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Asian Noodle Salad

My daughters ate raw cabbage and bean sprouts this weekend because I have a food blog. There is no other explanation for it.

Sometime after they started walking and before they lost their first baby teeth, my girls decided to complicate my life by becoming carbotarians. The only foods that could make it to the table without shrieks of protest were those that used to be grains in a former life. Bread, rice, cereals and pasta, our food pyramid was more like a straight line. Through sheer force of will, years of persistence, nagging, threats and yes, even bribery, we have reached the point where vegetables, meats and fruits get eaten with limited objection, for the most part.

I’ve made this noodle salad many times before, and each time I was gently but firmly reminded that while peas and carrots were acceptable in moderation, the cabbage, bean sprouts and green onions would be vetoed immediately and without mercy. Because they otherwise adore this salad, because I strive to maintain family harmony, and because I totally caved in to them, I would make a half recipe “big people” version, and a half recipe “little people” version.

Until this weekend. The following pictures of my youngest daughter depict actual events and are not a recreation. Photos of raw cabbage being consumed. Viewer discretion is advised.

This weekend I learned something very, very interesting; if I want my children to eat something without protest, all I have to do is blog about it. I must take lots of pictures, ask them to help set up the shots and make the food, all without ever hinting at the fact that the dish we are making is loaded with veggies they think they hate.

Maybe I should write a book: “Blogging Away the Picky Eater”. Except for the fact that all I have to offer is the catchy title. I have pretty much zip in the way of actual content. Not that that’s ever stopped anyone before; like former presidents and aging child actors, for example.

Asian Noodle Salad

There is something wonderful that happens in your mouth when Asian flavors like soy, ginger, sesame and garlic combine. The trendy word for it is umami, but since I’m not very trendy and probably couldn’t pronounce it right if I tried, I’ll just call it yummy. Add some fresh tang from the lime, a bit more than a hint of sweet and hot from the honey and chili oil, and the resulting dressing could probably make cardboard taste gourmet. Don’t limit yourself to salad either; the dressing makes a great marinade for chicken or pork.

Salad Ingredients
1 16oz package linguine noodles
½ small head purple cabbage, very finely sliced
1 ½ cups bean sprouts
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup grated carrot (1-2 carrots)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Dressing Ingredients
1/3 cup grapeseed or peanut oil
2 tsp sesame oil
1-2 tsp chili oil
2 tbsp lime juice (about the juice of 1 lime)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced

Cook the linguini according to the package directions, drain, and rinse with cold water. Allow to drain completely. Put all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust for heat with the chili oil according to your taste. Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix well. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly. Serve at room temperature.

(Printable Recipe)