Layered spinach noodle salad with lime-ginger dressing
Makes 4 servings
If time permits, top the layers of crunchy vegetables with grilled fresh tuna rather than using canned tuna. Or if you prefer, transform this into a colorful vegetarian salad -- just omit the tuna entirely.
8 ounces spinach egg noodles
For the dressing
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon sugar
Dash of ground white pepper, or to taste
To complete the recipe
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
½ red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
½ yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 scallions, coarsely chopped
6 cups coarsely shredded salad spinach leaves (about 6 ounces); remove and discard stems, then shred leaves
One 6-ounce can water-packed solid white albacore tuna, drained and flaked
Toasted pine nuts for garnish
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat; add the noodles. When the water returns to a boil, stir occasionally to separate the noodles. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package instructions.
While the noodles are cooking, whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Toss together the sprouts, bell peppers and scallions in a small bowl.
When the noodles are done, drain and rinse well in cold water, then drain again.
Transfer the noodles to a medium bowl. Add ¼ cup of the dressing and toss. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To assemble, layer the ingredients on individual salad plates as follows: shredded spinach, noodles, bell pepper mixture, and tuna. Drizzle each salad with about 2 tablespoons of the remaining dressing.
Covered and refrigerated, the dressing will keep for up to 2 days. The noodles can be tossed with dressing, and the bell pepper mixture can be prepared early the day the salad is to be served; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and assemble the salads just before serving.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.