Sesame Zucchini Noodle Salad
September 9, 2014 § Leave a comment
You know how sometimes you have a meal at a restaurant and can’t wait to recreate it at home? My mom is notorious for saying “I bet we can make this” after her first bite of something good when eating out. But, sometimes you have a dish at a restaurant that sort of misses the mark, and you (or at least I) feel the need to make it what you had imagined it to be when you placed your order…or looked at the menu online beforehand.
This salad ended up happening in my kitchen because at my friend Sami’s birthday dinner last weekend, we both ordered a salad with arugula, noodles, basil, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and a sesame vinaigrette. But, the salad kind of missed the mark. The basil leaves were left whole so they were overpowering, and the salad was overdressed. The flavor was promising, although a bit heavy-handed, so I decided to take a go at improving the recipe.
I had wanted to try The Kitchn’s technique of making zucchini noodles, so I figured I could replace the noodles in the original with those, bulk up the amount of arugula to balance out the strong flavors, and slice the basil in thin slivers.
I was a bit skeptical about the zucchini noodles at first, but they marinate in the dressing for a bit before you add them to the salad, so they get nice and soft, and super flavorful. I also cooked up some crispy tofu, which added some protein and a nice crunch to the salad, which the original was definitely missing.
The sesame vinaigrette makes this salad. I can’t get enough of it! It’s a nice departure from my typical lemon juice and olive oil. Hope you enjoy!
Sesame Zucchini Noodle Salad
Inspired by The Kitchn
For the Sesame Vinaigrette
From Martha Stewart
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Sea salt and ground pepper
- scant 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 teaspoons honey
- juice of a lemon
- generous 1/2 cup canola oil
- 4 tablespoons sesame oil
For the Salad
- 4 zucchini
- 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 cups arugula
- 6-8 leaves basil, sliced thinly
- 2 avocados, sliced
- 1/4 cup cashews
- One batch crispy tofu
- In a jar, mash the minced garlic and salt into a paste.
- Add the rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and lemon juice. Whisk to combine.
- Slowly drizzle in the canola and sesame oils, whisking constantly.
- Put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously to combine completely.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Use a vegetable peeler (or spiralizer or julienne slicer if you have one) to create long strands of zucchini noodles. Stop once you start seeing the seeds.
- In a medium bowl, pour a few tablespoons of the dressing over the zucchini and the cherry tomatoes. Toss until evenly coated and let sit for 10-15 minutes, so the zucchini noodles soften.
- Fill a large salad bowl with arugula, then add zucchini noodles, basil, avocado, cashews, and crispy tofu. Toss to combine, and add a few more tablespoons of the dressing as needed.
- If you plan on making a portion for now and saving the rest for later, you can keep the arugula and basil together, but keep the zucchini tomato mixture, the cashews, the crispy tofu, and the avocado slices in their own containers. When you are ready to make the rest, combine these ingredients with the dressing.