Rainbow Noodle Salad (gluten-free option!)
Spring has me thinking color, color, color! My herb garden is planted, my perennials are blooming, and the produce at the farmer’s market is bursting with fresh vibrancy… a literal feast for the senses!
This is the season when I love to come up with simple dishes that look like show stoppers. Dishes that are perfect for entertaining al fresco because they’re delicious warm, chilled and at any temperature in between. Dishes that can be prepared well in advance of a party and then brought out once the guests are ready to chow down. Dishes that vegans and omnivores, kids and adults can equally enjoy!
And so I present to you my Rainbow Noodle Salad.
It was conceived during the busy pre-dinner hour, when my girls were doing their homework, lunch boxes were being cleaned out and my little guy was steering circles around my feet on his little wooden ride-upon. I had no dinner plan but I did have some really fresh and colorful produce in my kitchen. I decided to go with my instinct and build this recipe step by step, ingredient by ingredient, guided by texture, complementary flavors and of course, color. What I ended up with was a rainbow in a bowl. I knew right away that I’d call this my Rainbow Noodle Salad and the name went a long way toward getting my kids excited to dive in. I mean, what kid wouldn’t want to eat a rainbow for dinner? ; )
My family loved this dish and I’ve made it a second time since, serving it up to a gathering of family and friends. It was an absolute hit!
Here’s what you need to taste this healthy rainbow (serves 6):
- one 14-oz package of dried Chinese noodles (or a gluten-free alternative)
- two 5-oz packages of yuba (tofu skins)
- 1 tsp oil to sauté your yuba
- 2-3 tsp Bragg’s Amino Acids (or soy sauce, Tamari, etc.)
- one bunch kale, washed and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup rainbow carrots (regular orange carrots will work too!), thinly sliced
- 2 scallions, washed, trimmed and sliced
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
- 1/3 cup marcona almonds, chopped (California almonds, cashews and peanuts would all be delicious as well!)
- 1 ripe mango, diced
- 1-2 tbsp sesame oil
- white sesame seeds, for garnishing
- black sesame seeds, for garnishing
For the teriyaki sauce:
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (or use gluten-free Tamari as I did!)
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 4 tbsp packed brown sugar
- 1 tbsp agave nectar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup cold water
Set a teapot of water to boil. This will be for blanching your carrots and kale.
Set another large pot of water to boil for your noodles. Cook them according to package instructions and then drain and pour the noodles into your serving dish. Drizzle the sesame oil over the noodles and toss to coat.
Next, prepare your yuba skins. This is an amazingly delicious soybean product. It’s made from the natural “skin” that rises to the top of the water when tofu is made. The texture is addictive and it has a mild flavor that really adapts to whatever you season it with. Hodo Soy brand from here in the San Francisco Bay Area, makes their yuba organic and non-GMO. I buy them 6 packages at a time from my local grocer!
Slice your yuba “sheet” into strips and place them in a medium skillet with the tsp of oil. Sauté with the Bragg’s Amino Acids until the yuba is golden and a bit crispy. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place your kale and carrots into two separate colanders or blanch them in the same colander, one at a time. Pour your boiled water over them; this will give these veggies a slight tenderness and a deeper color.
Arrange your kale, rainbow carrots, cucumber, scallions, red onion, marcona almonds, sautéd yuba and mango in a circle atop your noodles.
In a small saucepan, make your teriyaki sauce by combining the soy sauce, water, garlic powder, brown sugar and agave. Whisk the ingredients together over medium heat. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water. Add this cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and whisk to combine. Continue to cook until the sauce thickens and starts to bubble. Remove from heat and drizzle the sauce over the noodle salad. As a final touch, sprinkle the white and black sesame seeds on top.
When it’s time to serve the dish, simply toss all the ingredients together in the bowl so the colors and flavors are deliciously intermingled. Then serve and enjoy!