Thai Cucumber Noodle Salad

Don’t let the title of this recipe fool you- there are both cucumber noodles AND regular noodles in this pasta recipe. Phew. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let me describe it to you: crisp cucumber noodles and cooked spaghetti get a bath in a delicious nutty, gingery, garlicky, bright sauce. Sound good? Let’s make it!

Ingredients needed to make Thai Cucumber Noodle Salad

You need a few cucumbers, a half pound of your favorite long noodle variety, and a few other pantry and fridge staples to pull this dish off. Disclaimer: it makes quite a lot of noodle salad! Perfect for a large gathering, prepped lunches for the week, or one very hungry family. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cucumbers
  • Long, skinny pasta
  • Raw almonds
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Creamy almond butter
  • Coconut milk, canned
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Soy sauce, or gluten free Tamari
  • Curry powder
  • Cayenne pepper

Tools used to make Thai Cucumber Noodle Salad

While you don’t need a lot of equipment to make this dish, you absolutely need a spiralizer if you want to achieve the long cucumber noodles you see in the photo. If you don’t have one, you could always ribbon the cucumbers using a peeler, or just serve them chopped up in the salad (both would be great). Other than that, you’ll need basic equipment, including:

  • Large pot, for boiling noodles
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Small skillet or pan
  • Can opener

How to make Thai Cucumber Noodle Salad

This recipe is quite simple, but does require one key prep step to ensure your finished salad is crisp and saucy, NOT watery. That key step? Squeeze as much liquid out of your cucumber noodles as possible before adding them to the overall dish. To do this, begin by spiralizing the cucumbers. Lay the spiralized cucumbers onto a clean dish towel and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let sit for 5-10 minutes (the salt will draw out excess water), then gently squeeze them with the dish towel to get all that juice out of there. You’ll be really glad you did, because leaving the cucumbers as-is will make your noodle salad soggy, rather than delish.

Once your cucumbers have been prepped, the rest of the dish comes together in a flash. Boil the noodles until al dente, crush and toast the almonds, and whisk together the sauce. Then, mix everything together, plate on your favorite serving platter, and top with the almonds and some fresh cilantro. It’s so delicious and simple!

Looking for other simple recipes from The Ardent Cook?

Warm Spring Veggie and Wild Rice Salad

Creamy Sausage and Kale Rigatoni

Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas with Cucumber Raita

Recipe Ingredients

For the Noodles

2 medium cucumbers, spiralized

8oz spaghetti, or other long noodle of choice 

1/2 cup raw almonds, crushed

Fresh cilantro, for serving

For the Dressing

¾ cup creamy almond butter

¾ cup coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime (approx. 3 Tbsp) 

1 Tbsp minced ginger

1 Tbsp minced garlic

Handful cilantro (about 2 Tbsp minced)

2 Tbsp soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)

1 ½ tsp curry powder

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Recipe Instructions

  1. Make the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook according to package instructions.
  2. Prep the cucumber: Spiralize the cucumber. Lay cucumber onto a clean dish towel and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, allowing the salt the draw out excess liquid, then wrap in the dish towel and squeeze the liquid out gently.
  3. Make the dressing: In a mixing bowl (or the bowl of a food processor), combine almond butter, coconut milk, lime juice, minced ginger, minced garlic, cilantro, soy sauce, curry powder, and cayenne pepper. Whisk (or process) until thoroughly combined.
  4. Toast the almonds: Heat a clean, dry skillet over medium heat. Toast the nuts for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until light brown and fragrant.
  5. Assemble the salad: Combine cooked noodles and cucumber noodles with approximately 2/3 of the dressing. Serve topped with the toasted almonds, additional cilantro, and remaining sauce on the side. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Warm Spring Veggie and Wild Rice Salad

This salad is so good!!!!!! I can’t use enough exclamation marks to convey how delish it is. Picture your favorite spring veggies (which can totally be subbed out based on what you have at home), loads of fresh herbs, warm and fluffy wild rice, and an easy homemade lemon vinaigrette drizzled over top. It doesn’t get much better than that, in my opinion.

This dish is hearty enough to be a vegetarian main for lunch or dinner, or serve it with a protein of your choice, such as grilled chicken or broiled salmon. It’s great for meal prep, too! If meal prepping, I like to pack it with an extra wedge of lemon to give it a bright pop just before eating. Let’s make it!

Ingredients needed to make Warm Spring Veggie and Wild Rice Salad

You’ll need a few cups of cooked wild rice and a boat load of veggies to make this salad. I’ve listed the ones I used for this recipe (also the ones I believe taste the best), but don’t be afraid to substitute, omit, or embellish as desired. No veggie is a bad veggie in this salad. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wild rice blend
  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Shelled english peas
  • Scallions
  • Fresh dill
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh mint
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Honey
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

That’s really it! It sounds like a lot of ingredients, but the nice part is that most of them are found in the same area of the grocery store. So, you won’t have to do a lot of searching while shopping.

Tools used to make Warm Spring Veggie and Wild Rice Salad

I love this dish because it uses so few tools to pull together. I love batch cooking a grain on Sunday to use throughout the week ahead, so you could easily do that here! My favorite method for cooking wild rice* is as follows: combine 1 cup wild rice blend with 2 cups water or broth in the bowl of your Instant Pot, then cook at high pressure for 30 minutes. Let the Instant Pot naturally release the pressure and you’ll have perfectly fluffy (and hands-off) wild rice! Then, to make this a “warm” salad, I simply heat the rice over the stove or in the microwave before adding the other ingredients. You could do that, or just make your rice right before preparing the dish. Either option works.

If you cook your wild rice ahead of time, then your equipment list is literally this short:

If you cook your wild rice just before making this dish, you’ll need to add either an Instant Pot or a pot with a lid to your equipment list, as well as a dry measuring cup. Pretty simple stuff!

How to make Warm Spring Veggie and Wild Rice Salad

You’ll begin by cooking your rice, either in the Instant Pot or over the stove according to package directions. If using the Instant Pot, see above for my favorite method for cooking it*.

While the rice cooks, prepare the vegetables. Slice, dice, chop, mince, etc. and add it all to a bowl. To make the lemon vinaigrette, combine the juice of one lemon, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp honey, salt, and black pepper and whisk until emulsified.

When the rice is done, add ~2 cups cooked rice to the bowl with the prepared veggies and herbs. Add the dressing and toss thoroughly, seasoning with additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm or chilled!

Looking for other salad ideas?

Try these recipes from The Ardent Cook!

Celery Salad with Golden Raisins, Lemon, and Za’atar

Harissa Chicken Chopped Salad

Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Recipe Ingredients

1 cup dry wild rice blend

2 cups water or broth

3-5 small radishes, very thinly sliced or cut on mandoline

1 medium carrot, very thinly sliced or cut on mandoline

1 medium English cucumber, quartered then sliced

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 cup shelled English peas, blanched

1 cup mixed herbs, minced (I used parsley, dill, and mint- but anything works!)

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tbsp honey

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Make the wild rice. Combine wild rice and water or broth in a pot and cook according to package instructions. If using Instant Pot, cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, allow natural pressure release, then fluff with a fork.
  2. Prepare the vegetables. Slice radishes, carrot, cucumber, and scallions. Mince the herbs. Blanch the peas by boiling them in water until they just start to float (about 2 minutes), then drain and immediately rinse with very cold water. Add all the veggies to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Make the lemon vinaigrette. Combine juice of 1 lemon, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper. Whisk until emulsified.
  4. Once the rice is done, add ~2 cups cooked wild rice to the mixing bowl with the prepared veggies and herbs. Pour the lemon vinaigrette all over and mix very thoroughly.
  5. Season again with salt and pepper, and enjoy warm or serve chilled later.

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Celery Salad with Golden Raisins, Lemon, and Za’atar

Celery Salad with Golden Raisins, Lemon, and Za’atar is officially my segue into spring flavors. I love cold months so much, but one of the reasons I live where I do is for the distinct four seasons. If winter hadn’t already outstayed its welcome, it really made its place known with another unexpected, and pretty large, snow dump earlier this week. My car got stuck and I ended up staying late at work because I was literally trapped. Needless to say, I’ve had enough of winter.

Enter this celery salad and I was met with a little bit of joy in the otherwise cold and dreary days. It’s crisp, easy to pull together, and really adds an unexpected element to those heartier winter meals. I really love the balance in this salad!

This recipe was inspired by a favorite chef of mine, Joshua McFadden. His book, Six Seasons, is truly one of the most beautiful cookbooks I’ve ever read. Trust me- my collection is overflowing. In that cookbook, he has a recipe for a similar celery salad with dates, parmesan cheese, and various other delightful ingredients. This is basically a riff on that famous recipe. I took out the nuts that are present in his recipe and made the addition of za’atar in my recipe. I love nuts, but I found that we’ve been consuming a lot of them since adopting a gluten-free lifestyle. Whether its almond milk, almond flour, other nut flour blends, etc., it was just a lot of nuts. The za’atar is punchy and bright enough to stand up to the lemon in this dish, plus I just love the taste of it.

Nuts or not, this salad excels in every aspect. Read on for the how-to.

Ingredients needed to make Celery Salad with Golden Raisins, Lemon, and Za’atar

To make this celery salad, you really need to get yourself some celery. I implore you to skip the pre-cut celery hearts at your store and instead grab a full-blown head of celery, with the leaves attached. Those little celery leaves are so delicious chopped up and added into this salad, plus it’s just one other way you can reduce your food waste in the kitchen. Save the leaves!

Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Celery
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Golden raisins
  • Lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Za’atar spice blend
  • Sharp cheese, such as parmesan, aged provolone, pecorino romano
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Tools used to make Celery Salad with Golden Raisins, Lemon, and Za’atar

This salad requires super minimal equipment. You’ll need a large cutting board, sharp knife, large mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, a whisk or fork, and measuring cups and spoons. Pretty simple!

How to make Celery Salad with Golden Raisins, Lemon, and Za’atar

To begin, combine the thinly sliced celery and leaves, torn romaine, and golden raisins in your large mixing bowl. I like to cut the celery on the bias to make it look pretty for serving, but you can cut it any way your heart pleases. I also like the rustic look of the torn romaine leaves, but you could roughly chop them if you must.

In the smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, za’atar, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Whisking constantly, stream the olive oil into the lemon juice mixture and keep whisking until a vinaigrette forms. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, toss, and season once more with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving plate.

At the end, I’ll sometimes garnish with more golden raisins. Sometimes they sink to the bottom of the salad, and I like a few to be resting on top so folks know whats in the salad they’re about to eat. Finally, you’ll top it all with your shaved sharp cheese of choice. SO delicious!

Looking for other quick and fresh salads?

Try these recipes from The Ardent Cook

Harissa Chicken Chopped Salad

Harvest Kale Salad with Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese, and Golden Raisins

Broccoli Salad with Quick Homemade Ranch

Charred Corn Salad with Cumin Lime Vinaigrette

Recipe Ingredients

8-10 stalks celery, stalks thinly sliced, leaves roughly chopped

6 romaine leaves, torn

¼ cup golden raisins

Juice of 1 lemon

Scant ¼ cup olive oil

1 tsp za’atar 

2 oz sharp cheese, such as parmesan or aged provolone, shaved 

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Combine celery and leaves, torn romaine, and golden raisins in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a smaller mixing bowl, combine lemon juice, za’atar, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Whisking constantly, stream the olive oil into the lemon mixture and continue whisking until a vinaigrette forms.
  3. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette, season once more with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving bowl or plate.
  4. Top with the shaved cheese and additional golden raisins if desired. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Curried Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! While this MDW is looking much different than years prior, we can still celebrate the beautiful weather with delicious food and family (from a distance, of course).

This Curried Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas is the perfect addition to your weekend barbecue menu. The kale is hearty and can be made ahead, as it doesn’t go soggy like most other greens. Other bonus? The creamy dressing is completely vegan (thank you tahini), so it won’t be an issue if left out in the sun for a bit too long. If you don’t have tahini, any neutral nut butter will work in its place. I would recommend natural and unsweetened almond or cashew butter. If you do substitute the tahini, make sure whatever you’re using in its place is as runny as possible (i.e., from a newly opened jar with a good amount of oil content). If you use a nut butter that is too firm, your dressing will be difficult to whisk together. If this happens, try adding 1-2 TBSP hot water to loosen everything up!

The most difficult part of this salad is letting the chickpeas crisp in the oven without growing impatient. They do take a solid 25-30 minutes to get totally crisp, but they’re so worth it. The nice part about waiting for the chickpeas to roast is that you give the kale a chance to sit and tenderize in some of the creamy curry dressing, so it becomes silkier and less chewy!

You can top this salad with anything that sounds delicious to you, although I highly recommend the feta, scallions, and dried cranberries in addition to those chickpeas. Other great options would be olives, nuts, or additional veggies.

Regarding the dressing… it’s addictive. In addition to a salad dressing, you can use it as a dip for crudités, a sauce for grilled proteins, or in place of the mayonnaise in chicken or tuna salad.

I hope you keep this salad in mind when you’re planning that MDW menu. Get creative with the toppings and enjoy this low-stress, healthy side that doesn’t skimp on flavor. If you make this salad, don’t forget to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram!

Ingredients

2 bunches kale, de-stemmed and leaves finely sliced

¼ cup tahini (see recipe notes above)

Juice of 3 lemons

2 tablespoons soy sauce 

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 tsp coconut sugar

½ tsp salt, plus more to taste

¼ tsp black pepper

Raisins or dried cranberries, for topping

Thinly sliced green onion, for topping

Feta, for topping

Crispy roasted chickpeas, for topping (see recipe below) 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Rinse and thoroughly dry a can of chickpeas. Toss with olive oil, and a pinch each of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
  3. Spread the chickpeas out into a single layer on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crispy, about 25-30 minutes.
  4. While the chickpeas bake, prepare the salad. Wash, dry, and remove the stems from 2 bunches of kale. I love to use a mix of lacinato (dinosaur) and curly kale.
  5. Using a very sharp knife, gather the leaves and thinly slice the kale into strips. The thinner you slice, the more tender the salad will taste overall. Add to a large salad bowl.
  6. Prepare the dressing. In a separate bowl, combine tahini, lemon juice, soy sauce, curry powder, coconut sugar, salt, and pepper and whisk until emulsified. Pour 1/2 of the dressing onto the kale and massage it into the leaves with your hands. Cover and let rest at room temperature while the chickpeas finish crisping.
  7. Assemble the salad. Thinly slice scallions and scatter on top of the salad, along with the crispy chickpeas, dried cranberries, and crumbled feta. Drizzle on the remaining dressing, or serve on the side. Enjoy!
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