Verdict: win

I was inspired by a recent trip to a newly-opened ramen restaurant to make this Asian chicken noodle salad. There's something so refreshing about a cold noodle salad during the summertime. The best part about cold noodle salads is that everything is easily modifiable. The main components of a noodle salad are the noodles, the dressing, and the mix-ins. Don't feel like roasting chicken? Grill it instead. Only have onions, carrots, and apples? Throw those in. Hate cilantro? Throw it out. Don't have peanut oil? Substitute half sesame oil and half of a neutral oil (like canola oil). Want a more peanut-y or spicy dressing? Add more peanut butter or add some chili oil. I've listed the verbatim recipe below, but feel free to modify it to your likes or what you have in your pantry like I did.



Asian Chicken Noodle Salad with Ginger-Peanut Dressing from Serious Eats
Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS
For the chicken:
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (or 2 cups of cooked shredded meat)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:
10 ounces soba noodles
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

For the dressing:
6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1-1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sugar

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a foil lined sheet pan. Rub the skin with vegetable oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package instructions, stirring occasionally so they don't stick. Drain and rinse well under cold water.

Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a small food processor or blender. Blitz until mixture is smooth. (Alternatively, you can whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl; just be sure to mince the garlic and stir until peanut butter is completely dissolved.)

Remove skin from chicken breasts and shred meat into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, toss shredded chicken with noodles, dressing, bell peppers, peanuts, scallions, cilantro and sesame seeds. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.

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