We lean on this meal at least once a week, especially in the summer. It’s dead simple to make, requires pantry staple ingredients, and the flavor is so impressive. I was a little hesitant to share this recipe, because I thought it might be too basic, but I wish I knew about it a few years ago, when putting together a quick but tasty weeknight meal was still a creative struggle :)
This recipe is all about two things: 1) the sauce and 2) keeping your ingredients as cold as possible. The sauce is a combination of everything that’s good in this world. It’s spicy, salty, creamy, and a bit sweet. It’s great for so much more than slathering on noodles, too: dip anything in it, like summer rolls, raw veggies, your fingers…
Now on to the coldness factor. There’s something about keeping all the ingredients as cold as possible that takes this dish to the next level. The chewiness of the cold noodles pairs so perfectly with the crispness of the cucumbers – the whole thing just feels fresh and summery to the max. This dish does benefit from time in the fridge (though some brands of rice noodles do tend to stick together with time), but there are ways around waiting for it to cool down in the refrigerator. This is meant to be the quickest weeknight meal, so waiting is not on the agenda.
Last little note to say that you can of course add more vegetables to these noodles, you also can add tofu, tempeh, other herbs, greens etc. It’s highly customizable. This simple cucumber version is just what we end up having most often, since we pretty much always have cucumbers (Persian ones are highly recommended here!) lying around in the summer, and I really wanted to share the recipe as is to show how uncomplicated it can be. I hope you’ll give it a try :)
- juice from 2 limes (about ¼ cup)
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons creamy almond butter
- 1 teaspoon sriracha or other chili sauce of choice
- sea salt
- 1 clove of garlic - minced
- ¼ cup cashews - toasted and crushed and/or 1½ tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 medium cucumber or 2-3 Persian (small) cucumbers - cut into half or quarter rounds
- handful of basil leaves - chopped
- 8.8 oz / 250g black rice noodles, rice noodles, or soba noodles
- Make the sauce. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, tamari, brown rice vinegar, almond butter, sriracha, a pinch of salt, and minced garlic, mix well until creamy. Taste for salt and spice and adjust if needed. Place in the refrigerator to cool and thicken.
- Prepare the toasted nuts/seeds and place in the refrigerator to cool, if freshly toasted and hot. Chop the cucumbers and basil, and place them in the bowl, where you'll be mixing and serving the noodles. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to keep the ingredients cold while you cook the noodles.
- Cook the noodles in well-salted water, according to the instructions on the package. Once cooked, run the noodles under very cold water. If your tap water is not cold enough, place a few ice cubes in the colander with the noodles and let them melt completely to cool down your noodles.
- Transfer the noodles to your serving bowl with the cucumbers and basil, add the sauce, toasted nuts and seeds, and mix very well. Serve right away. Keep any leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container.