Whole Wheat Asian Noodle Salad

I helped a friend with a party for another friend's "landmark" birthday.  What a blast!  Great food, drink and friends to celebrate her day.  About an hour before the party, I was asked to make the Asian Noodle Salad, of course I knew I could wing it, but wanted to respect her, so asked for the recipe!  I had a laugh to see that she was using an old recipe card that we had collaborated on about 10 years ago for a marketing gimmick.  What a laugh, I haven't thought of that salad for a long time....

Anyway, she had pre-cooked the noodles, and there were a BUNCH of them.  I got her biggest bowl and started mixing... this salad just seemed to grow and grow, I joked about moving it to the bath tub soon.  Really, while you think you might want to double this for a big crowd, be careful, you may not have bowls big enough to accomodate all the salad! This recipe for one pound of noodles filled my largest bowl!

So many recipes call for some fancy Asian noodles, which depending on the day, I may, or may not have on hand.  I like these whole wheat spaghetti noodles for this dish which are somewhat like Soba noodles, and heck, really good for you too.  I bought the 6 pack of these at Costco, so I'd better think of something other than spaghetti sauce to serve with them!

I've listed a lot of different types of veggies below, and you may not have all of them, but really use what you've got!  I even used the leftover carrots I had pickling from my Banh Mi Sandwiches last week, they added an additional tang to the salad and were great in it!

Serves about 8 big eaters, or about 16 side salads
1 16oz. package of whole wheat spaghetti

1/3 cup sesame oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp garlic red pepper sauce
red pepper flakes, to taste, as needed
1-2 tsp fresh* ginger, grated

Veggies & salad add ins:
1 cup edamame, frozen & pre-shelled
1 cup celery, cut on the diagonal
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 cup carrots, cut into matchsticks
3 Tbsp sesame seeds
1-2 cups of shredded cooked chicken (optional)

Cook the noodles until cooked, but still firm, about 7 minutes.  Drain and rinse in cold water.  Let cool.

Mix together all salad dressing ingredients in a bowl.  This recipe does have lots of soy sauce and sesame oil in it, but it's what makes it taste so great!  You will probably not need to add any salt, but if you're worried about sodium intake, you might want to reduce the amount of soy sauce.  I used an Asian red pepper garlic paste in my dressing, but you could easily use crushed garlic and red pepper flakes.
*I also added grated ginger, I almost always have it on hand because I keep it in the freezer!  It lasts a long time and you can grate it when it's frozen!   When you buy some, just throw it in a ziploc bag and keep it frozen.  It lasts a lot longer like that, and you always have it when you need it!

Toss the noodles with the dressing and start adding your fresh vegetable ingredients and chicken, if you are using.  The salad should sit for 30 minutes or so to keep soaking in the dressing.  This is a great salad to make ahead and keeps nicely.  It also would work for picnics because you wouldn't need to keep it chilled if you were not using chicken. 

If you liked this, you might also like these:
Larb Gai, (Thai turkey salad)
Thai Chicken Nachos
Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Still have some leftover edamame?  Try one of these...

Southwestern Edamame Salad 
Marinated Tofu and edamame Salad
Edamame Succotash