There are two summer supper situations where you'll want to know this summer-sauté-meets-noodle-bowl method by heart. The first are those muggy evenings where after a long day outside you're ravenous, but the idea of chopping anything seems arduous. It's too hot to cook, you think, but you've also got a fridge full of vegetables and an empty belly. You could probably muster up cooking, as long as you didn't have to chop anything.
Likewise, you may find yourself in a friend's summer cabin or in a high-traffic vacation rental in which the knives have all but disappeared. There's a paring knife with a broken handle that you'd rather not use, but there is a decent peeler. That means you can pull off this hat-trick of a summer supper in that situation as well.
This summer sauté served over rice noodles is everything you'll crave in a cold noodle bowl: vegetables quickly cooked with plenty of bite left in them and one of the best soy vinaigrettes I know.
Here's the summer sauté that doesn't require a knife, only requires a teensy bit of cooking, and has enough variables that you can make it over and over again all summer long.
How to Prep Summer Vegetables Without a Knife
You won't be using a knife at all for this recipe. Instead, you'll use the power of a peeler, the rasp of a grater, and the strength of your two hands to tear up a selection of summer vegetables and herbs. This technique won't work for every summer vegetable, of course, but feel free to swap the cabbage here for tender kale or rainbow chard — as long as you can tear it into bite-sized pieces.
Situational Summer Suppers
We've been there and we know you're going to be there too: a fridge full of summer produce just waiting for the perfect cooking situation. Whether you're heading out the door for a road trip, avoiding the stove during a heatwave, or having friends over on short notice, these simple, thoughtful meals have been designed to help you — and your cooking — thrive this summer.
No-Chop Cold Veggie Noodle Bowls With Soy Lime Vinaigrette
For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1 lime)
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon sambal oelek or Asian chile-garlic paste
1 clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
For the salad:
2 cups water
4 ounces dry thin rice noodles
6 Napa cabbage leaves
1 large carrot, peeled
1 medium zucchini
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 fresh mint leaves
6 fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup salted peanuts, crushed
Make the vinaigrette: Combine the tamari or soy sauce, lime juice, honey, sambal or chile-garlic paste, garlic, and ginger in a pint jar. Add the olive and sesame oils, seal the jar, and shake it to emulsify; set aside.
Make the salad: Bring the water to a boil (an electric kettle is especially handy for this). Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Cover the bowl and set aside until the noodles are tender, about 6 minutes total, tossing after 3 minutes if all of the noodles are not initially submerged in the water. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the salad.
Tear the cabbage into bite-sized pieces; set aside. Use a vegetables peeler to peel large ribbons of the carrot and zucchini, making sure to avoid the seedy core of the zucchini.
Heat the oil a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the carrot and sauté for 1 minute. Add the cabbage and zucchini, season with the salt, and sauté for 1 minute more. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl. Tear the mint, basil, and cilantro into bite-sized pieces and add to the rest of the vegetables.
Check the noodles for doneness — they should be tender and limp (if they are not ready, let them sit longer in the water). Drain the noodles and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.
Add the noodles to the vegetables and toss to combine. Add the dressing and toss to evenly coat. Top with the peanuts and serve.
- Make ahead: The dressing can be made and stored for up to 5 days in advance.
- Storage: Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days.