Asian Pasta Salad with Lemongrass

4 August, 2016

Asian Pasta Salad with Lemongrass

An easy, refreshing and flavor-packed pasta salad perfect for summer picnics!

If I could eat pasta every day, I would. It's hands down my favorite food group. However, there's a big difference between enjoying a bowl of warm and comforting pasta in the winter versus a bowl of heavy pasta in the summer. So, of course, that's where our beloved pasta salad comes into play.

For this month's recipe, I wanted to showcase Lemongrass in an Asian-inspired sauce. After Italian food, Thai is my ultimate go-to, so are you really that surprised that we're looking at a pasta salad with lemongrass sauce? Didn't think so. What's great about this recipe is how quickly it comes together. I'm pretty sure I had this on the table in less than 30 minutes. If you pre-chop your veggies, it's probably a 15-minute meal which is even better on busy summer nights. This is a simple recipe - it's not fussy and doesn't have a huge ingredient list, but for me, in the summer, this is exactly the type of food I love to cook. I paired this with some Korean BBQ chicken skewers I picked up from the store and it was the ideal weeknight, alfresco meal. 

Asian Pasta Salad with Lemongrass

For the pasta and veggies

  • 1 red pepper, julienned
  • 1 orange pepper, julienned
  • 1 yellow pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 cup pea pods, chopped
  • 1/2 lb udon noodles (can cook 1lb and make more sauce, can also use soba or thin spaghetti)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds

For the dressing

  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemongrass stir-in paste
  • 1 tsp lightly dried ginger
  • 1 tsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili pepper stir-in paste
  • 1/2 tsp miso paste (optional)
  • 1 tsp ponzu sauce (optional) 

Heat a pot of water to boiling. Meanwhile, julienne peppers and pea pods and set aside. For the dressing, whisk together all ingredients until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. You could blend everything together for a smoother sauce, but I whisked consistently for a few minutes and it was fine - total preference. Once the water is boiling, add the noodles and cook for 4 minutes, or until al-dente. In the last 30 seconds of cooking the noodles, add the frozen peas until bright green in color and cooked through.

Drain the peas and pasta together and immediately run cold water over everything to stop the cooking and keep the noodles from sticking together. In a large serving bowl, add the pasta and veggie mixture. Add in the sauce and mix well to combine. Top with sesame seeds. You can let this marinate in the refrigerator (the flavors will intensify the longer you let it sit) if you'd like, but I ate mine right away. 

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