Gluten free cooks need great recipes in every category for entertaining too. These Garden Greens with Asian Dressing is a salad I make throughout the year and it's perfect for any Asian inspired meal. Deep frying the crispy bean thread noodles is a bit of effort so it is reserved for entertaining.
If you ever made that coleslaw recipe with crushed Ichiban noodles on top (back in the day) these deep fried bean thread noodles, or rice noodles, are the gluten free answer to that.
🍜 Rice Noodles vs Bean Thread Noodles
Rice vermicelli and bean thread noodles are inexpensive and versatile so they're pantry staples for me. When we're cooking Asian food we typically think of rice noodles, sometimes called vermicelli noodles.
Vermicelli refers to the size of the noodle rather than the flour it is made with. Most often recipes calling for vermicelli are referring to rice vermicelli noodles. These are commonly used in salads, salad rolls and I use them in two soups; Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Soup and Noodle Soup with Peanut Sauce.
Bean thread noodles are made with mung bean flour which is gluten free. They go by other names such as glass noodles, mung bean threads or cellophane noodles.
Homemade salad dressing has no additives or preservatives, the variety you can make is endless and they keep in the fridge forever. Despite what looks like a long list of ingredients, all salad dressings come together quickly with a well stocked pantry and just making them over and over. If you're new to gluten free Asian cooking check out this post, Setting up your Asian pantry.
- mixed greens
- red and/or yellow bell pepper
- parsley (optional)
- green onion or chives
- bean thread noodles
- rice vinegar
- vegetable oil
- sesame oil
- gluten free soy sauce
- gluten free hoisin sauce
- dry mustard
- ginger root and garlic
Bean thread noodles - When deep fried bean thread noodles become crispy and turn a brilliant white colour that is spectacular on a salad. Use rice noodles for the same effect. When deep fried they don't turn as white as bean threads but if you serve them alone no one will know.
Parsley - This ingredient is almost always optional but when I buy it I use it in salads. If you have cilantro it is always a great addition.
Vegetable oil - If you're trying to get away from highly processed seed oils like I am try olive oil or avocado oil. There was a time when I thought olive oil would not be a substitute but these days I'm trying it in almost every recipe I have.
🍜 How To Use Bean Thread Noodles
These noodles are cut into thin vermicelli or flatter tagliatelli shaped noodles. They are tough and difficult to cut or break in their dried state. To manage them they are sold in packages containing several smaller individual bundles. This way they can be easily separated into an amount you would want to use.
If not deep frying, bean thread noodles are soaked before using them. After soaking, cut them into shorter lengths using kitchen scissors then use as you would use rice noodles. Softened they can be used in salads, added to soup or any stir-fry. I admit rice noodles are easier to work with so I leave the bean thread noodles for deep-frying.
I don't have an air fryer (I know, it sounds crazy) so I deep-fry with oil in my flat bottom wok. It sits safely on the stove and has a larger cooking surface than a frying pan. The shape of the sides allows you to attach a thermometer, an important kitchen tool for deep-frying.
A wok is made for the stir frying technique of Chinese cooking and I couldn't live without one. Stir frying and deep frying are two good reasons to get a wok today.
Let me know in the comments below if you made this salad. If you deep fried noodles in your air fryer I want to hear about that too.
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Garden Greens with Asian Dressing and Crispy Bean Thread Noodles
- 4 cups mixed greens
- ¼ red bell pepper, slivered
- ¼ yellow bell pepper, slivered
- 3 thinly sliced radishes
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- ¼ cup slivered green onions or chives
- 1 cup bean thread noodles* deep fried
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon gluten free hoisin sauce
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced green onion
MAKE ASIAN DRESSING
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. Set aside.
FRY BEAN THREAD NOODLES
- Heat oil in a frying pan, wok or deep fryer. It is hot enough when the end of a single noodle puffs up immediately, about 350°F.
- Drop a small handful of noodles into the oil. As soon as they puff up immediately turn the whole pile over using tongs. Listen for the remaining noodles to puff up then remove immediately. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.
- Repeat with remaining noodles. When cool the fried noodles can be stored in an airtight container for 1 week.
- Combine salad greens and vegetables in a large bowl.
- Shake dressing, add to greens and toss.
- Divide greens onto 6 plates.
- Finish each salad with crispy fried noodles. Serve immediately.