• For the Salad
  • 180g (6oz) Udon noodles
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup fresh basil & mint leaves
  • 3 sun ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced and tossed in a little lemon juice
  • 2 medium navel oranges, diced
  • 1 cup spinach leaves, shredded
  • ¼ small red onion, finely diced
  • For the Sweet Balsamic Dressing
  • 4 tbs good quality olive oil
  • 1½ tbs good quality balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp honey or agave nectar

All this talk about having another hour of sunshine makes me start to dream of summer. I yearn for the days when I go to the farmers market and the booths are exploding with freshness. It starts to make me think of all the yummy recipes I can make. This summertime noodle salad looks so refreshing!!!

by TRUDY ~ VEGGIE NUM NUM on NOVEMBER 29, 2011

 We had a lovely Saturday night over the weekend, staying with my brother Tim and his girlfriend Rhiannon. They cooked us an amazing summertime meal and we ate glorious food, chatting, laughing and enjoying the cool breeze on what was a balmy November evening.

Inspired by the fantastic salads Rhi made this is a noodle dish that’s perfect served cold on a hot summers evening. I love noodles, hot or cold and find them a really quick and easy meal to throw together no matter how little you have in the fridge or pantry.

The vibrant colors of this dish really pop off the plate and together with the fresh flavors and textures it’s a really yummy veggie meal. Toasted sunflower seeds add a lovely crunch and the sweet flavors of orange and honey add something a little different.

Perfect served as a light evening meal or try this delicious vegetarian recipe at your next barbecue or picnic. Easy to prepare ahead of time and store covered in the fridge. I used udon noodles here as they are a favorite but go ahead and use your favorite noodles or pasta instead. Be sure to enjoy this colorful and healthy recipe with the company of family and friends this summer.

Cook the udon noodles in rapid boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain and rinse well under cold water, rinse again and strain well. Set aside.

In a small frying-pan dry roast the sunflower seeds over a medium heat, tossing frequently and adding fresh ground salt and pepper to taste. Continue to toss the seeds in the pan until lightly golden, this should take just a few minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.

In a food processor of by hand pulse the roasted sunflower seeds with the mint and basil leaves to form a coarse crumb or dry pesto like consistency.

In a large bowl toss the cold noodles with the sunflower seed mixture, diced tomatoes, avocado, oranges, baby spinach and red onion. This can be kept covered in the fridge until required.

To make the dressing whisk or shake in a screw top jar all the ingredients together.

Just before serving dress the noodles and either serve in a salad bowl or on a large platter. The perfect light and healthy summertime vegetarian meal or great as a side dish when entertaining.