Vibrant flavors run rampant in this light, refreshing salad. Rice noodles are bathed in a zesty Vietnamese-style dressing made with lime juice, fish sauce and spicy crushed red pepper. Cucumber and carrots add texture to the dish while cilantro and mint or basil provide cool, fresh flavors. A garnish of chopped peanuts adds an exciting crunch! You can find rice noodles in any Asian market and many quality grocery stores. I usually use the rice noodles that are used in Pad Thai (sometimes referred to as "rice sticks") but you can also use the thinner rice vermicelli. The method is the same for both. Since they only take a minute to cook, this salad is ideal for anytime it is too hot to cook. Next time you feel like entertaining, put this dish on the menu and make it an Asian barbeque!
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for the dressing...
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 scallions, finely chopped

for the salad...
16 ounces rice stick noodles
2 carrots, finely julienned
1 cucumber, seeded and finely julienned
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup mint or basil, chopped
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped

Cooking Instructions

To a small bowl, add the fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, sugar, pepper flakes, garlic and scallions. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and then set aside.

Soak the noodles in hot water to cover for 15 minutes. Drain. Bring a large (4-quart) pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles in the boiling water, uncovered, until just tender (about 1 minute.) Drain and rinse under cold water to prevent further cooking. Drain thoroughly, shaking the noodles in the colander to remove all excess water. Transfer to a large bowl and combine with the carrots, cucumber and herbs. Drizzle the dressing over the noodles and toss well. Garnish with the chopped peanuts.

Makes 6 servings



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elliemay's blog

Be sure to remove as much water from the noodles as possible before combining them with the dressing. Excess water will dilute the flavors of the dressing making it less tasty.

Unlike many salad recipes, this one is best made right before serving. When the salad sits for too long, the noodles absorb all of the dressing and become a bit sticky. Make up to one hour ahead but no more than that.

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