Sesame Noodle Salad

This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit; you could add chicken or shrimp to it if you wanted to make it more substantial or leave it as is to eat as a side dish or vegetarian entree. I had the idea that I wanted to wilt the spinach so I dumped the hot noodles over the spinach, but the only thing I succeeded in doing was to make the noodles sticky and difficult to stir after pouring the dressing over them. Next time I will rinse the noodles in cold water as directed and enjoy the not wilted spinach.  You can get creative and add/substitute any other vegetables you like.

1 large carrot, shredded
4 cups (approximately) baby spinach
Put these in a large bowl.

12 oz. angel hair or vermicelli pasta, cooked and rinsed under cold water; well-drained.
Add the noodles to the bowl with the carrots and spinach.

For the dressing:
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 t sambal oelek (garlic chili sauce)
2 t sesame seeds
1 clove of garlic, pressed or chopped
6 scallions, sliced; whites and greens separated
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
3 T soy sauce
2 t toasted sesame oil
1 t sugar

Heat oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, sambal oelek, sesame seeds and scallion whites over low heat until everything is sizzling and fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. You are supposed to let this cool, but naturally I was too impatient so I immediately added the remaining ingredients (with no negative repercussions, mind you).  Stir the dressing ingredients well.

Pour the dressing over the noodles and vegetables and toss well with tongs. Top with the green green onions and also a handful of cashew nuts or peanuts.  

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