Asian Shrimp and Noodle Salad

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Whenever I get the opportunity to cook on Charlotte Today, a local lifestyle and entertainment morning show in Charlotte, North Carolina, I have a blast. It’s the one time in my life when I can dirty a bunch of dishes and someone else has to wash them. Each time I appear on the show, I try to come up with seasonal dishes made with typical pantry ingredients. I’m not a five-ingredient cook, so my recipes tend to have a good number of ingredients that work together to make a great meal. Cooking relaxes me, so I don’t mind all the chopping and prep work that goes along with fresh ingredients.

For the summer, I wanted to offer a recipe that highlighted seasonal produce and family get-togethers. I came up with a cold noodle salad that assembles rather quickly and is more filling than a traditional salad. This Asian-inspired salad uses pantry staples and is loaded with layers of complex flavors. This summertime meal offers a balance of sweet, savory, and spicy. The colorful salad is easy to make ahead and doubles perfectly to feed a crowd at picnics and potluck dinners. Even the kids will like it. It’s a fun way to get them to eat their vegetables.

Let me know when you make this recipe. Take a picture and hashtag it #QUEENCITYKITCHEN. I can’t wait to see what you post!

Asian Shrimp and Noodle Salad
Makes 8 servings

Salad
Kosher salt
1 pound thin spaghetti
½ pound sugar snap peas
1 lime, quartered
1½ pounds medium shrimp, shells on and deveined
3 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
½ English cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced
4 green onions (white and green parts), sliced diagonally
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
¼ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, torn
¼ cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
½ cup peanuts, coarsely chopped

Dressing
¼ cup cilantro, loosely packed
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
½ -inch piece ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
½ cup canola oil
⅓ cup coconut milk
⅓ cup peanut butter
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons sweet chili paste
Juice 1 lime
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon coarse-ground pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, bring another pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sugar snap peas and cook until crisp tender, about 1 minute. Remove the sugar snap peas from the water with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water to cool. Transfer the peas to a large bowl.

Add the lime to the water and bring to a boil again. Add the shrimp and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the shrimp uncovered until pink and just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Drain and transfer the shrimp to a bowl of ice water. Peel the shrimp and add to the bowl with the snap peas.

Pulse all the dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Combine the spaghetti, shrimp, cabbage, sugar snap peas, peppers, cucumber, green onions and carrots in a large bowl. Pour in the dressing and add the cilantro, basil, and mint. Toss the salad to coat. Garnish with the peanuts.

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