Recently, I had a fabulous pasta salad topped with teriyaki sauce. The promised recipe never came, so I decided to create my own. The most difficult thing was developing the right taste for the dressing. (You can, of course, buy bottled teriyaki sauce, but as I keep saying, I like cooking from scratch so I know what’s in my food.)
This is a very forgiving recipe – if you don’t like certain ingredients, just exchange them for something else.
NOTE: Unless you have a problem with cashews (or any other nut), I highly encourage you to add them. The salty crunch made all the difference.
TERIYAKI PASTA SALAD – makes about 6 cups
- 1/2 lb mini farfalle pasta (bowties) (or any other pasta you prefer)
- 4 oz Chinese peapods
- 1 red bell pepper
- 4 scallions
- 1 11-oz can Mandarin Oranges in light syrup
- 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce, divided – recipe follows
- about 1/2 cup salted cashews, either halved or coarsely chopped
Have teriyaki sauce prepared before starting salad – use homemade (recipe follows) or purchased.
Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a large saucepan. Add 1 tsp salt and pasta. Cook to the al dente stage. (Don’t cook it longer – the pasta will continue to soften as the teriyaki sauce gets absorbed.) For the mini farfalle it took 7 minutes, but time will vary with type of pasta.
Drain and rinse to stop cooking process. Shake to remove excess water and empty into large bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce and let absorb while preparing the rest of the salad. Bring about 1½ inches of water to a boil in the now empty saucepan and add peapods. Let boil for 2 minutes – SET A TIMER! (You don’t want to over cook!) Drain and rinse to stop cooking process.
Remove any strings from peapods by laying them flat and slicing one peapod tip away from you, stopping just before cutting through. Pull the peapod body towards you. If there’s a string, it will come away from the peapod. Then rotate the peapod 180º and do the exact same thing to the other tip to remove string on the other side. (Sometimes there are strings on both sides – they’re unpleasant to eat.)
Cut peapods into bite-sized pieces. Add to pasta bowl.
Cut red pepper into bite-sized pieces. Add to pasta bowl.
Slice white and green parts of scallions. Add to pasta bowl.
Drain oranges, shaking to remove excess water. Add to pasta bowl. At serving time, add remaining 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce and cashews. Stir to combine. Serve immediately.
TERIYAKI SAUCE – makes about 3/4 cup
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 T Mirin sweet wine vinegar (often in the Asian section of the market)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated (or 1/8 tsp dried, but fresh is best)
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
- 1 tsp sesame oil
In a small saucepan with burner off, put cornstarch and sugar. Stir to blend. Add in Mirin and mix well, smashing any lumps. Add in soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. Turn on burner to medium and stir while bringing to a boil. Turn down heat to keep a simmer. Continue cooking until thickened – about 4-5 minutes.There will be a little teriyaki sauce leftover. Save it to revive leftover Teriyaki Pasta Salad, freeze it, or use it on something else. (Waste not, want not!!!)