June 14, 2011 by Sara Kreidler
I recently had an awesome salad at my favorite bar – the menu described it as “sweet tahini dressed sesame noodles with crunchy pickled vegetables, toasted almonds, and greens in a ginger-lime vinegar dressing.” It was so tasty; I’m a sucker for cold sesame noodles and, as evidenced by the sundry pickle posts on this site, pickles of all varieties. So I decided to try to recreate the salad.
Step one is to make refrigerator pickles. By “refrigerator pickles” I mean that I did not process the pickles in a water bath because I knew I was going to use them right away and instead stored them in the fridge (as opposed to properly canned pickles, which would be shelf stable). I’ve made this salad before with carrot and cucumber pickles, but this time I was out of carrot pickles (because, um, I ate them all) and instead used a combination of dilly beans, radish and cucumber pickles. Check out the earlier posts on making dilly beans and carrot, radish and cucumber pickles (spoiler alert: it’s the same simple recipe for all of them). Adding pickles to a salad may seem a little odd, but these pickles are very spicy because I add a lot of red chile flakes to the pickle brine, and the spicy/salty/crunchy pickles work really well with the cold sesame noodles and the ginger dressing (more on those elements below).
Step two is making cold sesame noodles. I used udon noodles (the bar used soba, and I think thin spaghetti would work too in a pinch) that I had in the pantry and it turned out great.
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything.
- 12 ounces dried noodles (soba, udon, spaghetti)
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon prepared chili garlic sauce
- Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add noodles and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse noodles in cold water until cool.
- Transfer noodles to a large mixing bowl. Add sesame oil and toss until noodles are well coated.
- In small mixing bowl, combine tahini, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, chili garlic sauce and 2 tablespoons hot water. Whisk until smooth and creamy.
- Pour sauce over noodles and toss until noodles are completely coated. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate and serve cold. Makes great leftovers.
The salad is comprised of mixed baby field greens and green leaf lettuce from this week’s CSA box. I dressed the greens with ginger dressing (I used Annie’s ”Light Gingerly Vinaigrette”), then scooped a half cup or so of the cold sesame noodles on top, and added handful of thinly sliced cucumber and radish pickles and some chopped dilly beans.