The current heat wave had me glued to my desk. It was too humid, too hot to move a muscle. Instead of a big lavish meal, I opted for a cold, refreshing noodle salad — Asian Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce, that could double as an entrée for dinner.
The heat was brutal today, but I found a great way to celebrate summer. You can do this, too. Fill up your salad plates with luscious lo mein noodles. Coat the thick yellow opaque strings with a sweet-spicy peanut dressing. I didn’t have to look far for the ingredients. I had a little of everything in my refrigerator: Sliced cold cucumbers, sweetest Jersey tomatoes, crunchy spinach leaves which I blanched, fragrant red pepper strips. I even found juicy, tender char-grilled rib pieces from another dish, and laid them lazily on top of the salad.
This is why when my friends at Quirk Books sent me the ‘Campfire Cuisine’ cookbook I got hooked. It’s not just a book for campers. It’s a cookbook that offers quick, fast, savory dishes that can be done outdoors by a cooking stove or even indoors at a snap of the fingers. Cooking is not a chore with this cookbook.
Campfire Cuisine offers meals and snacks that take you from the start of the day to dinner. The offerings are hard to resist like healthy Bananas Foster French Toast all the way to lunch sandwiches. Dinner entrees are all-time favorites that use burgers, shrimps and regular ingredients found in one’s pantry. The small, compact cookbook has 192 pages of easy recipes, wholesome and pretty simple to do. The interesting array has something for the camper, the outdoor adventurer or even the home cook who wants fast, homemade recipes – just like this nutty, sweet and spicy flavored dressing.
Mix it up. Chill it. Eat it. Let the scorching day roll slowly and enjoy this cold noodle salad with relish. This is the life. This is the way summer is meant to be enjoyed.
Asian Noodles Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/8 cup Tamari sauce or a low sodium soy sauce
- 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 cup ginger ale or substitute with 7-Up; or use water
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 8 ounces fresh lo mein noodles pre-boiled, (about 2 cups when cooked), from Asian markets lo mein noodles (yellow egg noodles)
- 1 whole medium-sized cucumber peeled, sliced
- 1 whole large tomato sliced in wedges
- 1 cup blanched fresh baby spinach
- 1 stalk scallions chopped, for garnish
- 1-2 pieces grilled pork ribs already cooked, for top of salad (optional)
- 1/2 cup sliced red or green bell peppers sliced, seeds removed, for garnish
- To make the Spicy Peanut Sauce : In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients – peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, ginger ale (or water). Blend well. Keep refrigerated in a covered container (for up to 1 week) till ready to use. This recipe makes about 1 cup of sauce for the salad.
- Prepare the lo mein noodles : Add the noodles to a medium pot filled with boiling water. Cook for about 40 seconds in the rapidly bubbling water. Remove the noodles and drain to remove excess water. Set the noodles aside.
- Using the same boiling water and medium pot, add the spinach leaves. Blanch for 10 seconds, remove from water and drain. Set them aside to dry.
- To assemble salad: When noodles have cooled down, pour half a cup first of the Spicy Peanut Sauce. Blend sauce well to incorporate within the noodles. Add a little more and keep blending within the noodles, being careful not to break the noodles in half.
- To the salad, add the cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach. Pour the rest of the spicy peanut sauce to the salad. Top with grilled rib pieces if desired. Garnish with scallions and red bell peppers all over. Chill salad in refrigerator till ready to eat.
- Cook’s comments: I buy the pre-boiled, soft, yellow Chinese egg noodles from the Asian supermarket for soups, stir-fry dishes or salads like this one. It comes in a 16 oz pack and it lasts for a week or 2 refrigerated. If lo mein noodles are not available, use cooked spaghetti noodles, the same amount for this recipe. You can be creative and add other chilled vegetables to the salad.
- Recipe Notes: The original recipe for the peanut dressing in the cookbook used regular soy sauce. I opted to use the low-sodium variety because the peanut butter was salty to begin with. Feel free to use regular soy sauce if that is what is convenient.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe?I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. I also have more classic recipes inspired by my mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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