Can we please talk about this salad? It is such a refreshing change from all the soups and stews I’ve been eating for the past several months. Nothing against soups and stews, of course – in fact, I kind of love them. But at this time of year, I start craving really bright, fresh flavours to help me combat the winter blues. Cue the perfectly ripe mango, sweet bell peppers, crunchy carrots, cute tiny cucumbers and mountains of fresh herbs. The perfect thing if you’re itching to get away somewhere warm, but are having to stay put in your icy part of the world all. winter. long. —Justine C.
rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
toasted sesame oil
1 to 2
cloves of garlic, peeled (depending how garlicky you want it to be)
fine sea salt
smooth natural peanut butter
1 to 2 teaspoons
sambal oelek (depending how spicy you want it to be)
Neutral-flavoured oil, for tossing with noodles
medium carrots, peeled and julienned
small mango, peeled and thinly sliced
Persian cucumbers (the small kind), thinly sliced in rounds
bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
scallions, trimmed and sliced
2 to 4 cups
washed and dried fresh herbs (I like a mix of mint, Thai basil, and cilantro)
Put all ingredients in an upright blender, and blend until completely smooth. You can also do this in a measuring cup, using an immersion blender. Extra dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Cook vermicelli according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Then transfer to serving bowl and toss with a bit of oil to keep the noodles from sticking together.
Top noodles with the mango, pepper, cucumber, carrot, scallion and herbs, finishing with the peanuts.