This cold rice noodle salad with crunchy cucumbers, summer squash, herbs, peanuts and chiles is refreshing and light—perfect for sultry summer evenings.
Baby, it’s HOT outside
It is currently hot. Stand-still-and-sweat hot. I hate hot. Whereas James, who grew up in Atlanta, thinks the perfect day is ninety-five degrees with ninety percent humidity, this kind of weather turns me into an irritated puddle (give me seventy-five degrees and zero humidity, please). We eat outside every night in the summer, but on really steaming days, the only way James can convince me to leave our air-conditioned kitchen is with a cold supper (and preferably an ice-cold bottle of wine).
Rice noodle salad to the rescue!
This is one of my favorite hot-as-Hades dinners. Rice noodles get tossed with summer squash, cucumbers, peanuts, chiles and a slew of fresh mint and basil. A lime vinaigrette, seasoned with garlic, ginger, honey, fish sauce and sesame oil, ties everything together. The vinaigrette calls for 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce, according to taste, since fish sauce can vary pretty widely in intensity and flavor. I highly recommend Red Boat brand, which has an incredible, balanced flavor (I always go for 2 tablespoons). I should also mention that I kept the salad pretty mild because of my kids (who love it as much as we do), but feel free to spice it up to your tastes by adding a second chile, or by drizzling it with chile sauce or sriracha.
The salad is lovely on it’s own but is especially delicious with grilled shrimp. I always skewer my shrimp to prevent them from falling between the grates, and a good tip is to double up on the skewers. That way, the shrimp don’t twirl around like ballerinas, which makes them difficult to flip.
Stay cool, my friends!
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Thai-Style Rice Noodle Salad
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 1 large garlic clove , grated
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil
- 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces rice noodles (fettuccini style)
- ½ medium English cucumber , halved and thinly sliced
- 1 medium yellow squash , halved and thinly sliced
- ½ cup lightly packed fresh mint , coarsely chopped
- ½ cup lightly packed basil , coarsely chopped
- 1-2 red chiles (such as jalapeños or serranos), to taste, thinly sliced
- 2 large scallions , thinly sliced, plus more for serving
- ½ cup roasted , salted peanuts, coarsely chopped, plus more for serving
- Grilled shrimp or chicken (optional)
- Sriracha or chile sauce , for serving (optional)
- In a bowl or jar, combine the lime juice, rice vinegar, garlic and ginger. Let sit 5-10 minutes. Add the honey, sesame oil, vegetable oil and 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce to taste. Season with salt and pepper, and whisk or shake to combine. Do Ahead: The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
- Cook the rice noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles and rinse in cold water.
- Place the noodles in a large bowl and add the cucumber, squash, mint, basil, chiles (to taste, depending on how spicy you like it), scallions and peanuts. Pour the dressing over top, and toss to coat. Taste and season with salt as needed. Garnish with additional peanuts and scallions. If you’d like, top with grilled shrimp or chicken. Serve with sriracha or chile sauce for drizzling, if desired.