Guys, guys: it’s happening. It’s finally springtime. There are fuzzy purple buds on the lilac bushes, pink blossoms blooming, dandelions popping up, and the air doesn’t hurt my face. I’ll willfully ignore the itchy skin and stuffy sinuses in return.
When the air feels clean, I feel the need for a clean, refreshing dinner. It’s the time of year when I would rather chop veggies and appreciate the fresh air than fill the entire house with stale heat from the oven. Which is where this salad comes in. If you’ve been reading my recent posts, you’ll know how much of a fan of the Minimalist Baker I am. I can’t help it when Dana’s recipes are designed to be done in 30 minutes, use minimal dishes, and are almost always gluten free and vegan.
My darling little Willow has learned to crawl, and crawl FAST. Aside from the hour she naps twice a day, I’m always on the move. The Minimalist Baker is a new mother’s godsend.
A fellow new mom and our wedding photographer, Kaihla Tonai, recommended this salad over and over. It’s simple and so delicious. It has a creamy dressing, loads of veggies, and thin noodles. Who doesn’t love noodles in a salad? Right before I went gluten free, I was obsessed with a cold soba noodle salad. Noodle salads are always the way to go.
Dana’s recipe includes carrots, green onions, spinach, red pepper, cabbage, and cilantro. I had veggies to use up so I added spiralized zucchini, broccoli chopped very small, and some shredded beet. I would recommend leaving the beet out unless you love beet as the flavour is a little too powerful in this salad.
The other thing I learned with this recipe was that sunbutter is better than peanut butter. You won’t believe that till you try it.
Then, there’s the star of the entire dish. The tempeh. If you’ve never had tempeh, it’s like the better version of tofu. Not as processed as tofu while still being a complete protein. With this marinade, you won’t be able to get enough of it.
I’ll be honest: I ate this salad everyday for a week straight. It’s that good.
• 6 ounces (170 g) vermicelli noodles
• 2 whole carrots, “ribboned”
• 2 green onions, finely chopped
• 1/4 cup (15 g) chopped cilantro
• 2-3 Tbsp (6 g) chopped mint
• 1 cup (30 g) loosely packed spinach, chopped
• 1 cup (75 g) thinly sliced red cabbage
• 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
• optional but highly recommended: 1 batch Marinated Peanut Tempeh
• 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp (100 g) salted creamy peanut butter, almond butter, or sunbutter
• 3 Tbsp (45 ml) gluten-free tamari
• 3 Tbsp (45 ml) maple syrup
• 1 tsp chili garlic sauce, 1 red Thai chili minced, or 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
• 1 lime, juiced ~(3 Tbsp or 45 ml)
• Water to thin (~1/4 cup or 60 ml)
Cook rice noodles according to package instructions, rinse, drain, and set aside to cool.
To a large serving bowl, add cooked and cooled noodles, carrots, green onions, cilantro, mint, spinach, cabbage, and red bell pepper and toss loosely to combine. Set aside.
Make dressing by adding peanut butter, tamari, maple syrup, chili sauce (or chili or red pepper), and lime juice to a small mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Then add warm water a little at a time until a thick but pourable sauce is achieved.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more maple syrup for sweetness, chili sauce (chili or red pepper) for heat, lime juice for acidity, or tamari for saltiness. Set aside.
Add 1/2 of the tempeh (optional) and 1/2 of the sauce to the salad and toss. Then top with remaining tempeh and sauce. Serve immediately. Leftovers store well in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days, though best when fresh. I find that, if making ahead of time, it’s better to leave the salad undressed and store the tempeh separately. Bring it to a potluck, you’ll thank me.