Intensely flavorful Chinese sausage is worth seeking out for this salad. If you can't find it, bacon also pairs well with the sweet cucumbers and peanut dressing.
10 ounce dried Chinese-style noodles (lo mein or chow mein)* or spaghetti
3 or 4 Persian cucumbers (about 5 in. long) or 10 oz. English or Armenian cucumbers
6 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
4 1/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons old-fashioned peanut butter
1 tablespoon dark molasses
1 1/2 cups (7 oz.) thinly sliced lop chong* (Chinese sausage) or 3/4 cup chopped bacon
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 cup sliced fresh basil leaves
3 cups loosely packed salad greens
1/4 cup chopped roasted salted peanuts
How to Make It
Cook noodles according to package instructions until just tender (or longer, if you prefer a softer texture that absorbs sauce more easily). Drain, rinse well with cool water, and set aside. Cut cucumbers into 1/2- by 1 1/2-in. pieces. Set aside.
Whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, oil, peanut butter, and molasses in a large bowl; set aside.
Lightly brown sausage in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, stirring, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Add drained noodles to peanut butter sauce, tossing to coat, then add sausages, cilantro, basil, and about two-thirds of cucumbers. Line 4 wide, shallow bowls with salad greens and add pasta. Top with remaining cucumbers and sprinkle with peanuts.
*Find at well-stocked grocery stores, Asian markets, and amazon.com.
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