Shades of Green Asian Pasta Salad

Photo by: Joseph De Leo

by susan g

about 1 year ago

This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Arugula Recipe.

kukharka's Testing Notes:

Susan g reverses the usual pasta salad proportions to great effect, creating a greens-laden dish that still has enough heft to satisfy as a main course. The dressing straddles the line between sweet and savory, while cilantro, scallion, and cucumber add clean, bright, citrusy notes as well as playful texture alongside peppery arugula. Note: If you don't have time to let the flavors meld, go ahead and dig in as soon as it's assembled. Otherwise, if you can stand the wait, this is the perfect make-ahead picnic dish.

I make a basic Asian-style salad, which evolves and adapts to the season and the contents of my refrigerator. I love the flavors of the dressing -- the savory umami, the elusive saltiness of a good soy sauce, the bite of chiles and garlic. Add to that the bitterness of arugula, the sweetness of cucumber, stir in curly noodles to hold and distribute the sauce. Admire the colors... Now it's lunch!
The arugula is stirred into the sauce with the hot pasta to soften it a bit, while keeping it looking leafy. I like to 'chop' it by putting it in a wooden chopping bowl and running a pizza wheel through it from all angles. Makes quick work of it and tames that volume down easily.
Feel free to continue the change and modification process, and to balance the seasoning to your taste. I made it with gluten free noodles and tamari; everything else should be GF safe.

Serves 4 - 6

  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (canola, grapeseed)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili Garlic sauce, Huy Fong (Rooster) brand
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 5 ounces curly, twisted pasta
  • 2 ounces baby arugula, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots or scallions
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 3 or4 inch cucumber, greenhouse or pickling, halved and thinly sliced
  1. Whisk the dressing ingredients together -- from oil to garlic, in a large bowl.
  2. Cook and drain the pasta. Shake off the water. Add it to the dressing and stir in the chopped arugula. Let it cool.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients -- shallots, cilantro, cucumbers -- and mix well. Stir a few more times to distribute the dressing, which will be absorbed and leave everything shiny. Check the seasoning, then leave it a few hours to let the flavors develop. Stir again, check seasoning again. Serve at room temperature. For a longer period, store refrigerated.
  4. OPTIONAL: small cubes of tofu -- add with Step 3.

Nutrition Info:


  • 263 calories
  • 9g total fat
  • 1g saturated fat
  • 0mg cholesterol
  • 384mg sodium
  • 40g carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 8g sugar)
  • 7g protein
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