Today I’m excited to join five others to bring you ‘Main Dish Salads’ just in time for Memorial Day, end of school year gatherings, and summer entertaining! The main dish salad is a great go-to that you can bring anywhere, and especially perfect for those alfresco nights when you want unfussy dishes to enjoy with friends and pretty sunsets!
My dish is a noodle salad and I have shared a version of this before on the blog. It’s reliable for potlucks, parties and especially warm weather gatherings. It’s a cold salad, but can be at room temp safely. To make this more of a main dish, I add shredded chicken from one whole roasted grocery store chicken. (When you do that, it does need to stay cold.)
This noodle salad has its origins from my Aunt Wendy, a great entertainer who lives on Discovery Bay. She knows how to throw a warm weather bash on her deck or out on a boat with friends. This is her recipe and it works so well and it makes a LOT! My aunt, just like my grandmother, does not believe anyone should ever go home hungry and is an effortless hostess. Her dish is a crowd pleaser. Who doesn’t like noodles? The nice thing is this can stay on a deck, patio or boat all day without spoiling ( sans the chicken obviously, if you go with that.)
Since I was experimenting, I made a few modifications to the recipe for current times by removing half the oil, removing the additional salt ( as it already has soy sauce), and using less honey and a gluten-free reduced sodium soy sauce. You could also use gluten-free angel hair pasta. I love the corn/rice mix versions of those pastas, which have the taste and texture that are nearly the same to me.
Max was my taste tester and he said he couldn’t tell any taste difference with the healthier recipe. Also we both noted that this salad is always better after a day in the refrigerator when the flavors really soak into the noodles more, so for best results, make it the day prior. That makes its a perfect make ahead dish.
Here’s my version of Aunt Wendy’s recipe…
Asian Noodle Salad
- 1 LB box angel hair pasta
- 1/4 C oil
- 1/4 C sesame oil
- 1/2 t crushed red pepper You can go up to 2T depending how spicy you like it.
- 1/4 C honey
- 1/4 C soy sauce Tamari low sodium, gluten-free brands like San-J work well too.
- 1/2 C chopped peanuts
- 1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro
- 2-3 T toasted sesame seeds
- Cook pasta, ( careful not to overcook with the usual 2 minute time), drain and rinse well with cold water, pulling the strands apart so they do not stick in lumps.
- Using the same warm pot, stir together oils and crushed red pepper over medium heat briefly.
- Remove from heat and stir in soy and honey while warm, add to pasta and distribute well.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to serve, add in sesame seeds, peanuts and cilantro. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve using tongs.
- If making this a main course, add the shredded white meat from one roast chicken. You can also do this the night before.
My pictures show the meat free version as we were having this as a side with grilled salmon and a green salad the other night. Someone used the last of my crushed peppers without telling me, so those aren’t in here, but it does give it a kick of heat and is nice with the honey.
The best part about this recipe, is it comes together fast, cooks quick and you can feed a crowd. I would say you can feed 8-10 with this and if you double the recipe as my aunt often does, you can feed the masses! You need one of those huge industrial aluminum bowls if you double it, as my aunt has (linked below).
A few things you may need..
Please visit these blogs for more delicious main dish salads!
I can’t wait to see what new ideas these ladies have…
Thank you for being here!
If you missed it, another fun post is last year’s Summer Picnic Ideas, with a pasta salad and pink lady apple and turkey baguettes, you can find here. You can also follow my Pinterest Board, Alfresco for more fun summer entertaining ideas and recipes.
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