I spotted this Noodle Salad With Asian Pesto recipe in the Itsu cookbook, and really fancied trying a different take on traditionally Italian pesto. This pesto is made from unmistakably Asian ingredients – coriander, mint, ginger, sesame oil and soy sauce. The pesto is mixed with noodles, avocado and topped with fresh chilli and toasted seeds, and I have added some soya beans too. This is a really unusual and warming dish!
Toasting seeds is really simple – you just briefly dry fry them in a non-stick frying pan, shaking regularly. I buy frozen soya/edamame beans lots, and you don’t even need to cook them, they just need to defrost. They are great for adding to salads, as a snack or with scrambled eggs, and make a nice alternative to peas.
My kids were a bit sceptical when I served up this meal, as they adore regular pesto, but they ate most of it in the end. We had just watched a beautiful and insane Japanese family film called Spirited Away so were able to link the food to the film!
Noodle Salad With Asian Pesto (serves 4 and takes around 20 minutes)
For the Asian Pesto
50g coriander, roughly chopped
1 tbsp mint leaves
Thumb sized piece of ginger, grated tiny
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp honey
For the salad
320g noodles (any is fine)
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 ripe avocados, chopped
2 tbsp soya/edamame beans, defrosted or fresh (no need to cook them)
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 red chilli, topped tiny
To make the pesto, put all the pesto ingredients (leaving a little coriander for serving) in a blender/food processor and blitz until it is a smooth sauce.
Cook the noodles as per the pack instructions, drain and toss with the sesame oil. Add the chopped avocados and defrosted/fresh soya beans. Toast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds by heating them in a dry non-stick frying pan for 30-60 seconds, shaking regularly so they don’t burn.
Add the pesto, avocados and soya beans to the noodles and put in to bowls. Top the mixture with the toasted seeds, chilli and remaining coriander leaves and eat!