Can we please talk about this salad? It is such a refreshing change from all the soups and stews I’ve been eating for the past several months. Nothing against soups and stews, of course – in fact, I kind of love them. But at this time of year, I start craving really bright, fresh flavours to help me combat the winter blues. Cue the perfectly ripe mango, sweet bell peppers, crunchy carrots, cute tiny cucumbers and mountains of fresh herbs. The perfect thing if you’re itching to get away somewhere warm, but are having to stay put in your icy part of the world all. winter. long.
This recipe makes a lot of peanut dressing, but that’s a very good thing. We go through an impressive (?) quantity of this stuff in our home, so I’ve assumed you’re sauce-greedy like us, and made sure you’ll have more than enough to satisfy everyone’s saucing needs. I like to keep it on the side and let everyone serve themselves at the table, mostly because this salad is so pretty presented with all the toppings carefully arranged. I’m going to be honest with you, the salad does involve a fair amount of chopping. See it as the perfect opportunity to get caught up on your favourite podcast or listen to an audiobook. Hopefully doing so will make the whole experience seem even more like a mini tropical vacation.
- ¼ cup tamari
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
- 4 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, peeled (depending how garlicky you want it to be)
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- ½ cup smooth natural peanut butter
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ cup water
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 to 2 tsp sambal oelek (depending how spicy you want it to be)
- 225g package of rice vermicelli
- Neutral-flavoured oil, for tossing with noodles
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
- 1 small mango, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 Persian cucumbers (the small kind), thinly sliced in rounds
- 1 bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 3 scallions, trimmed and sliced
- 2-4 cups washed and dried fresh herbs (I like a mix of mint, Thai basil, and cilantro)
- 1 cup toasted salted peanuts, chopped
- Put all ingredients in an upright blender, and blend until completely smooth. You can also do this in a measuring cup, using an immersion blender. Extra dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Cook vermicelli according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Then transfer to serving bowl and toss with a bit of oil to keep the noodles from sticking together.
- Top noodles with the mango, pepper, cucumber, carrot, scallion and herbs, finishing with the peanuts.
- Serve cold, with peanut dressing on the side.