I’m willing to wager that if you’re Australian, you’ve probably encountered Chang’s Crispy Noodle Salad. The recipe is featured on the back of the fried noodle packet, and it’s long been the salad of choice for those tasked with toting salads to barbecues and work lunches. – And with good reason; it’s delicious.
The heady combination of sesame oil and soy sauce has made this one of my favourite salads, and something of a summer go-to meal. The sugar content of the dressing has always given me pause though, and the noodles are fried in cottonseed oil; a hydrogenated oil which retains pesticide residue after processing. I decided the recipe was crying out for a healthy makeover.
Getting around the sugar problem was easy; I just left it out completely. A substitute for the noodles was harder. Nuts didn’t cut it – their flavour was stronger and the crunch was more muted. Toasted pepitas and sunflower seeds seemed an almost condescending addition, and croutons were decidedly out of place against the oriental flavour of the dressing. It wasn’t until I was on the brink of giving up that I chanced upon activated buckinis.
Activated buckinis are buckwheat (seeds), which have been soaked, washed, and dehydrated until crunchy. They’re gluten free, high in protein and a host of minerals including Zinc, Copper, and Manganese. Buckinis also contain monounsaturated fats (the good ones), and are a great source of amino acids. It’s a happy day in my kitchen when I can replace something sinister with something sound.
- 1/2 a Chinese cabbage, cut into thin strips
- 1 bunch of green onions, sliced thinly
- 4 carrots, grated
- 2 beetroot, grated
- 100g of slivered almonds or pine nuts
- 100g of activated buckinis
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 cup olive or walnut oil
- Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl.
- In a small, separate bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together to combine.
- Pour the dressing over the salad immediately before serving.
Serves 6 with generous amounts of dressing. Nutrition information (calculated for pine nuts and olive oil version): 379 calories / 1586 kilojoules, 31g of fat, 6g of protein, 20g of carbohydrate, 3.4g of fibre.
This is a great salad to keep on hand for easy dinners and lunches. Keep the vegetables, nuts, buckinis, and dressing in separate containers and throw together when you’re ready to eat. This will prevent the ingredients from going soggy and losing their crunch.