Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Japanese Pasta and Vegetable Salad

I found a recipe similar to this in Food and Travel (a magazine here in the UK) and changed it around just a bit. It is a great family-pleaser. All four of my kids loved it! Great to make ahead on busy nights-- pack the left-overs in lunch boxes the next day. Although I use pork in this dish, it can easily be a vegan meal-- no one will miss the meat.

12 ounces pasta (I used whole wheat Ramen noodles, but any spaghetti shaped noodle will work), cooked and drained

1/4 cup good quality soy sauce (Kikoman is a great quality, well priced choice)
2 tablespoons sesame oil (plus more for sauteing)
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons white wine or cider vinegar
1 birds eye red chili (optional, but not so good if preparing this for kids)

1 or 2 heads bok choi, chopped
2 dozen mange tout (snow peas), sliced
A handful of shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin (optional)
Any other crunchy vegetables you fancy-- carrots, water chestnuts, celery, cabbage, red bell peppers

Add ins:
4 green onions, trimmed and sliced thin
3 pieces nori paper, torn into pieces
1 cup edemame (soy beans), cooked according to packet in salted water
1 pound cooked, shredded pork, chicken, beef or shrimp (a good way to use up left-overs)

1) Shake the dressing up in a jar and dump it over the cooked noodles. Toss well and set aside.
2) Saute the shiitakes in sesame oil for 2 minutes, then add in the rest of the vegetables and saute until just cooked but still crisp-- just a minute or two. Toss the cooked vegetables, plus all the 'add ins' with the dressed pasta. Taste, adjust seasoning with more soy or sesame oil if desired.

Serve warm, room temp or chilled. Serves 6.

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