Weeknight Cooking

Summer Cold Noodle Salad

July 28, 2014

For those nights when you get home hungry, stressed, and impatient, Hangry is here to help. Each Monday, Kendra Vaculin will share quick, exciting meals that anyone can make -- whether you're in your first apartment or feeding a hangry family.

Today: A fresh play on leftovers -- with hardly any cooking involved.

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World: Welcome to Hangry. My name is Kendra, and in perhaps the most successful move of my brazen youth, I recently conned Food52 into letting me hang out here once a week. I am a 23-year-old city-living lady, perpetually stirring up trouble, and eggs. My plan is to share a bit of that mess with you every Monday, with recipes you can make any night of the week.

Hangry, for the rock dwellers and portmanteau-impaired, is a combination of hungry and angry, most often used to describe the brand of cranky a person gets when it’s been too long between meals. I’ve adopted it as a rallying cry.

My belief is this: Being young (or not) and working (or not) and busy (or not) and broke (or not) does not marry you to the pile of take-out menus on your kitchen counter. I am in no way monogamous with cooking -- trysts with delivery curry keep me sane, and I am an avid seeker of brunch -- but my kitchen and I are going fairly steady, and it's awesome. Making interesting, seasonal meals once in a while is way easier (and much more gratifying) than some of my peers might think.

More: Before you get cooking, stock up on our community's must-have pantry items.

This is a column about everyday cooking, things that you want to be eating, and recipes that won't stress you out. It’s not going to be fancy (except for sometimes); it’s mostly just going to be real. Let's start with lunch.

Vermicelli are those almost-translucent Chinese rice noodles you can find in the Asian section of most grocery stores. I'll boil a whole package when I have a spare moment and keep it in the fridge so that it's ready to become a cold salad, fast. (You can also use other rice noodles, like the ones we used here, or soba or udon.) Add a quickly-whisked dressing and a handful of chopped produce, and you're done. It’s like morning-after Chinese food, but cold on purpose -- and perfectly summery. 

Cold Rice Noodle Salad

Makes 3 servings

For the salad:

1⁄2 pound rice noodles


1⁄4 cup thinly sliced red pepper

1⁄4 cup shredded or thinly sliced carrots

1⁄4 cup shredded cabbage (or chopped spinach, or some other green)
Sesame seeds

For the dressing:

2 teaspoons peanut butter

1 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for tossing
1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1⁄2 teaspoon minced ginger
Salt, to taste

See the whole recipe (and save it and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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A fan of female driven comedies, a good beat, your hair today, and making foods for friends.


B L. July 30, 2014
This hangry old man likes your column...
Shalini July 30, 2014
Way to go, Kendra! Looking forward to not being as hangry anymore!
Kendra V. July 30, 2014
HIDE YO KIDS HIDE YO WIFE we dehangrifying all yall
Connie T. July 29, 2014
Awesome!! Love your new column!
emily O. July 29, 2014
kendra is the best
Valentina S. July 28, 2014
I really like this recipe. And I am laughing my a$$ off reading your blog and I social media stalked you and I can say I really like you, too. AND your column, obviously <3
Kendra V. July 28, 2014
valentina! this is all fantastic news.
boulangere July 28, 2014
I love chilled noodle salads!
Joy B. July 28, 2014
I am so insanely excited about this column.
Kendra V. July 28, 2014
ugh joy. me too.
Marian B. July 29, 2014