While it may seem like an odd pairing of Japanese and Mediterranean ingredients, using udon noodles is what makes this salad so good. While pasta tends to get dry and starchy when chilled, udon is actually meant to be eaten cold. That means it maintains a slick glossy surface with a marvelously firm springy texture, making it perfect for cold salads.
Tossed with a roasted bell pepper and kalamata olive pesto and sprinkled with crisp cucumbers and savory feta cheese, this salad makes for a balanced meal that’s filling without being heavy. With a confetti of colors and flavors that come together in your mouth, it’s one of those dishes that’s fun to eat until the last bite.
You can use jarred roasted red peppers, or check out my roasted red pepper post to make your own. I like using kalamata olives for their earthy mauve hue and great balance between salt and acidity, but you could also do this with other dark olives such as Niçoise.
Mediterranean Udon Salad
- 150 grams (5.3 ounces) udon - dry
- 100 grams (3.5 ounces) roasted red bell pepper
- 50 grams (1.8 ounces) kalamata olives (about 12 large olives), pitted
- 25 grams (.9 ounces) red onion, (1/4 small red onion) roughly chopped
- 10 grams flat-leaf parsley (1/3 cup packed)
- 2 grams garlic (1 small clove)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 100 grams (3.5 ounces) Lebanese or Japanese cucumbers, cut into cubes
- 45 grams (1.6 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled
- Boil the udon 1 minute less than what the package directions say and then immediately drain and wash them with very cold water to chill the noodles.
- Put the roasted bell pepper, olives, red onion, parsley, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano and salt into the bowl of a small food processor.
- Pulse until the mixture is uniformly chopped, but still a little chunky.
- Pour this mixture over the udon noodles and toss to coat evenly.
- Plate the pasta and top with the cucumbers and feta.
Yield: 2 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.