This dressing. I have no words. I am totally obsessed with it. Creamy, peanutty, hint of sesame, tang of lime and the mild hit of chilli. I would die a happy girl if I drowned in this dressing. This is such a fantastic make-ahead lunch because it keeps perfectly for 2 to 3 days even with the dressing already tossed through.
This salad is a breeze to put together, especially if you use fresh noodles as I have done. Sure there is some chopping involved, but nothing to complain about. The most effort is mixing the dressing to incorporate the peanut butter with the other ingredients (which really takes all of 30 seconds – it’s just a little more effort than the usual jar shake). Once you have the ingredients on the bench and you’re ready to start, this should come together in just over 10 minutes (assuming you have reasonable knife skills – and trust me, I’m no Iron Chef!).
Another unique thing about this salad – other than the awesome dressing (have I stressed that enough??!) – is that you can store it even with the dressing tossed through it for 2 to 3 days and it won’t become limp and soggy like most salads. This is because the dressing is so thick and gloopy (is that a word?) – the noodles don’t absorb much liquid and become gluggy, and the vegetables aren’t sitting and “pickling” in a vinegar like they do in traditional dressings. Also this recipe uses vegetables that hold up better – this wouldn’t keep well if I had lettuce in it, as an example.
I use water to loosen up the dressing to make it a consistency suitable for tossing through the salad. But if you don’t add the water, it is a perfect dipping sauce – and trust me, I will be posting a recipe using this recipe as a dipping sauce in the very near future!
- ¼ cup peanut butter (preferably smooth)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp canola oil (or vegetable, grapeseed or peanut oil)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 to 4 tbsp water
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 12 oz / 350 g fresh egg noodles (about 4 cups, packed)
- 1 cup carrot, julienned (1 large or 2 small carrots)
- 2 cups beansprouts
- 1½ cups green beans, halved
- 1 cup red bell pepper/capsicum, finely sliced (1 large)
- 2 scallion / shallot stems, finely sliced
- 1 tbsp white sesame seeds (preferably toasted)
- Prepare noodles according to packet directions (most just require soaking in hot water). Drain, rinse and set aside.
- Combine all the dressing ingredients and half the water. It will be very thick because of the peanut butter - keep stirring to combine well. Use more water to adjust the consistency to the consistency of honey. If it's too thick, it will be hard to toss through the salad.
- Rinse the green beans, shake off excess water (but do not dry), wrap in cling wrap and microwave for 1 minute. The beans should be cooked but still crisp - soggy limp beans are not pleasant. Unwrap immediately otherwise it will keep cooking. Be careful when you are unwrapping it, it will be hot. (Alternatively you just blanch or steam the beans).
- Combine the salad ingredients.
- Toss through dressing. Garnish with extra sesame seeds.
2. Easily make this vegan by using any other noodles without egg.
3. Adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe.