Summer pasta salad fatigue setting in yet? Getting tired of the same pasta salads over and over again? You know what I mean...macaroni salad - been there, bow-tie pasta salad - done that, all the mayo-based or Italian-salad-dressing-doused or from-the-box-ala-Suddenly-Salad kinda salads that turn up on every picnic and dinner table in America. Ho hum. What to do...what to do....
Bored and in the mood for a little something different - and just maybe a little exotic - I set about making a Thai-inspired noodle salad with a box of Annie Chun Pad Thai noodles I had on the pantry shelf. The warm salad included lots of bright green basil, broccoli and spinach, crisp sprouts, a little heat of finely slivered jalapeno, freshly squeezed lime juice, sweet and creamy coconut milk accented with umami flavors of peanut butter, fish sauce (don't turn up your nose...it doesn't taste fishy, just adds BIG Thai notes) and tamari.
To serve this one-dish-meal-in-a-salad, we grilled up a cap steak from the rib eye, sliced it into medallions before laying it lovingly atop the salad, scattered crunchy, salty peanuts over all and garnished the whole thing with extra basil and lime to taste. The result? I'm positive our tastebuds gave an appreciative standing ovation to the salad excitement they beheld (and be-tasted?). Vive la summer pasta salad différence!
Thai(ish) Coconut Peanut Noodle and Veg Salad
with Grilled Steak
- 2 ribeye cap steaks - or your favorite cut, seasoned and grilled how you like it - 1/2 steak per person
- 8 ounces rice noodles, pad Thai style (I used Annie Chun brand), cooked according to package directions - al dente - drain in a colander and rinse well with cold water - set aside
- 1 cup fresh spinach, julienned
- 6 medium basil leaves, fresh, cut into chiffonade
- 1/2 large jalapeno chile pepper, seeds and ribs removed, sliced thinly into slivers 1/4" long
- 1 cup bean sprouts, fresh, rinsed and dried
- 1 cup peanuts, salted - reserve 1/4 cup for garnish
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 cup broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
- 3/4 cup lite coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
- 2 teaspoons tamari soy sauce, wheat-free to make this GF or regular soy sauce if gluten isn't an issue for you
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
Make the salad ahead of time and grill the steak the way you like before serving.
Mix the dressing ingredients - coconut milk through fish sauce - in a bowl until the peanut butter is thoroughly incorporated and pour over the cooked noodles. Add the spinach, basil, jalapeno, sprouts salt, broccoli and salt. Toss well until all the veggies, noodles and sauce are well-combined. Arrange the salad on a platter and top with sliced steak and garnish with the rest of the peanuts and lime to squeeze as needed.
NOTE: Feel free to make this by itself without the steak for a lovely side dish!
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