Fast Fix: Spring Rice Noodle Salad

Springing for it.


What do you feel like doing after dinner? Making dinner? Me neither. But it's got to be done sometime, and so, after beef stew, noodles and Swiss chard, while Aaron was reading to Leo, I officially signaled the change of seasons and embraced spring:

Starting with this recipe as my inspiration (important when you're totally stuffed and more in the mood to lie on the couch than wash cilantro), I blanched snow peas. I julienned peppers, cucumbers and carrots. I soaked rice noodles. Sliced shallots. Whisked up a dressing of lime juice, rice vinegar, fish sauce and some sugar. Fried firm tofu into crisp, golden sticks. Halved cherry tomatoes. Put a bit of each Leo-friendly piece together in a container for his 'salad' the next night, then called it a night.

I'm a person who rehearses in my spare time. So on the train, I thought about dinner. How I would pan-fry salmon and toss together the salad. After work I picked up Leo and took him to the playground. It was nearing 6 when we got home. But thanks to the time change it was warm and sunny. Leo noshed on his salad while I executed my grand plan. And we sat down to the springiest, freshest, tastiest dinner we've had in months.

"I could eat this twice a week," Aaron raved. Okay, sure. It would just take some planning. I count myself lucky on the days when I'm out in front of the giant snowball of our lives. And when the trees all suddenly begin budding, birds are singing their lungs out, the playground is an option after work, and it's fun to eat a cool, crunchy dinner again.

Recipe: Spring Rice Noodle Salad

Zoe Singer is a freelance food writer and cookbook editor and co-author of The Flexitarian Table. Food Editor and blogger for The Faster Times, she tries not to eat for two now that her son is a toddler.