Meatless Monday: Rice Noodles with Miso Dressing

     After a fabulous dinner at one of our favorite restaurants I could not stop thinking about the dish my Dad had.  One of the components was a tasty salad made with quinoa and a variety of veggies including edamame with an Asian inspired dressing.  It was so good.  Eric recently made rice noodles and I considered morphing these two separate dishes into one of my own.  I decided to make a dish which incorporated the rich umami flavors of a miso dressing with rice noodles and a variety of veggies tossed together. I loved the dressing.  It was the first time that I made anything with miso and I had a really hard time finding it.  My little town did not have a store that carried it.  They did have a packet of miso soup but that is not what I was looking for.  Eric and I had a date night in a larger nearby town and after dinner I suggested we head to the grocery store there, hoping they would have a better selection. Much to my delight I found miso!
     The next day after chopping and cooking all the veggies and making the miso dressing for the noodles, I was still waiting on the rice noodles to finish cooking.  I used a 6 ounce package of rice noodles and after soaking them for 10 minutes in hot water they were done.  I drained them and was ready to assemble my noodle salad.  However the rice noodles were a little cliquish, stubbornly sticking together like a bunch of mean girls that didn't want to associate readily with others.  The carrots, edamame, mushroom, and wakame had a more than difficult time mixing in with the rice noodles.  As I repeatedly attempted to mix the long strands of rice noodles with the veggies, several veggies were lost, man overboard falling off the large platter onto the floor.  It was a little frustrating and I just about threw in the towel thinking this dish wasn't photo worthy in the least.  But I didn't give up so easily, I resorted to just plating the rice noodles and then the vegetables separately.
     There were a lot of noodles.  I made the dish early in the day to take advantage of the morning light for photographs, with plans to eat it later for dinner when Eric got home from work.  As I was packing it away, first the rice noodles followed by the veggies and dressing poured over, I contemplated not making this one again.  However later that night when I removed it from the fridge to serve it up for dinner, I was amazed at what a little time in the chill box did for those noodles.  They had relaxed somewhat and miraculously were more mixable.  The flavors had melded well and were quite good served up cold.  There were also plenty of leftovers for our lunches the next day at our respective places of work and they tasted even better 24 hours later.  Despite the rocky start, this dish is a keeper and I think that if I make this again I would plan on cooking one day and then eating it the next.  Or perhaps making a noodle bar and everyone could make their own plates with a variety of veggies and spice to fit to each diners liking.  I was really happy with the way my photos turned out! I am glad I did not throw in the towel.  The dressing was my favorite part.  Make a little extra if you wish to add just before serving.  I am looking forward to using this same dressing again perhaps to mimic the quinoa salad my Dad had originally.  I hope you enjoy this recipe, it is not only vegan but gluten free as well!

Rice Noodles with Miso Dressing

Recipe by Jordan
  1. Mix miso, vinegar, sunflower oil, honey, and crushed piri-piri peppers (or 1 tsp crushed red pepper), set aside.
  2. Prepare veggies. Peel and cut carrots into thin matchsticks. Clean and cut mushrooms in half and then slice. Prepare edamame according to package directions.
  3. Heat water to almost boiling for rice noodles, when water is nearly to boiling point turn of heat and place rice noodles in hot water soaking for 10 minutes, then drain.
  4. While rice noodles are cooking, sauté carrots and garlic over medium-high heat until carrots are crisp tender. Season with salt. Set aside.
  5. Sauté mushrooms over medium high heat until caramelized, seasoning with salt.
  6. Once noodles are cooked and drained and vegetables are cooked, assemble noodle dish.
  7. Pour miso dressing over warm noodles tossing to coat.
  8. At this point you may plate noodles individually placing desired amount of veggies over noodles, or attempt to mix and place in large container in refrigerator for the next days meal.
  9. Serve with additional miso dressing and hot pepper flakes as desired.

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