Noodle salad with spinach and fresh peas with an Asian style peanut dressing

August 12, 2011

Noodles salad

I just can’t seem to get enough of Japanese style dressings these days especially with noodles. Almost every day I tweak and play around with my mix of rice wine vinegars, mirin, soy (or tamari), sugar, toasted sesame oil…. Often, but not always, there’s some grated ginger in there. Lime juice and coriander, though not Japanese,  make very regular appearances (so much so that recently I’ve been trying to hold back and  force myself to mix it up a bit more). Then there are  finely chopped peanuts, toasted sesame seeds and, recently, black sesame seeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds….  Endless variations and combinations and they all seem to taste so good.

If there’s nothing in the fridge or I’m on the run, I might just add some chopped scallions but usually I throw in lots of greens. Last week it was very finely shredded kale and broccoli florets while this week I’ve got spinach in from Marc Michel so that was the starting point today at lunchtime. Garden peas in from Denis Healy’s farm went in next along with some scallions I had lurking at the back of the fridge. Soba noodles took 4 minutes to cook then I rinsed them with lots of cold water to get rid of any stickiness, drained and tossed them in a little oil to avoid any clumping.

The dressing was a mix of equal parts tamari, brown (a recent discovery – so much mellower than white) rice wine vinegar and toasted sesame oil, a little mirin (this is a Japanese rice wine and you’ll get it in the Asian market or your local health food shop), brown sugar, some finely grated ginger and a very generous handful of chopped peanuts. I  had meant to use an avocado but I forgot all about it when I was putting the dish together. I thought I’d serve the salad with lime wedges but didn’t have any. All this didn’t matter at all. The dressing is light and refreshing as it is and there’s lots going on in the salad without the avocado. If you want to turn this into a proper dinner dish just add some pan-fried tofu or maybe a handful of prawns tossed with chilli and a little garlic. However you do it, this salad always seems to hit the spot.

Noodle salad with spinach and fresh peas with an Asian peanut dressing

You’ll need:

200gr Soba (or whichever kind you prefer) noodles

100gr (about 2/3 of what’s in this week’s bag) spinach, washed and shredded

250gr peas, podded

1 bunch scallions, chopped (you can leave out the really dark green tougher ends)

A large handful salted peanuts chopped

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons mirin

2 teaspoons finely grated ginger

1 tablespoon brown sugar

A very small amount (about 2 cm long) of fresh red chilli finely chopped

Combine all the dressing ingredients, mix well then set aside. Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling water as per the instructions on the packet. Rinse in lots of cold water then drain and toss with a drizzle of light olive oil. Combine the noodles with the scallions, spinach, peas and peanuts. Using your hands mix everything together well. Add the dressing and mix again then serve topped with a few chopped peanuts.

This salad keeps well for a day or two in the fridge and is brilliant for lunch boxes.

This week’s peas are also brilliant for superfast pasta dishes.Try them with feta and chilli oil. Your spinach is good for so many dishes cooked and uncooked. Given the changeable weather we’ve been having a  gratin with chickpeas and creme fraiche topped with crispy Parmesan breadcrumbs might be just the thing…..

Have a great weekend,



4 Responses to “Noodle salad with spinach and fresh peas with an Asian style peanut dressing”

  1. This looks delicious, and sounds very simple. Thanks for posting!

  2. morning Says:

    kind of my style,
    well done.

    keep life cooking, you rock.

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