Maybe you’ve noticed more vegetables around these parts than before? As I click back through the last half dozen recipes, I see a lot of green. It doesn’t surprise me but maybe you’ve wondered where all the cheese and cake has gone? I haven’t eaten any meat or dairy for going on nine months now so there’s your answer.
Eating a plant-based diet has done absolute wonders for me but I’ve been hesitant to delve into the whys and hows here. Food choices are rarely simple. Health, personal beliefs, ethical principles, tastes, and upbringing all play a part. For this reason I’ve shied away from talking about my own food revolution and from labelling myself in any way, which I think oversimplifies a complex personal choice. There’s so much evangelising about food out there in internet land and I don’t have much interest in throwing my hat in that ring. I’d rather focus on sharing the dishes and foods I’m excited about, like this killer salad.
Having decided not to eat meat or dairy it would be easy to focus on what I am not eating and to feel all womp-womp about missed cheese burgers and the lack of steak. But I decided from the start that I would instead concentrate on all the goodness I am adding and how flipping awesome it’s making me feel. And really, it was not anywhere near as hard as I imagined. The health issues I was dealing with for years have disappeared as a result of eating this way. If anything, I’ve become more creative in the kitchen, and incase these pictures don’t shout OMG DELISH to you, let me tell you that it’s mega satisfying to eat food like this, full of crunchy green vegetables, fragrant herbs, chewy noodles, and zingy dressing.
I’ve made this salad several times now. It hits the spot when you’re hungry for something a bit more substantial than a raw salad but still want to see a rainbow of goodness on your plate. And like all good salads, the dressing really makes it. It has a moreish saltiness and zing that makes it hard not to wolf down the entire thing in one sitting. You have been warned.
Herby, Peanutty, Noodly Salad
adapted from River Cottage Veg
You might also use vermicelli rice noodles but I personally love the relative chunkiness of soba. Other crunchy green vegetables can replace the snow peas, and if you use Tamari and 100% buckwheat noodles then this dish is gluten-free as well as vegan.
- 75g (1/2 cup) raw unsalted peanuts
- 200g (7oz) buckwheat soba noodles
- 150g (5oz) snow peas
- 1/2 cucumber
- 6 green onions
- a small bunch mint, coarsely chopped
- a small bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), coarsely chopped
For the dressing:
- 2 tbsp brown rice vinegar
- Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon or 1 lime
- 1 small fresh red chile, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp soy sauce or Tamari, plus extra to serve
- Toast the peanuts in a dry pan until a little dark and fragrant. Remove and coarsely chop. Set aside.
- Cook noodles per package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again and set aside.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing. Combine all dressing ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Toss the cooked, cooled noodles with the dressing and leave to sit while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Add the snow peas to rapidly boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop them cooking longer. Drain again and then cut in half on the diagonal.
- Thinly slice the green onions on the diagonal. Slice the cucumber in half lengthways and then slice into half moons.
- Add the snow peas, cucumber, green onions, and chopped herbs to the bowl with the dressed noodles. Scatter the roasted peanuts on top.
- Serve with soy sauce or Tamari at the table for people to add to their bowls. An extra drizzle when serving really makes this salad sing. Enjoy!