Thursday, September 9, 2010

Asian Noodle Salad

What a delightful dish!  This was the perfect, simple meal to serve after a day spent in my studio scrapbooking.  I loved the fresh flavors, and I loved that this meal came together in hardly no time at all. To make it even simpler, you could prep and assemble during the day (or the night before!) and dinner could be ready the moment you walk in the door. Serve with some crisp breadsticks or garlic bread, and voila!  Dinner is served.

Asian Noodle Salad
adapted from Casual Cooking from The Pampered Chef

8 oz. vermicelli pasta, cooked according to package directions
3/4 cup julienne-cut carrots, 2 inches long
3/4 cup julienne-cut zucchini, 2 inces long
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper (I just used a whole red pepper)
1/3 cup sliced green onions, with tops
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed and trimmed of excess fat; sliced into strips
olive oil for cooking, salt and pepper, freshly grated fresh gingerroot, and a splash of lime juice

1/4 cup canola oil
3 tbl. rice vinegar
3 tbl. soy sauce
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp. fresh gingerroot, peeled, finely chopped or grated (I used a microplane grater--love this tool!!!)
1 garlic clove, pressed
*optional--coarsely chopped cilantro or parsley, and peanuts

Break vermicelli noodles into thirds and add to a pot of boiling salted water.  Cook according to package directions (vermicelli cooks in 5-6 minutes since it is so thin).  Drain and rinse in a colander with cold water.  Place vermicelli in serving bowl and set aside.

Cut carrots and zucchini into julienned strips.  Chop bell pepper and slice green onions.  Add vegetables to the pasta.

In a large skillet, drizzle with olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add sliced chicken and cook until no longer pink.  Season with salt and pepper and grate a generous amount of fresh ginger over chicken.  Saute a couple minutes more; add a splash of lime juice over the chicken and stir chicken around in pan, scraping the bottom of it to pick up any pieces of ginger.  Add to the pasta and vegetables.

In a small mixing bowl, combine oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, salt, and ground cayenne pepper.  Peel gingerroot and grate or finely chop.  Add to bowl, along with the pressed garlic.  Whisk together until emulsified.  Pour dressing over pasta and toss to coat well.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until flavors are blended together.  Garnish with cilantro or peanuts, if desired.

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