Thai Noodle/Pasta Salad with Shrimp and Vegetables

Thai Noodle/Pasta Salad
Lively Thai Noodle/Pasta Salad!. D.Schmidt for
    23 mins

This easy salad is super-delicious and virtually fat free!  Asian rice noodles - or fettuccini pasta noodles - are tossed in an array of fresh vegetables, shrimp, and herbs for the best pasta salad you'll have all summer. The oil-free dressing is extremely tasty, bursting with the quintessential tastes of Thai cooking. Make the full recipe and keep in the refrigerator to enjoy anytime, whether for a quick and easy lunch, or for a refreshing summer dinner.

What You'll Need

  • 10 - 12 oz. (400-450 g) rice noodles OR fettuccine-style pasta noodles
  • 1 cup small cooked shrimp, thawed and drained if frozen
  • 1 red or green chili, de-seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 3 spring (green) onions, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh coriander/cilantro, lightly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, lightly chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts or cashews, unsalted, and left whole or lightly chopped
  • 1/3 cup lime juice (about 2 limes, juiced)
  • 4 Tbsp. fish sauce (available at Asian/Chinese stores)
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2-3 tsp. sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 1-3 tsp. chili sauce OR 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper OR crushed chili (adjust to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

How to Make It

  1. Prepare noodles according to the directions on the package - you want them 'al dente'. Rinse noodles with cold water, drain, and set aside.
  2. Prepare salad dressing by mixing all dressing ingredients together in a cup or small bowl until sugar dissolves. Taste-test for sour/sweetness, adding more sugar as desired. Note that the taste of the dressing will be very "zing-y" at this point because of the lime juice - it will taste milder when distributed among the noodles.
  1. Prepare the vegetables and shrimp, and place them in a very large salad or mixing bowl. Add the herbs and nuts too. Stir the dressing once more and pour over, tossing well to mix.
  2. Now add the noodles and toss again (note: This salad requires a lot of tossing to distribute the dressing, vegetables, herbs, shrimp and peanuts throughout the noodles). Once well-tossed, taste-test the noodles, adding more fish sauce if not salty or tasty enough.
  3. You can serve this salad immediately, or cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to eat (this salad will keep for up to 3 days, and makes great workday lunches!). Serve right out of the bowl, or lift and place onto a serving platter or individual bowls. Garnish with a few extra sprigs of the fresh herbs, plus some chopped peanuts. For those who like it extra spicy, Thai chili sauce can be served on the side, either store-bought or my own homemade Nam Prik Pao Chili Sauce Recipe. ENJOY!