Perfected Peanut Noodle Salad (with make ahead hacks)

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Here is a perfected Peanut Noodle salad you are sure to LOVE!

Forget the rest, try the best! After preparing countless recipes, I believe I’ve finally perfected this cooling and refreshing pasta salad perfect for the peanut butter lover. To perfect this pasta I use several techniques that allow the chef to prepare this a day ahead, a real-time saver. Why not try it this Father’s Day as it pairs beautifully with any Asian or Hawaiian inspired marinate or BBQ Sauce.

You’ll Need:

½ Cup Creamy Peanut Butter

½ Cup Chunky Peanut Butter

¾ Cup Soy Sauce (My favorite for this recipe is Kikkoman’s reduced sodium)

¼ Cup Fresh Lime Juice (about two Limes)

Zest of two Limes

2 cloves of Garlic, finely pressed/minced

1-2 tsp. Ginger, finely minced

1 tsp. Salt (more or less to taste)

¼ Green Onion, chopped

½ Cup Carrots, julienne style (I buy the pre-cut matchstick variety available in the produce isle)

½ Cup Green or Red Pepper (in the photo I used yellow and red)

¼ Cup Peanuts, chopped

¼ Cup fresh Cilantro (add more or less depending upon taste)

¼ Cup fresh Mint (add more or less depending upon taste)

1-Pound Linguini

3 Tbs. Flavored Olive Oil (I used Basil Flavor)

 

Step 1- boil your pasta following the recommended cooking directions on the brands package. You want the pasta to be al dente, not over done. This is very important, do not over cook the pasta or you’ll be left with a mushy salad. Drain pasta, do not rinse. Return pasta to pot and lightly toss with 3-4 Tbs. of high quality flavored olive oil, my favorite is Basil Olive Oil from The Olive Tap specialty Olive Oil Shop in downtown Crystal Lake, IL. Now, if you don’t have a high quality fishing oil you’ll have to get creative. Basically, you want to impart some flavor and allow the pasta to absorb the oil, which means it will contain more flavor and not stick to itself when you go to dress it with the sauce the following day. I’d stay away from Sesame, save it for the sauce. You could use a little peanut or vegetable oil, just add a tablespoon at a time. Place in a container and refrigerate until ready to use. If you’re going to serve the salad within a few hours, forgo this step. Simply drain, dress, and devour.

Fun Fact: Many Italian restaurants cook their pasta the day before and reheat it when needed, why not do the same?

Step 2- In a large bowl combine the Peanut Butter, Soy Sauce, fresh Lime juice, zest, Garlic, Ginger, and Salt. Using a hand mixer, blend the sauce on low until combined. Now, many recipes call for the sauce to be blended. I’ve found the blender doesn’t impart enough air into the sauce, so I prefer the hand-mixer method. Additionally, I like the semi chunky texture the chunky peanut butter imparts -which is why I use two varieties. This sauce maybe refrigerated for 24 hours, just bring it back to room temperature before you mix it into the noodles.

Step 3- Bring noodles and sauce to room temperature by letting them warm up for at least an hour. Place noodles in a large bowl and toss with sauce and all vegetables.

Hint- Don’t limit yourself on the veggies. In the past I’ve added broccoli, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, and even zucchini.

Step 4- Place salad in a serving bowl and top with peanuts and/or any remaining vegetables.

Step 5- Return to fridge until ready to serve.

Hint- I’ve served this salad cold, hot, and at room temperature. Heck, I’ve even tossed left overs with grilled chicken and shrimp.

Enjoy!

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