There is a lot to be excited about this week. First, my kids come home from spending a few days in North Dakota with my Mom and Dad. This is the second summer that they have spent time away without Radd and me. It’s hard for me to be away from them, but to be honest, I think it’s important for kids to get to know their grandparents without parents (i.e. me) interfering all the time. They get to be properly spoiled and make their own memories and that’s wonderful. There is nothing quite like the love of a grandparent. I’m excited to see my little ones– I’ve missed them. But, my gosh! It’s amazing what I can accomplish with an entire day without distractions! There’s just so much…time to get things done.
The other super exciting event this week is that our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) starts delivery this week. And I am thrilled! It’s been a crazy June here in Minnesota– we’ve had record rainfalls and lots of flooding. In fact, the farm that our CSA, Bossy Acres, resides on received almost 7-inches already this month. Joining a CSA this year has had me feeling like a farm-girl all over again– stressing about the weather. It’s exhilarating and terrifying. At any rate– we’ll get our box of goodies on Thursday and I’m more that a little excited to create some meals with it.
Speaking of meals, today I’m sharing a quick one that you can put on your (hopefully outdoor) table in no time flat. I know, two noodle salads in two weeks?! I can’t help it– I’m addicted. This one is cold, refreshing, and basically tastes like a giant spring roll, without the fuss of that rice paper. I loaded it with cucumbers and radishes. I would have added grated carrots, but we were out. The cilantro and mint make the dish in my opinion, as do the peanuts–so load it up! Mint is one of my favorite summertime additions to cold salads. I’ve been fortunate enough to find delicious fresh bean sprouts at our farmers market and they are brilliant in this dish. What a refreshing crunch! The meal can be served without a meat, of course. If you want to make it a bit more filling– chicken, shrimp, and especially grilled pork work extremely well. The dressing is simple and subtle. It’s not at all “saucy”, in that it pretty much disappears into the noodles leaving you with its subtle influence. Feel free to make a tad more if you like a bolder flavor. I hope you are enjoying many outdoor meals this summer and that this dish finds it’s way onto your table. Enjoy!
The Recipe: Healthy Brown Rice Noodle Salad
For the Sauce:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 cucumber, thinly sliced (preferably with a mandolin)
5-6 radishes, thinly sliced (using a mandolin, as well)
2 red scallions, thinly sliced
large handful of fresh bean sprouts
about 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
about 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
about 2/3 cup chopped salted peanuts
8 ounces brown rice noodles
serrano peppers, thinly sliced, optional
lime wedges, for serving
grilled chicken, shrimp, or pork– optional
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce. Stir and set aside.
Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions (they will only take about 3-4 minutes). Rinse immediately with cold water. Reserve a bit of the cooking liquid to loosen pasta, if necessary. Separate the rice noodles with your fingers, so they are loose and airy– this is a fun process. Get your kids involved to help!
On a large platter or bowl, add the rice noodles, vegetables, herbs, and bean sprouts. Pour the sauce over and toss with tongs. Top with grilled meat, if using, peanuts, and a bit more cilantro, mint, and a squeeze of lime. I used simple grilled chicken breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper. Sliced serrano peppers would be lovely here, alas my son doesn’t love the heat from them. This dish is best eaten on the day it is made. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!