during the last minute of cooking.
- Drain the noodles and rinse well under cold running water.
- While the noodles are cooking, make the sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic until completely smooth. Then add the water and whisk vigorously until combined.
- Combine the noodles and edamame with the peanut sauce, cucumbers, and peppers. Mix the noodles with tongs until they’re evenly coated in the sauce.
- Transfer to a serving platter, top with the kimchi, scallions, and sesame seeds, and serve.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 480
Keywords: peanut salad, noodles, vegan, cucumber, sesame