Asian Herbs & Noodles

Asian Herbs & Noodles is a light summer noodle dish bursting with vibrant fresh herbs and dressed with a refreshing bright flavored peach-ginger dressing.

Large white rimmed bowl with Asian Herbs & Noodles, garnished with whole purple and green perilla leaves.

Vibrant Asian Herbs (Perilla, Lemon Balm, and Peppermint)

The vibrant herbs used in this Asian herbs & noodles dish each have a distinct flavor and compliment each other. All three herbs are members of the mint (Lamiaceae) family. The broad leafed herb with a purple underside and green topside is called Perilla. Perilla has a flavor with notes of anise, mint, clove, it has such complexity it could almost be it’s own curry. The green broad leafed herb, Vietnamese Lemon Balm, has a perfumed lemony taste,  peppery notes, and slightly minty taste. Peppermint has a bright minty taste, but is differs from spearmint in both taste and appearance. Peppermint has a smoother softer and darker green with somewhat of a peppery taste. These Asian herbs appear at Farmers Markets during the late-spring early summer to early fall, and often Asian grocery stores carry them too during the season.

Alternative Herbs (Cilantro, Spearmint, and Arugula)

The more commonly found herbs cilantro, spearmint and arugula are perfect with this noodle dish when you can’t find the perilla, lemon balm, and peppermint. Cilantro offers the lemony taste, spearmint offers the minty taste and the arugula has a peppery flavor. The piquante from the hot pepper and ginger along with the sweetness from the peaches in the Peach-ginger dressing really compliment the minty peppery tastes from the mix of herbs.

Which Noodles?

Noodles and herbs really bring out the best in one another as the textures play well together. For this noodle dish (and many of the noodles dishes I make), I have been using organic whole wheat spaghetti noodles. They hold up really well after being dressed, even overnight they hold up without becoming mushy.

Gluten-Free Noodles

There are also sturdy gluten-free noodles available too. I find whole-grain, like  brown rice noodles, as opposed to noodles made from rice flour, are best for this dish. The otherwise somewhat neutral taste of noodles absorbs the dressing flavors and shows off the vibrant taste of each of these mint family herbs. Since this a cold noodle dish served at room temperature it is a good choice for when the temperatures rise.

Good Choice for a Pot Luck Dish

This Asian herbs & noodles dish is also an easy one to bring to a potluck and it can be made ahead of time. I just put in a serving bowl and cover with a domed plate that fits within the bowl or plastic wrap, a pair of tongs and we are set to go. The noodles have a tendency to absorb the dressing (exactly what we want the noodles to do), but its a good idea to reserve some dressing and bring it along to freshen the dish just before service. If travelling a distance, it is best to put it in a cooler so the herbs stay bright.

Pinterest Image: White, large-rimmed bowl with Asian Herbs & Noodles.

Tools Used in this Recipe

  • stock pot for boiling the noodles
  • chef Knife
  • cutting Board
  • serving bowl or prep Bowl
  • tongs
Print Recipe
Asian Herbs & Noodles
A light summer noodle dish bursting with flavor, highlighting vibrant Asian herbs with a refreshing oil-free Peach-ginger Dressing.
Large white rimmed bowl with Asian Herbs & Noodles, garnished with whole purple and green perilla leaves.
Course Salad
Cuisine Asian
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb noodles with a long shape whole grain spaghetti or linguine shape noodles
  • 3 cups Vietnamese Perilla washed and dry
  • 2 cups peppermint washed and dry
  • 1 cup Vietnamese lemon balm washed and dry
  • 8 crisp romaine lettuce leaves
  • 2/3 cup Peach-ginger Dressing
Alternative Herbs
  • 3 cups arugula will not likely need cutting
  • 2 cups spearmint tear or cut as noted instep 4 below for peppermint
  • 1 cup cilantro rough cut the cilantro, stems are fine to include if cut small
Course Salad
Cuisine Asian
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb noodles with a long shape whole grain spaghetti or linguine shape noodles
  • 3 cups Vietnamese Perilla washed and dry
  • 2 cups peppermint washed and dry
  • 1 cup Vietnamese lemon balm washed and dry
  • 8 crisp romaine lettuce leaves
  • 2/3 cup Peach-ginger Dressing
Alternative Herbs
  • 3 cups arugula will not likely need cutting
  • 2 cups spearmint tear or cut as noted instep 4 below for peppermint
  • 1 cup cilantro rough cut the cilantro, stems are fine to include if cut small
Large white rimmed bowl with Asian Herbs & Noodles, garnished with whole purple and green perilla leaves.
Instructions
  1. Prepare the noodles according to their package. Rinse with cold water, drain well and set aside until ready to add the vinaigrette and herbs.
  2. During the time the water is coming to a boil for the noodles and the noodles boiling, the Peach-ginger Dressing can be made and the herbs and lettuce cut.
  3. Cut the Perilla and lemon balm into chiffonade (stack the leaves, roll up and cut into 1/4in ribbons)
  4. Tear or cut the peppermint into chiffonade (stack the leaves, roll up and cut into 1/4in ribbons)
  5. Cut the romaine crosswise into 1/4in ribbons as well.
  6. Add the cooked and drained noodles to a large serving bowl, Pour about 1/3 cup of the peach-ginger vinaigrette around the rim of the bowl and toss or stir to coat the noodles.
  7. Add the herbs and lettuce, toss, add more vinaigrette as desired. If you will be serving later, reserve some of the dressing to add just before service to freshen it up.
  8. Garnish with lots of fresh sliced peaches and toasted almonds.
Recipe Notes

This recipe works well for a smaller amount by simply cutting all of the ingredients in half. I almost always prepare the full pound of noodles as it is nice to have for another dish. Most noodles will last up to three days in the refrigerator.