Zingy Carrot + Rice Noodle Salad

Rice noodles possibly require the shortest cooking time of the majority of noodles.

Use rice noodles to make a refreshing salad that will leave you feeling satisfied. Rice noodles are quite plain in taste but make an excellent vessel for a complex sauce. The defining characteristic of a great rice noodle salad is the dressing.

Vermicelli is the most common type of rice noodle. There are other types of rice noodles in thinner or thicker noodle strands. Rice noodles are a chewy, white-clear noodle that is used in stirfry, salads, soups, spring rolls and curries. These noodles are naturally gluten-free, typically consisting of only rice flour and water. Like pasta noodles, rice noodles are plain on their own but work as a platform for a delicious sauce.

The History of Rice Noodles

Rice noodles originated in 259-210 B.C. during the Quang Dynasty in China. According to historical legend, when people from northern China invaded the south, they were more accustom to eating noodles over rice. To try to accommodate these preferences, the southerners made “noodles” out of rice. Over time rice noodles were introduced to many cuisines across Asia and are now considered a staple.

Cooking with Rice Noodles

If prepared incorrectly, rice noodles can come out gummy and can stick together. As rice noodles are quite thin and delicate, they take minimal effort to cook. Place your serving of rice noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them so that they’re completely submerged. Occasionally stir the noodles, so they don’t clump together.

Depending on the thickness of your noodle, it can take anywhere between 1-10 minutes to cook. Continuously taste the noodles until you achieve the right texture. Drain the noodles. Run the rice noodles under cold water to stop the noodles from cooking further.

Rice Noodle Salad

Many people choose rice noodles as a healthy starch option. A rice noodle salad is always an excellent choice for a light but filling salad. Typically, rice noodle salads pair well with a sauce that has notes of sweet, salty and sour. Common ingredients in rice noodle salad dressings are rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, lime juice, garlic, ginger, bean sprouts and hot sauce. Some common vegetables used in rice noodle salads are carrots, cucumbers, jalapenos, cilantro and cabbage.

  1. Prepare your sauce ingredients and mix.
  2. Chop up your vegetables.
  3. If you’re serving your salad with meat, prepare the protein and set aside.
  4. Cook the rice noodles and run under cold water.
  5. Mix the noodles with the sauce and toss in your vegetables and meat. Serve hot or cold.

Variations of Rice Noodle Salads

For a rice noodle dish with complex flavors and a delicious sauce, check out this recipe from WholeHearted Eats for a Zingy Carrot and Rice Noodle Salad.

For an even healthier rendition, this interpretation of a rice noodle salad from Epicurious calls for brown rice noodles.

This recipe from Dinner Then Dessert makes a rice noodle salad that is meant to be served cold. As the salad refrigerates, the salad’s flavor develops. This dish is a great contribution when visiting a friend’s house for a potluck dinner.

And this recipe from Pinch of Yum makes a rice noodle salad with chicken and a spicy peanut dressing.

For a variation of rice noodle salad that incorporates Italian flavors instead of Asian, check out this recipe for a rice noodle salad with basil, parmesan and sundried tomatoes.

This versatile dish can be served hot or cold and made with any combination of vegetables available in your fridge. Prepare a rice noodle salad for a quick lunch or as a saucy appetizer to bring to a friend’s house.

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