lunchbox life: rice noodle salad with tahini dressing, miso chicken, and veggies

image1(14)Sugar snap peas, bok choy, radishes, pickled cucumbers, a refrigerator door full of sauces, and no desire to go to the grocery store?

This is where I was yesterday afternoon, but what happy laziness it turned out to be.

I love a cold noodle salad, particularly when the weather heats up. When you’re watching your nutrition, though, it’s important to bulk up your noodle salads with lots of veggies for volume, fiber, and energy. In this recipe, I stretched 2 full servings of rice noodles over 5 lunches, making up for my noodle deficit with jewels from my farm share. The noodles are still there, but they’re not the majority of the dish. I’ve bulked up this noodles salad with veggies and chicken with a quick miso paste marinade.

This noodle salad is all about the umami–that mysterious 5th taste that combines the other four: sweet, salty, bitter, and sour–mainly from the base sauce of tahini, sriracha, soy sauce, and canola oil. The crunch from the raw bok choy, sugar snaps, and radishes welcome springtime with crispness and the rice noodles are a soft addition that bind the rest of the ingredients together. Yum.

The veggies I’ve used are just a suggestion based on my availability. I suggest at least one leafy green and one crunchy vegetable for texture.

Rice Noodle Salad with Tahini Dressing, Miso Chicken, and Veggies

2 oz. rice noodles

2 Tbsp. tahini paste

1 Tbsp. sriracha

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 Tbsp. water

2 large chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks

1/3 cup miso paste

2 stems of green garlic, chopped (you may substitute green onions here)

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 bunch of baby bok choy, cut into 1/2 inch ribbons

2 cups sugar snap peas

6 radishes, sliced into thin 1/4-inch coins

1/4 cup pickled cucumbers (or fresh), sliced

Combine the chicken and miso paste in a plastic freezer bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes for a quick marinade. Bring about 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot, then add the noodles and cook according the package directions (approximately 5 minutes). Next, remove the noodles from the hot water and rinse in cold water; set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. canola oil over medium high heat in a large frying pan and add the green garlic or green onions. Next, add the miso and chicken to the pan and spread the chicken pieces out in one layer. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, then turn off the heat.

In a small jar, add 1 Tbsp. canola oil, tahini paste, sriracha, soy sauce, and water, twist the lid on tight, and shake vigorously to combine. Evenly divide the sauce between 5 tall mason jars (about 3 Tbsp. each). Next, evenly divide the rice noodles, then the sugar snap peas, radishes, bok choy, pickled cucumber, and chicken. Screw on each lid and enjoy when you’re ready by dumping the contents out in a bowl and stirring to combine.

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