Recently, I was in Los Angeles for close to a month visiting my brother and his family. We needed a change of scenery after being in our own house and staring at the same faces for the last five to six months. The change of location was an immediate mood lifter because, like many other people right now, travel is soothing and necessary to our souls.
We made the long trek via car because we were still a little wary of airports. The drive was not horrible considering we had three children in the car and made very infrequent stops. I think we were all welcoming a long car ride in exchange for the promise of a new month of seeing people, and we were not wrong.
When we arrived, needless to say, it was a breath of fresh air. Just to see family and the cousins running around together was really uplifting, especially after such a long drive. The sunshine and the palm trees were the icing on top. We spent our time cooking so many meals together and just relaxing by the pool. And yes, I’m aware of how fortunate we are to be able to experience this during a pandemic (or, ever, really).
We did a good job of not eating out, but we did pick up a salad. If that sentence sounds strange and incomplete, you’re on the money. This wasn’t any salad, it was a salad I ended up loving so much that I had my brother order it for me eight days in a row. I eventually created my own account at the ever-popular salad restaurant so I could order this on my own. I went on to order this exact salad more than 16 times while I was there. I’d say it was embarrassing, but because it was so healthy and so good, I felt zero guilt about it.
So, what was this salad? It was the Noodlerama from Health Nut. Because I don’t live in LA, I had no idea of the notoriety of this restaurant. Apparently, it is frequented by many of the Kardashians and has made several appearances on their show. You would think by watching the show, they were eating some bland food all the time in an effort to be healthy. I’m here to clear up any assumptions about that notion. These salads (and the one I chose 16 times) are so deliciously addictive it’s no surprise the lunch line is long and oftentimes there’s a wait.
Now I'm back and I’m missing my salad so very much. I’m craving the flavor and the texture and I insisted on learning how to make it within 48 hours of returning home. I'm pleased to say that I think I’ve come pretty dang close. This is an Asian inspired salad and the proportions are truly personal, so you can add more or less of a certain ingredient based on how much you like or dislike it.
My Take on the Noodlerama Salad from Health Nut
- chopped romaine lettuce
- shredded carrots
- thinly sliced cucumbers
- shaved quick pickled ginger
- boiled and thick shredded chicken breast
- 1 cup boiled rice noodles
- 2 oz. Asian dressing
Asian dressing Ingredients:
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 oil
- 1 tbsp. gochujang
- 2 tsp. sriracha
- 1 tbsp. sugar (more if you’d like)
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. onion powder
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
Boil chicken breast or tenders on medium low heat until cooked through. I like to add a teaspoon or two of chicken bullion to the water. I use this same water after the chicken is done to boil the noodles. Then drain and set aside.
To make the pickled ginger: Peel ginger and shave into thin strips. You don’t need much. After peeling it, slice it thinly. Simmer the ginger with two tablespoons apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon sugar. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the ginger is tender. Add more sugar if it is too tart.
To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together.
- Assemble the salad. Add chopped romaine into a large bowl. Top with shredded carrots, cucumbers, shredded chicken, boiled noodles, a little of the ginger (you can add more if you’re a big fan of the ginger) and top off with about two ounces of the dressing. Mix and enjoy!
From Z to A with Zara Abbasi
Zara Abbasi is the pastry chef and recipe developer for Zara Made It. Follow her food adventures on Instagram at @zaramadeit.