Summer Sides: Spicy Asian Sesame Noodle Salad

A big hug and kiss go out to M'me Williams (aka Meggy Moo) and Liza Jane for this lovely little recipe. This Asian noodle salad is great as a side dish, and if you're potlucking your host is likely to a.) be mad you showed him/her up and/or b.) be grateful that you didn't bring over the 100th bag of ruffle potato chips because they told people to "bring whatever." It's also great as a tasty, healthier lunch entree. Some days, I might even take it over a plateful of cheesecake for dessert, it's that good.

I use the Epicurious recipe, available here, and add whatever veggies strike my fancy in color and flavor, so it's always exactly what I'm in the mood for. In this iteration, I used the sweeter, less acidic yellow bell peppers, and some thinly sliced purple cabbage and carrots. One word of advice--hold out till you can find the sesame oil (typically in the Asian section of your grocery store, and ALWAYS sold out at the Harris Teeter near us). It's absolutely the best part. And if you're not already cooking dishes with fresh ginger (Mom and Dad) I suggest that you get in the habit...ginger can be spicy, floral, and citrus-y all at once and is great in all sorts of marinades and sauces. Pick up some for this Asian Noodle Salad and see what I mean...

Spicy Sesame Noodle Salad:

1 Tbs. peanut oil
2 Tbs. minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbs. Asian sesame oil
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. (or more) hot chili oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 pound prepared linguine pasta
12 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
1/4 cup sliced Thai basil leaves
Sliced vegetables of your choice (I used carrots sliced lengthwise, thin-sliced purple cabbage, and yellow bell pepper rings)
Toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Heat peanut oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Transfer to large bowl. Add next 6 ingredients; whisk to blend.

Drain noodles thoroughly and transfer to bowl with sauce. Add sliced green onions and toss to coat noodles. Let stand at room temperature until noodles have absorbed dressing, tossing occasionally, about 1 hour. Stir in peanuts, sesame seeds, and Thai basil; toss again. Add vegetables of your choice, selecting for taste, color, and texture for best results. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Tips and Tricks:

If you don't have hot chili oil, add one more Tbs. of sesame oil to the sauce and add crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Two words---Double


  1. I don't think I've ever had chili oil, even though it's now sold in most grocery stores (I'm too cheap to buy something I'll use for one dish). I just use about a TBSP of Sriracha to get the kick.

    Oh, and Meggy Moo (tee hee) once served it to me with shrimp on top. Sooo good.

  2. now THIS sounds interesting... what a combo of flavors! soy sauce, sesame oil, and balsamic vinegar?? crazy... crazy good! sounds like a refreshing summer side dish. and definitely customizable -- different veggies, maybe even soba noodles! yum.

  3. I'm just never going to live down the "Meggy Moo" name, am I? Oy. But thanks for the shout out.

    And I've definitely served it with shrimp (sauteed with a little of the sesame oil and salt and pepper) or chicken from one of those handy pre-roasted chickens for a quick weeknight dinner.

  4. I made this for lunch and it was really good! Thanks for the recipe!