Recipe: coconut lime cilantro dressing
I am headed west today, where temperatures will near 90°F. Just the thought of it makes my skin prickle and my brow sweat! On my last shoot, Jeremy and I covered a lot of miles. We love a good road trip because it’s hours upon hours talking about all manner of topics – especially food. And I got to thinking as we drove through Somewhere in the Middle of Utah of a great noodle salad we used to get at Trader Joes when we lived in Southern California. It was a lovely cilantro and coconut dressing over noodles and a few (a VERY few) vegetables. I’ve never found a recipe for it and I had always intended to try making it myself. So that’s what I did when we got home from our road trip last month.
start with what we know: lime and cilantro
add some coconut milk and rice wine vinegar
This was a little feedback loop: blend a bunch of ingredients together, taste, adjust. Repeat. After blending up the main ingredients, I realized that lime juice doesn’t give the same bright fragrance as lime zest. It’s all about what suits your tastes.
pour in some coconut milk with the lime juice and cilantro
lime zest gives it a nice boost
The consistency was thin, which worried me. However, it thickens up in the refrigerator because of the coconut milk. If you stir it up before serving, it has a nice consistency as dressings go. If you like more vinegar or lime or sugar or whatever, then add more. It’s completely up to you. Jeremy doesn’t have a strong relationship with cilantro and he really likes this dressing – that’s how mild the cilantro is. But if you eat it without the toasted peanuts or toasted coconut, you are short-changing yourself.
that is a fabulously green color
it’s fast to toast the coconut in a large pan on high heat
Jeremy prefers the noodles while I prefer the salad. They are essentially the same except for the noodles/lettuce. I like to add carrots, cucumber, red bell peppers, spinach, and mung bean sprouts then toss everything with some dressing. Make it your own by choosing your favorite ingredients to chuck into a salad or on top of some noodles.
fresh, colorful, healthy ingredients
mixing dressing with the chilled noodles
When I first tasted the dressing alone, it seemed to be missing something. Only after I mixed it in with the roasted peanuts and coconut did it bring me back to that lovely salad dressing from Trader Joe’s. I’m looking forward to preparing this in the summer when it is too hot to think straight!
top the noodles with vegetables and a sprinkle of coconut and peanuts
or have yourself a bright and refreshing salad
Coconut Lime Cilantro Dressing
inspired by Trader Joe’s noodle salad thingy which they no longer carry
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, rinsed and packed
3 tbsps fresh lime juice
1 lime, grated zest of
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsps oil
salt to taste
chili pepper flakes or garlic chili paste to taste
cooked noodles or shredded lettuce
red bell pepper, julienned
fresh spinach, shredded
mung bean sprouts
unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
peanuts, toasted and coarsely ground
Combine the cilantro, lime juice, lime zest, vinegar, coconut milk, sugar, oil, salt, and chili paste or flakes (optional) in a blender. Blend the ingredients together well. Refrigerate. Assemble the salad or noodle ingredients in a bowl and pour dressing over top. Sprinkle with toasted coconut and peanuts. Serve. Makes about 2 cups of dressing.