turkey soba noodle salad

Ahhh…not to rub it in, all my friends who live in cooler climes…but the weather here in Southern California has been downright balmy. I mean, shorts and tank-tops, SPF-30, carry a bottle of water around, kinda weather. We’ve been enjoying the longer days and more time spent outdoors before bedtime (at least, bedtime for Gracie). We’ve also been enjoying the delicious spring produce that the warmer weather has brought!

Yesterday was one of those nights where you look up all sorts of recipes for dinner and nothing sounds good. So I decided to throw together a cool, fresh, main-course salad inspired by a Vietnamese rice noodle salad that Chris and I frequently enjoy. The best thing was that it used up some ground turkey I had on hand (which is super budget-friendly) and the rest of the ingredients are ones I commonly have on hand.

If you don’t have fish sauce you can omit it and just add salt to taste, although it won’t be anywhere near as funky-smelling (that could be a good or bad thing, depending on you haha). Oh, and I didn’t have cilantro last night, so I used parsley (which usually isn’t used in this dish), but it was still delicious. Parsley has a lovely anise flavor which isn’t alien to Southeast Asian dishes so it worked well.

Hope you like it too!

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Asian Turkey Noodle Salad

Serves 4

Meat Marinade
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Salad Dressing
1/4 cup Vietnamese fish sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup water
3 tbsp honey or sugar
juice of 1 large lime
pinch of crushed red chili flakes
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Salad
1 pound ground turkey
6 oz dried soba noodles
1 bag washed baby greens (about 5 oz)
1 English cucumber, julienned (or 5 persian cucumbers, or 2 asian cukes)
handful of bean sprouts (optional)
toasted sesame seeds
extra sesame oil, cilantro, hot chilies, lime juice, to taste

Mix the dressing ingredients together and set aside to let the flavors meld.

Mix the marinade ingredients into the ground turkey. Mix it thoroughly and let it sit for 30 min. Then saute the turkey over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Rinse the noodles thoroughly in a colander set under running water. As in, really get in there with your hands and scrub all the slimy stuff off the noodles. Drizzle a bit of sesame oil on the noodles and mix well with your hands (this prevents noodles from sticking together while they wait).

Fill the bottom of 4 large noodle bowls with salad greens. Top with julienned cucumbers, bean sprouts (if using), noodles, and ground turkey. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Drizzle with dressing and serve with extra dressing on the side, as well as other condiments such as chopped cilantro, hot chilies, and lime wedges.

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