What do you think of when you think of pasta salad? Curly rotini, some cheese and veggies, and some bottled Italian dressing? That does seem to be the go-to. But the nice thing about pasta salad is that it’s actually so versatile, you can combine any number of flavors and textures and end up with a great result. Take this Thai Spaghetti Salad, for instance. It’s as quick and easy as any other pasta salad, but it has an entirely different flavor profile – it’s full of crunchy, bright veggies, tender spaghetti, and a creamy peanutty dressing that’s good enough to eat off of a spoon all by itself.
This salad has a veritable rainbow of ingredients. Spaghetti forms the base, but there’s also red cabbage, carrots, basil, cilantro, and green onion. That’s a whole lot of color. And a whole lot of flavor.
You can chop all of the ingredients while the pasta cooks, so this really doesn’t take any longer than it does to boil the spaghetti. (And it’s delicious chilled OR at room temperature so don’t feel like you have to wait any longer after you mix everything together.)
The dressing tastes nice and creamy thanks to the peanut butter and nutty thanks to the sesame oil, but rice vinegar brings in a touch of acidity that balances it all out. The other ingredients give you more than enough crunch and flavor (did I mention there are peanuts and sesame seeds too?) but the dressing brings this salad to new heights. Very high, delicious heights.
Thai Spaghetti Salad
Serves 4; 5 minutes prep, 15 minutes cook time
- 8 oz spaghetti
- 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup carrots, shredded
- 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flake
- Break spaghetti in half and cook in a large pot of salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, sesame oil, olive oil, garlic, peanut butter, and chili flake.
- Add the spaghetti, cabbage, carrots, green onions, peanuts, sesame seeds, cilantro, and basil and toss to combine. Serve chilled or room temperature!
Recipe adapted from The View From Great Island.