Spicy Cold Asian Noodle Salad

I first became aware of the dynamic duo that is Phoebe Lapine and Cara Eisenpress (aka the “Quarter-Life Cooks”) through our mutual participation on food52. I fell hard for their recipes and immediately became a fan of the blog they co-write: Big Girls, Small Kitchen. When I met Cara and Phoebe in New York City last winter (at the blogger cookie swap, where I took this picture), I was even more impressed: they are lovely and I enjoyed spending time with them.

I was not at all surprised to hear they were working on their first book. Despite their youth, these ladies have serious talent. They’ve been friends since middle school and that friendship has developed into a truly fabulous cooking and writing partnership. When In the Small Kitchen: 100 Recipes from Our Year of Cooking in the Real World was released last week, I was thrilled to receive a copy for review.

In the Small Kitchen is an absolute treasure. The elements of memoir make it incredibly charming, but the beautifully photographed recipes make you want to get into the kitchen and cook each and every one. I am, um, quite a bit older than Phoebe and Cara (and my kitchen isn’t small), but I am still learning a lot from this book. I particularly love their advice about entertaining (they clearly excel at cooking for crowds).

I’ve made three of the recipes from the book so far, and all have been terrific.

The first one I am sharing with you, this refreshing and healthy spicy cold Asian noodle salad (which I slightly adapted from the book so it’s gluten-free and has an almond sauce instead of a peanut one), was a big hit with my family. It reminds me of the delicious peanut butter noodles my brother and I used to get from the Chinese restaurant across the street from our NYC apartment when we were kids, but it’s way better.

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I’m happy to say I have an extra copy of the book to give away to one of my readers! To enter the giveaway:

1. Let me know if you have a small or big kitchen in the comments section below.

2. For an second entry, follow me and BGSK on twitter, then leave a comment letting me know you did (or that you already do).

3. For a third entry, “like” Healthy Green Kitchen and Small Kitchen on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know that you did (or that you already do).

This giveaway is open until next Monday, June 6, 2011 at midnight, then I will choose a winner using random.org. Make sure I have your email so I can contact you if you win; please note the giveaway is only open to US residents.

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Recipe for Spicy Asian Noodle Salad with Almond Sauce

Adapted from the recipe for Noodles with BGSK Peanut Sauce that appears in the book In the Small Kitchen: 100 Recipes from Our Year of Cooking in the Real World
Serves 4


  • *1 tablespoons fresh ginger peeled and diced
  • *1 clove garlic peeled and chopped
  • *1/4 cup palm sugar or organic brown sugar
  • *1/2 teaspoon crushed chile flakes
  • *1/2 cup smooth all-natural almond or peanut butter
  • *1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • *2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce I used Annie's brand vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • *1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • *3 tablespoons sesame oil divided
  • *1/2-3/4 pound spaghetti-style rice noodles I like Tinkyada brand or udon noodles if you don't need the dish to be gluten-free
  • *2 bunches baby bok choy ends trimmed off and chopped
  • *1 bunch scallions or early spring onions use the green parts in the salad, and garnish with the minced whites, if you like
  • *1 large cucumber peeled, seeded and julienned
  • *minced cilantro to garnish the salad- optional
  • *Sriracha sauce for serving- optional
  • *1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds- optional


  • 1. In a food processor or blender, pulse together the ginger, garlic, and sugar. Add the chile flakes, almond or peanut butter, tamari, Worcestershire sauce, rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil, and 1/3 cup water and process again until smooth. Transfer to a smaller bowl and refrigerate sauce for at least an hour.
  • 2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Toss bok choy into the boiling water with the noodles for the last minute of so of cooking. Drain and rinse with cold water to chill the noodles, then toss with the 1 tablespoon of sesame oil.
  • 3. Mix noodles and blanched bok choy with the chilled sauce (which you can thin with a little boiling water if it's thickened up after refrigeration), the scallions, and the julienned cucumber. Garnish with cilantro and toasted sesame seeds before serving, and douse with some Sriracha, if desired.

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55 thoughts on “Spicy Cold Asian Noodle Salad”

  1. Pingback: Healthy Green Kitchen Coconut Banana Pancakes (Gluten-Free)
  2. Winnie, this pasta is gorgeous & I love the idea of that almond sauce.
    It is vegetarian week at Get Grillin’ we would love if you submitted up to any 3 recipes (they don’t have to be grilled) to our link up. This one would be perfect!
    This week we have a ManPans giveaway. http://su.pr/3GCtXU

  3. I have a pretty large kitchen which is very open and has lots of great evening light in it. However, my “work triangle” is very large and thus makes for lots of running back and forth! I guess I get my workout in while I cook :)

  4. 1. Like Healthy Green Kitchen on FB
    2. follow BGSK on twitter
    3. leaving a comment

    Hope this qualifies for a entry. Liked the pictures. I need one of those new-fangled camera things, that is for sure. Everyone seems to have so much fun with them.

  5. I currently have a small size kitchen but one day will have a bigger one when we build our first home. Having a small kitchen does not keep me from cooking, I still get inspired despite the size!

  6. I have a very tiny kitchen with almost no counter space. But it doesn’t stop me from cooking! Can’t wait to have a gas stove, dishwasher, huge counters, and a deep sink one day…

  7. I’ve graduated to a medium kitchen – though I still long for an island (or at least more counter space). But I consider myself lucky to be able to create amazing & nourishing meals for my loved ones, regardless of my kitchen’s size!

  8. I’ve got a small kitchen and I already am following both you and the girls on twitter. What a wonderful giveaway and the dish looks spectacular love your food styling and the plate.

  9. I also “liked” both of these pages on Facebook. I really do like you both though! Not just on Facebook…

  10. It was by following you on Twitter that I learned about this give away… And now I follow you both!

  11. I have a small kitchen… That drives me crazy. It is the connecting hallway that leads to EVERY room in the house!

  12. You have the best recipes, I swear. I’m always hungry when I leave here!

    My kitchen is pretty big, I think. It’s not a gourmet kitchen by any means, but its definitely roomy. I like it :)

  13. I have a decidedly medium-sized kitchen. My last apartment’s kitchen was miniscule, so anything seems huge in comparison!

  14. my kitchen is pretty small, but at least it’s open. when i cook something delicious, the whole apartment smells that way too. only problem is when i burn something…

  15. I have a big kitchen at my dad’s house…and a small kitchen at my mom’s house!
    Parent’s are divorced and I’m still in high school! Haha

  16. I have a small kitchen in NYC and a bigger-ish kitchen in New Paltz, as you know. It’s big enough to house a stand mixer, so that’s something.

    I follow all of you lovely ladies on twitter and I’m liking you on Facebook. I just want to add that if I win the cookbook, you save all kinds of dough on shipping since you can just drive down the road and hand it to me. In fact, you could drive by the house going 30 and fling it out the window at me as I stand on the front lawn.

    The book sounds terrific…Congrats girls!

    xo Kim

  17. I’m not sure small adequately portrays just how tiny my kitchen is – the hubby and I inadvertantly elbow each other if we both try to do something in there at the same time. We don’t even have a pantry, only a few small cabinets for our dishes and food (one whole cabinet is dedicated to spices as we are a bit obsessed), so we use our dishwasher as permanent storage for dishes, foil, plastic wrap, parchment paper, etc. since we do all our washing by hand anyway. We’ve been in this apartment for 5 years (during my time in grad school) we’re finally moving in 2 months and I’m so very excited!

  18. I have a really small kitchen and have learned to utilize and manipulate ever square foot of it. For such a small kitchen I’ve surprise myself at what I can crank out, my oven is another story!

  19. I would say I have a medium size kitchen, but all things are relative. No granite counters, no six burner restaurant range, no sub zero fridge…but it is big enough for me. Unfortunately, I’d have to say I’m a two thirds lifer…give or take!

  20. my kitchen is small not much counter space… Love asian noodle salads… gonna try this one.. Nice twist on using the almond butter

  21. I’m lucky to have a large kitchen but I’ve cooked in every size of kitchen imaginable. The noodle recipe looks so tasty. Can’t wait to try it

  22. well i’m in the middle of a move so I used to have a very small kitchen and I hope to soon have a medium size kitchen!

  23. I live in New York City so you can only imagine the size of my kitchen. If you can even call it one. There needs to be a name for a room that contains your kitchen, living space, and bedroom. Despite the size I still cook everyday!

  24. I would say I have a medium sized kitchen – much larger than those in my old apartments but not nearly as large as I’d like!

  25. I have a medium-sized kitchen but look forward to the day when I have a larger kitchen. I love Asian recipes so I can’t wait to try this one. By the way, this is the first time I have visited your blog.

  26. We have a small kitchen. It is so small, that depending on which I turn, I could wake up my son, kiss my boyfriend good morning, feed the dog, and do some blogging without taking a step. (just kidding)

  27. sounds amazing! I have a tiny kitchen for all I do. TV films here and can’t believe what I accomplish in my kitchen

  28. Big or small being relative, I have a kitchen that I designed myself to fit me-with counters that are lower than normal because I am short and open shelving because I like to look at the different colors of my fiesta ware. As far as cooking area goes, I would have to say a definite medium!

  29. Currently we’re renting an oceanside condo in Emerald Isle, NC while we search for a new home here (after moving from TX last week). The kitchen is pretty tiny, but workable, and I can see the Atlantic from the range!



  30. I’d say my kitchen is medium! And I follow both of you on Twitter and like both of you all on Facebook. Sign me up for a chance to win that book! Thanks!

  31. I’m about to have a medium-sized kitchen when I move into my first real-world apartment this month. (I’m an almost-quarter-lifer.)