Written by our friend Rachael of La Fuji Mama
I adore Vietnamese spring rolls. I was talking to a friend the other day about them, about how they make it so incredibly easy to stuff large amounts of vegetables in your face. There’s something about wrapping a bunch of veggies and bits of meat into little burrito-like packages, then dipping them in a sauce that is a winning combination.
While thinking about another one of my favorite things, Japanese somen (a thin white wheat noodle that is often served chilled during the summer with a dipping sauce), the idea occurred to me to merge these two different dishes into one dish by translating the concept of Vietnamese spring rolls into a chilled noodle dish. Thin, chilled Thai rice noodles would take the place of the somen noodles and also stand in the place of the Vietnamese rice paper wrappers. Everything that would normally be stuffed inside the rolls would instead be tossed with the noodles. Then finally, the sauce would be used like a pasta sauce instead of being used as a dip.
If you’ve got spring fever like I do and want to get out side, don’t worry, you won’t be spending precious daylight hours inside slaving away over a hot stove making this dish. Making the sauce takes a few minutes—you sauté some fresh garlic and ginger in a bit of oil, then add things like Thai sweet chili sauce, creamy peanut butter and toasted sesame oil. The finished sauce is creamy, slightly sweet and just a tad bit spicy. Making the noodles is as simple as boiling a pot of water. Literally. You bring a pot of water to a boil, turn the heat off and add the noodles, letting them sit and soften in the residual heat for several minutes. I like to chill them after they soften, but feel free to keep them warm! To finish off the salad, all you have to do is toss the noodles in some sauce, add some fresh veggies and shrimp, top them with lots of fresh sliced, creamy California Avocado, a bit more sauce, and some fresh herbs.
If you’re looking for something fresh and light, try out this noodle salad. You’ll find yourself making it well into the summer and beyond.
California Avocado Spring Roll Noodle Salad
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 7 minutes
Total time: 17 minutes
- 1 (8.8-oz.) package thin rice noodles (I like Thai Kitchen brand)
- Peanut Sauce (see make-ahead recipe below)
- 12 oz. steamed, chilled shrimp, deveined and shelled
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and cut into matchsticks
- 1 red bell pepper, seeds and membranes removed, and cut into matchsticks
- 2 ripe Fresh California Avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into slices
- 1 small bunch fresh basil (about .5 oz.), cut into chiffonade (thin ribbons)
- 4 sprigs fresh mint (about .25 oz.), leaves removed and roughly chopped
- Make the noodles according to the package directions, then drain them thoroughly. Put the drained noodles in a bowl of cold water to chill for about 5 minutes while you prep the other ingredients.
- Drain the noodles and toss with 1 cup of the peanut sauce and set them aside while you finish prepping the other ingredients.
- Toss the noodles with the shrimp, carrot, cucumber and red bell pepper.
- Divide the noodles between 4 shallow bowls or plates, then top each with equal amounts of avocado slices.
- Drizzle each serving of noodles with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the remaining peanut sauce, then sprinkle with the fresh basil and mint.
- Serve immediately.
- 1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed
- 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
- 1/3 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 Tbsp. red miso paste
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp. rice vinegar
- 1 cup warm water
- Heat the grapeseed oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. When the oil is just starting to get hot (the surface of the oil will start to shimmer), add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add the sweet chili sauce, creamy peanut butter, red miso paste, honey, toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar and whisk until smooth.
- Slowly whisk in the warm water.
- Continue whisking the sauce over medium-low heat. When the sauce comes to a simmer (small bubbles will start to rise to the surface), remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool.