Loaded Garlic and Ginger Pasta Salad

One of my wife’s favorite dishes is, well at least that I make, probably my garlic noodles that are infused sesame oil. This dish is also one that is one of my go to dishes when I go to a get together. Not only are those super easy to make, but everyone tends to love them. Let’s just say the bowl is always empty. I typically only make that dish when the mint in my backyard is in abundance, so typically late spring through early fall.

This dish however kind of stems from this recipe, but I wanted something a bit more hearty, and something that I knew everyone in my family would love, but with a couple of different twists. This is what I am coining as my loaded garlic noodle pasta salad.

Loaded Garlic and Ginger Pasta Salad
Loaded Garlic and Ginger Pasta Salad

This recipe packs in the flavor, texture, and is a great main course.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced 
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Korean fermented bean paste
  • generous pinch of kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 1 bundle bean thread noodles, soaked in hot water until slightly tender
  • 1 bag of bun bo hue noodles, or a thick pasta like a bucatini, cooked before al dente
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper, cooked and chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups of spinach leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 2 whole carrots, shredded
  • 1 small can of bamboo shoots
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup of frozen broccoli florets, slightly thawed
  • 1/2 cup of chow mein noodles
  • Thai chili peppers, thinly sliced (optional)
  • An appetite

Start by mixing all of your sauce ingredients in a bowl. Mix well, and set it to the side.

Next, heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add in the half of the oil, and bring to heat. Give the skillet a swirl, then add in the chicken breasts. Cook for about 4 minutes per side, the remove from the skillet and let them cool. Once cool, chop them up. If you see a little pink, don’t worry as we will finish in the next step.

Loaded Garlic and Ginger Pasta Salad
Loaded Garlic and Ginger Pasta Salad

Once your noodles are cooked al dente, make sure both of them are drained and ready to go. This is almost like a stir fry so everything is going to go a bit quickly.

Add the remaining oil to the skillet (make sure it is large enough to hold everything) on medium heat. Toss in the garlic, giving a good stir, and and cook for a couple of minutes being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add in the chopped chicken, and half of the sauce. Swirl around and cook for about 3 minutes or so. Next toss in the thick noodles, give a good toss, and make sure the garlic and sauce coat the chicken. Cook for an additional few minutes.  Next add in the broccoli, and give that a good toss. Add the beaten eggs, and stir. This almost creates a creamy sauce that everyone loved.

To a large serving bowl, add the carrots, bamboo shoots, peanuts, sesame seeds, bean thread noodles, and spinach. Give that a good toss.

Add the remaining sauce to the skillet, and using tongs or your tossing skills, make sure everything is nicely incorporated. Cook for another minute.

Add the noodle mixture to the mixed up serving bowl, and use those tongs to incorporate everything together. This can take a minute or two.

Now you are ready to serve. I keep the chow mein noodles and sliced chilies on the side for those that want additional texture, and heat.

The end result is well, how do I put it? Let’s just say no one spoke for about 3 minutes as their faces were looking down and slurping noodles. Then everyone came up for air and began questioning everything in the salad, and stating how awesome it was. This serves a small army, probably 12 people, and is great for leftovers, warm, or cold. What’s not to love about that, right? Hope you enjoy!

Yum Woon Sen – Thai Noodle Salad

Don’t you just love hearing new words, like this one, yum woon sen? I do, and what I love even more is trying new things and making them later on, because there are those days where you might crave these types of flavors. Yum Woon Sen is nothing short of flavor. It’s essentially a bean thread salad loaded with fresh herbs, vegetables, and roasted peanuts. You can go the route and add things like minced pork or shrimp, but to me I think leaving those out are just perfectly fine.

If you are looking for a light salad that is packed with great flavors, and one that is a great side dish on a hot summer day, then give this one a shot.

Thai Yum Woon Sen

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bundles of bean thread noodles, soaked in luke warm water
  • 1 whole roma tomato, pulp removed, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 whole shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 Thai bird chilies, stems removed, thinly sliced (add more if you like it real spicy)
  • 2 whole dried shrimp, pounded
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fried garlic
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups of hot water

Start by making your dressing for the salad.

To a small bowl, add the juice of the two limes. Add in the fish sauce, and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

Next, soak the noodles in warm water for about 10 minutes. These things can be a bit tricky so keep an eye on them. You still want them firm at this stage. After 10 minutes, strain the water, then add in the hot water. Stir the noodles, and let them cook for about 2-3 minutes, just until they soften, but not mushy. You don’t want mushy noodles. TRUST ME.

Once the noodles are softened, strain them and run cold water over of them. Strain again, gently squeezing any excess water from them, and place them into a large serving bowl.

Yum Woon Sen Ingredients

Now let’s make the salad.

Add in the remaining ingredients, with the exception of the dressing, and toss and turn to make sure everything is incorporated.

Now, pour in the dressing, and continue to lightly toss until everything looks great.

Dig in! This salad is so refreshing. It’s sour, it’s spicy, and it reminds me of som tam in a way, in a very good way. So if you are looking for a great salad that is really good on a hot summer day, this is the one! Hope you enjoy…

Som Tam with Vermicelli

If you have never had som tam, or commonly referred to as Thai papaya salad, then you are missing out in my opinion. It is probably one of my most, let’s say top 25 foods, favorite of all time. You never really see it on many menus, at least in my area, so it’s often best to gather up a handful of great Asian ingredients and attempt at making it your own. My wife probably thinks I’m a nut at times as I have a lot of Asian ingredients in my pantry and refrigerator, but when it ever comes time to whip up a great ethnic meal, I’m stocked and ready. Som tam is essentially a salad made from unripened papaya. You peel the exterior skin of the papaya, then shred the interior into thin strips, of which get lightly pounded with chilies, lime, garlic, shrimp, tomatoes and fish sauce. It’s the perfect balance of Thai flavors which result in spicy, sweet, sour, and savory. To me, this dish is so addicting, and delicious that it has you craving it like no other.

Som Tam with Vermicelli

With that said, the addition of rice vermicelli elevates this sam tam like no other. I don’t know why I’ve never used the vermicelli in this som tam before, but I don’t think I am going to look back. The noodles make this dish even better, and when you are not using sticky rice, then this is a perfect pairing.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 unripe green papaya, peeled, and shredded
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 4 Thai bird chilies, stems removed (add more/less for heat)
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste, or dried shrimp
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 whole lime, quartered
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 roma tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 lb rice vermicelli, cooked
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, optional

Start by cooking your rice vermicelli. You can find this at your local Asian market. Cook until al dente, then drain, and rinse with cold water. Once cooled and drained, set aside into a bowl.

Som tam is typically made with an Asian mortar and pestle, and you can also pick this up at any local Asian market. It’s a standard in my house, not only for making som tam, but also fresh salsas on occasion.

Add the garlic, and chilies to the to bottom of the mortar. With the pestle, start mashing up the garlic and chilies, almost into a paste. Add the half of the lime, and continue to mash. Add the tomatoes, and lightly smash those as well. Use a spoon as you are mashing with the pestle, mixing along the way. Add the palm sugar, and shrimp paste, and continue to mix and mash. Add the shredded papaya, along with the fish sauce, and continue to lightly bruise the papaya, mixing along the way.

How to make som tam with noodles

When you are ready to serve, add a handful of the rice vermicelli to the bottom of a serving bowl, and top with the som tam mixture. Top with roasted peanuts. Use a fork and spoon to mix everything together, and then dig in.

Everything screams Thai with this recipe. Again, it’s spicy, sour, sweet, and overall, addicting. You want to talk about a great side dish, or heck, even main dish for that matter, then this is it. I remember turning my coworkers onto this som tam (without the vermicelli) a couple of years ago, and they have still talked about it to this day. Simple ingredients. Huge impact. Add the vermicelli next time you make som tam, and let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy!

Som Tam with Vermicelli
Author: 
Recipe type: Salads
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 unripe green papaya, peeled, and shredded
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 4 Thai bird chilies, stems removed (add more/less for heat)
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste, or dried shrimp
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 whole lime, quartered
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 roma tomato, sliced
  • ½ lb rice vermicelli, cooked
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts, optional
Instructions
  1. Start by cooking your rice vermicelli. You can find this at your local Asian market. Cook until al dente, then drain, and rinse with cold water. Once cooled and drained, set aside into a bowl.
  2. Som tam is typically made with an Asian mortar and pestle, and you can also pick this up at any local Asian market. It’s a standard in my house, not only for making som tam, but also fresh salsas on occasion.
  3. Add the garlic, and chilies to the to bottom of the mortar. With the pestle, start mashing up the garlic and chilies, almost into a paste. Add the half of the lime, and continue to mash. Add the tomatoes, and lightly smash those as well. Use a spoon as you are mashing with the pestle, mixing along the way. Add the palm sugar, and shrimp paste, and continue to mix and mash. Add the shredded papaya, along with the fish sauce, and continue to lightly bruise the papaya, mixing along the way.
  4. When you are ready to serve, add a handful of the rice vermicelli to the bottom of a serving bowl, and top with the som tam mixture. Top with roasted peanuts. Use a fork and spoon to mix everything together, and then dig in.

 

Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes, and Beans

There are many times throughout the week that I want something hearty, but without meat. I want a main course, or heck even a side dish that would go well with things like roasted chicken, and this is one of those dishes. You have to love a dish that is really simple to put together, yet one that is complex in flavor, and texture. I knew that my wife, and one of my kids (maybe two), would really love this pasta dish. What ended up happening is that I really, really was the one who loved this pasta with pest, potatoes, and green beans.

Pasta Salad with Pesto, Potatoes, and Beans

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of fresh basil, packed
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 3 red potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 pound gemini pasta, cooked al dente
  • 2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Start by adding the cubed potatoes to a pot of cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. During this time, make a simple pesto.

To a food processor, add the basil, and lightly toasted almonds. You can go traditional by adding garlic, and pine nuts, but I wanted to go simple here and the basil and almonds were really, really good. Pulse the basil and almonds, then slowly add in the olive oil, and salt, until you have a nice pesto consistency.

Move the pesto into a small bowl, and set to the side.

Boil your pasta until al dente, drain, and place into a mixing bowl.

A couple of more steps and you are about ready to serve.

To a sauté pan, add about 1 cup of water, and the green beans. Bring to simmer, and cook the beans for about 3-4 minutes. I love the snap of the green bean for this pasta.

Next, add the canola oil to a large skillet, and bring it to a medium-high heat.

How to make pasta with pesto, potatoes, and green beans

Add the cooked potatoes, and cook until they are golden brown. Season with a pinch of salt.

Drain the beans and add them to the pasta.

Add the pesto, then top with the hot, and slightly crisp potatoes. Give everything a good stir, taste, and season with any additional salt.

The great thing about this pasta salad is that you can serve it cold, at room temperature, or warm. Who doesn’t love that?

When my daughter got home for school, she always asks two questions; what’s for dinner and can I have a snack? Then she saw the pasta salad as the centerpiece of the dinner table. She asked if she could try it (I never turn down that interest), and she totally fell in love. My boys on the other hand were not as excited. I mean pasta with green pesto flecks on it, seriously? What they did not know is they totally missed out on an awesome pasta salad that was not only simple, but super packed with awesome flavor and texture.

Give this one a try if you are going meatless during the week, and are looking for a dish that is not only hearty, but perfect to eat as leftovers. Hope you enjoy!