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5 Simple Salad Recipes with Rice Noodles

Rice noodles are thin, delicate noodles that are made from rice flour and water and found across the entire spectrum of Asian cooking. Versatile, tasty and incredibly fast to prepare, rice noodles can be used in stir fries, soups and broths, salads and hot dishes.

They work incredibly well in salads and provide an easy way to bulk out your dish, providing texture, energy-giving carbohydrates and a fantastic vehicle for absorbing tasty dressings and sauces. You can also buy rice noodles ready cooked and keep them chilled in your fridge, ready for adding to your dish, or simply prepare them in advance.

So let's take a look at some easy salad recipes to experiment with this hard-working kitchen multi-tasker.

Buy rice noodles for these easy salads

1. Zesty noodle salad

Prepare your rice noodles and place them in your bowl with thinly sliced carrots, a sliced red onion and a handful of coriander and mint leaves. To make your dressing, combine a tablespoon of fish sauce, two of caster sugar, a little oil, thinly sliced red chillis and the juice of three limes. Stir everything briskly and add a handful of toasted cashew nuts for crunch.

2. Summer fresh rice noodle salad

Thinly slice the light and white parts of scallions, a pepper, cucumber and carrots, and add a handful of sugar snap peas and a similar amount of fresh torn coriander. For the dressing, combine light soy sauce, mince garlic, sesame oil and a little caster sugar to taste. This salad can be customized as required and if you make it overnight, the flavors will combine beautifully.

3. Minced pork salad

Fry lean mince pork in garlic and Chinese five-spice, and allow to cool. Mix it with your precooked rice noodles, and freshly sliced scallions and cucumber. Combine the ingredients and stir in a little sesame oil and soy sauce to taste. Chill before serving.

4. Smoked tofu salad

Fry smoked tofu in garlic, chilli and ginger, with julienne carrots and a handful of thinly sliced kale and allow to cool. In a bowl, add cooked rice noodles and sliced radishes, red pepper and any fresh vegetables that appeal. Combine the ingredients and add fresh coriander, a handful of sesame seeds and sesame oil, soy sauce and freshly squeezed limes to taste.

5. Spicy rice noodle salad

Prepare your noodles and allow them to cool. In a bowl, combine garlic, fish sauce, chilli paste, rice vinegar, salt and brown sugar. Stir in thinly sliced radishes, carrots, scallions, coriander, mint and basil. Toss in toasted peanuts, sesame oil and the rice noodles. Garnish with extra peanuts and scallions and top with prawns or grilled chicken to taste.

Tips for success

Buy rice noodles from a quality supplier such as King Soba so that you have authentic ingredients which will taste the part and yield great results. Follow cooking instructions carefully and avoid over-cooking so that the noodles retain their texture. Last but not least, allow salad ingredients to sit for at least half an hour in the fridge so that the flavours really combine and intensify, and so the rice noodles absorb the sauces for the most intense, complex and mouth-watering results. Delicious!