Fresh Herb Noodle Salad

Spring is here in full force, as my frequent sneezing, and itching eyes have been telling me. What better time than now to whip up a light spring salad?

I was recently asked to develop a recipe that would be fun for kids in the tween age group to make.

As the tween age group encompasses the ages of 9 to 12 years old, that could mean a wide range of hand dexterity as well as maturity in handling any sharp knives or heat sources.

Plastic lettuce knife, Kitchen shears

I knew I wanted to do something to encourage vegetable eating, so I thought a tasty salad might be in order.

With appropriate supervision, a sharp knife is actually the safest tool for cutting.  However, not knowing the exact ages and personalities of these tweens, starting out with a plastic lettuce knife and a pair of kitchen shears seems reasonable.
Cutting herbs

Cilantro, Basil, and Mint

Herbs are leafy greens too, and they’re filled with phytonutrients.

Normally I’d use a knife to chiffonade the herbs, but cutting them with kitchen shears works well, and is fun.

Tweens, and even younger kids could also just tear the leaves with their fingers.
Cutting cabbage

Cutting cabbage is a little more difficult than cutting lettuce with the lettuce knife, but manageable.

It’s difficult not knowing how many kids would be cooking together, or their maturity and capability levels.

I’d probably break that wedge down and give each person maybe a 1″ high stack to cut.
Mixing herbs and cabbage
Or you could just purchase a bag of shredded cabbage.

That’s much easier, and the cabbage would just need a washing before being mixed with the herbs.

But the cutting and the mixing is where a lot of the fun and learning is.

Dry mung bean and rice noodles
Only vegetables and nothing else is no fun for kids.

Noodles are a universal pleaser.  In this case, Saifun (made from mung bean starch and potato starch) or rice noodles (made from rice only), both gluten free, are good choices.

They only need to be soaked in hot water for ten minutes or so before they are ready to be used.

One nice thing about using shredded cabbage is that you can actually use less noodles and more cabbage, since the cabbage shreds kind of look like noodles. Aha, a little parent secret here to get more veggies into zee kids 😉
Rice Noodles
Place the dry noodles in a colander, then place the colander into a large pot.

Boil water in a kettle, then pour enough water over the noodles to cover them.

When the noodles are ready, simply lift the colander out of the pot.

Fresh Herb Noodle Salad, w/chopsticks
Rinse the noodles with cold water and drain well.
Whip up a quick dressing of olive oil, rice vinegar, honey, soy sauce and a touch of sea salt.
Now toss everything together and it’s time to eat.

Fresh Herb Noodle Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Side
Serves: 8
  • 6 c. finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 c. basil leaves
  • 1 c. mint leaves
  • 1 c. cilantro leaves
  • 4 oz. dry rice or mung bean noodles
  • ¼ c. olive oil
  • 3 T. lime or lemon juice, or rice vinegar
  • 2 T. sugar or honey
  • 1 T. fish sauce or soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  1. Soak noodles in hot water according to package directions. When they are tender, drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Chiffonade or tear the basil, mint and cilantro leaves into small pieces. Mix together with the shredded cabbage and noodles.
  3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the vegetables and noodles. Toss together and serve.