Monday, August 1, 2011

Brown Rice Noodle Salad with "Best Ever" Cilantro Peanut Dressing

Well...truth be told we plan vacations around the nearest Chipotle and Cheesecake Factory. We go to the Cheesecake Factory to SHARE this amazing huge salad that has an amazing dressing on's our favourite thing. We even order an extra dish of it to dip our bread into!! Obsessed? Maybe a tad:) We just know when something tastes good:)

I finally decided that it was time to replicate this dressing! This was my first shot at it...for company Friday night (always a risky thing to try something new for company!!)...but it was a success if I do say so myself! The salad complimented it well too, although I forgot to take a picture of the massive platter that I created the salad on!! I recreated a smaller version the next day and took a photo. This salad was our complete meal, with chicken skewers on the side. An amazing and affordable meal to entertain with...just be sure your guests like cilantro!!

As a side note...the salad we order this dressing with at Cheesecake Factory is nothing like this one, it's more of a Mexican tostada type salad...but it went REALLY well with this style of salad too!

The brown rice noodles I used are a healthier alternative to the white rice noodles often found in Thai food. They can be tricky to find, so white would totally work as well. In Kelowna, they are available at Choices, Superstore and Bulk Food Store (listed most $ to least $). I usually stock up when I find them:) They are great to keep on hand for a quick stir-fry dinner or whatever (soak dried noodles in hot water for 5 minutes...done!).

Brown Rice Noodle Salad

Layer any amount of the following things...options are endless...this is what I used:
Brown Rice Noodles (soaked and left to dry so wetness is gone)
Chopped Carrots
Garden Fresh Peas
Sprouts of any kind...I used Alfalfa and Sunflower
Shredded Red Cabbage
Sliced Cucumbers
Chopped Cilantro..we are fans:)
Chopped Mango
Chopped Cashew Pieces

"Best Ever" Cilantro Peanut Dressing
(substitutions in bold italics make this dressing Whole30 friendly!)

3 whole big cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp fresh ginger
2 bunches cilantro, (rinsed well, most of stalk ends trimmed off)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp wine/rice/apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp honey (brown rice syrup to make it a vegan dish) 1 softened date
1/2 cup olive/avocado oil
3-4 Tbsp peanut butter almond butter
1-2 Tbsp tamari (soy sauce) coconut aminos
Dashes of hot sauce...whatever your liking:)

Throw all ingredients into food processor, except olive oil. Once everything is pureed and blended, slowly stream olive oil in so that the dressing becomes emulsified:)

I now wish I would have tripled the amount of cilantro I grew this year...I will be making this dressing weekly!! If you're not fans of cilantro, you could try making it with parsley. Results would be similar, but likely not as good:)

Enjoy...invite company over for this one:) A great summer meal to enjoy on the patio with some Sangria...that's what we did!!

ps...notice a 'slight' improvement in the photo quality??!! I'm trying...and enjoying...

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