Wakame-Rice Noodle & Toasted Nori Salad with Peanut-Lime Dressing
How was your weekend, friends? Eli and I hit Kensington Mkt, visiting all my favourite health food stores and scooping ingredients for a gorgeous standby: rice noodle salad with toasted nori and seeds, sautéed kale, avo and crisp vegies, slathered in peanut-lime and ginger dressing. My main go-to, Essence of Life Organics, carries trays of living sunflower sprouts for a fraction of the bagged counterparts. I keep these little beauties growing in my kitchen window and snip as needed for salads like this one.
For so many of us, weekends are the time when we can toss together a meal without keeping too close an eye on the clock. And having older children provides even more wiggle room—late dinner is a legitimate thing! Salads that boast hearty ingredients like noodles or grains have mealtime shortcuts in your favour. Heap everything in a single bowl, add dressing, get your hands in there and gently coat and toss, and presto—a perfect chilled summer meal.
When Zoë was small, I made this salad with soba noodles, sometimes serving it warm with a spicy peanut-tahini dressing. These days I opt for gluten-free noodles, since sobas contain wheat as well as buckwheat. I recently discovered the King Soba brand. With varieties like organic sweet potato and buckwheat or pumpkin, ginger and rice noodles, there’s no looking back. This time I used their brown rice and wakame noodles. Unlike a lot of gluten-free noodles—and I’ve tried plenty!—these have a beautiful, delicate flavour. But just as importantly, their structure holds together—no mush, or worse, deterioration of the sort that often happens with noodles containing corn. Pair this with a piece of baked or grilled salmon, as I recently did, and you can blast the yum factor out of the room.
Update: Recipe below!
Wakame-Rice Noodle Salad with Peanut-Lime Dressing | Serves 6
Prep: Peanut-Lime Dressing
This dressing is a modification of one I created several years ago for a soba noodle salad that still sells at a Farmer’s Market.
1 Tablespoon ginger root, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp Sambal Oelek (such as this one)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter
zest of 2 limes
juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup low-sodium Tamari
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup canola oil
Blend all ingredients until smooth using either a food processor or immersion blender. I find my Magic Bullet works beautifully for this quantity. Taste and adjust to preference.
Prep: Salad Ingredients
1/2 cup julienned carrot
3/4 cup sliced cucumber
1/2 avocado, sliced
6 leaves kale, washed, chopped and lightly sautéed
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced (I use 1/2 red and 1/2 yellow or orange for colour)
3/4 cup snow peas OR 1/2 cup fresh peas, blanched then plunged into cold water
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/2 cup roasted nori (optional)
Garnish: sunflower sprouts OR cilantro and thinly sliced scallions
Cook: 1 pkg (or 8 oz) noodles in salted water until just tender, about 7-8 mins, according to package directions. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Allow noodles to remain in collander, shaking occasionally to drain well.
Toss: Add noodles to a large bowl and toss with 1/2 cup dressing, coating well. Add veggies, seeds, nori and remaining dressing, combing well.
Garnish: Your choice of sprouts, cilantro or scallions.
Enjoy! This salad keeps well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.