Shrimp and Rice Noodle Salad

by Jenn on April 19, 2012

in Dairy Free,Gluten Free,Pastas and Grains,Salads,Seafood

Shrimp and Rice Noodle Salad

I never really considered myself a “healthy” cook.  In truth, because I don’t feel I am qualified to know what the word “healthy” means.  My Ph.D. is not in anything related to food or nutrition, nor anything that could even be remotely construed as such. To me, what seem like obviously healthy foods may not be the case for everyone – for example a banana is a pretty natural food, but to a diabetic the carb load in most bananas usually makes them off limits.  So who am I to make blanket statements about which foods or meals are healthy and which are not?  Everyone has different requirements and needs based on their individual situations, and I could not presume to guess what would be suitable for all.  I don’t even like associating the term “gluten free” with “healthy”, because we all know that gluten free foods and products come in several different forms – and gluten free junk food is still just that – junk food.  There are healthy and unhealthy items in every diet.  So the best I can do is make food that accommodates the specific dietary needs of our household and share my experience with you all.  I leave it to you to make your own decisions about the suitability of the food I make.

In my own personal food philosophy, I don’t really count calories or fats or carbs of any particular item anymore (I used to, and there are several reasons why I could not sustain such practices for an extended length of time).  I love shopping at the market to see what is fresh and “speaking to me”, and I cook from scratch as best I can. But does “from scratch” really equate to “healthy”?  And really, does anyone truly cook from scratch if they aren’t growing/catching/hunting all of their own food? We all use ingredients that have been handled or processed in some way, even if we aren’t using a ready-made food from a box or the freezer aisle.

I do a general evaluation of the healthfulness of my own habits by looking at my overall consumption.  I tend to ignore advice about miracle foods providing that one key nutrient which is this month’s current savior to the western diet, and just go based on what seems to be right for me and my husband.  I’m sure several experts could look at our eating habits and tell us what we eat is “healthy”, just as I’m sure several other experts could find problems with the food we prepare.  I do my best to stay out of the debate.  But from my personal experience I will say this – I believe there is a difference between the healthfulness of a particular food and the lifestyle surrounding the consumption of a food.  Some are able to effectively accommodate the pleasures of certain indulgences for themselves, and others are not.  How we choose to eat such foods is a very separate concept of health from the actual status of the food itself.  Eating a small portion of a very unhealthy food does not put a halo over it to make that food magically healthy.  Because of these nuances, I find it very difficult to comfortably say whether or not a meal is healthy.  It really all depends – on the person, their habits, and needs.

I also don’t post everything I eat on this blog.  Sometimes I don’t even prepare a full meal.  Yesterday for example, I had goats-milk yogurt with fresh blueberries late in the afternoon, and then a couple hours later mashed up some avocado in a bowl with a little chopped tomato, lemon, salt & pepper.  Hardly blog-worthy.  You certainly don’t need me to tell you know how to empty a container of  blueberries onto a bowl of yogurt.  But when I make something I had fun preparing, or something new that my husband and I haven’t tried before, or even an old classic that I just feel like sharing, those are the things I put up here.  And that’s what this salad is – something that was fun to make, flavorful, and satisfying.  There are many vegetables in it, and some shrimp.  There’s rice noodles.  Some people may call it healthy, some people may not.  I make no claims other than it’s gluten free, quick and tasty :)

Shrimp and Rice Noodle Salad

 

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa April 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Like you, I don’t blog about everything I eat! I share only certain recipes with my readers.

That dish looks really scrumptious! A toothsome combination.

cheers,

Rosa

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Jenn April 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Thanks Rosa!

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GFDougie April 20, 2012 at 1:59 am

Nice recipe & blog! TY for the helpful hints in regard to unsolicited health recipes (I know u disclaim what Health is to each individual). Very nice; keep up the great work! :)

GFDougie

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Jenn April 20, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Thanks so much!

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Becky April 20, 2012 at 4:53 am

I have never cooked with rice noodles but have always wanted to make them. Your recipe here looks super tasty and simple to make too. I love finding recipes that are simple and have basic ingredients that I usually have on-hand. Except for fresh shrimp or radishes or rice noodles. But those will be easy to get, so I’m looking forward to trying this soon!

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Jenn April 20, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Thanks so much! Hope you enjoy it!

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sara April 20, 2012 at 8:44 am

This salad looks incredible! So fresh and delicious, yum. :)

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Jenn April 20, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Oh thank you!

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Lizzy (Good Things) April 20, 2012 at 11:03 am

A lovely recipe… fresh, simple and delicious!

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Jenn April 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Thanks!

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Jeanette April 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Love all the fresh ingredients in this rice noodle salad. I agree, healthy is all relative as everyone’s bodies are different as are their diets.

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Jenn April 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Thanks Jeanette :)

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Meeta April 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I think we need to go with what we like to eat and simply make sure it’s fresh and good for you. I hate denying myself of anything but know which foods I can eat more and where I should eat less. The key is a good balance and that in my opinion is healthy! Love the colors of this salad!

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Jenn April 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Thanks Meeta – and yes, balance is definitely key!

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Karen Harris April 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Beautiful photos of a lovely salad. Love your food philosophy.

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Jenn April 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm

thank you :)

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thelittleloaf April 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I think if we all blogged everything we ate we’d not have enough hours in the day and would probably lose readers with some bizarre combinations! But this looks fresh, light and delicious – perfect for sharing :-)

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Jenn April 20, 2012 at 7:07 pm

ha, very true!! thanks so much :)

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Jamie April 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm

This is a really great post. You know I often ponder the question of what is healthy and what isn’t and I think the fact that you and I are both Americans now living and immersed in European (food) culture, we understand pretty clearly that how we eat is almost as important as what we eat. We also see all those food fads for what they are – fads. And hoo boy I do not blog everything I eat (some may be shocked)! I love this salad and we do love eating this kind of dish – the combination of flavors and textures not to mention the “healthiness” of it is fabulous!

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Jenn April 20, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Thanks Jamie, and yes – the how I think is just as important as the what we eat :)

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Vicky April 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm

It looks very tasty and the photo just makes you want to reach out and eat it ;)

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Jenn April 20, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Aww thanks! I had a lot of fun photographing this :)

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Jessica @ Sunny Side Up April 20, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Ya know, I think your spot on when it comes to this “healthy food” labeling. What’s healthy for one isn’t always healthy for another. And having “wholesome” ingredients does not make something a health food (even if General Mills puts WHOLE GRAIN in bold huge font on the front of their cereals, I think we all know Lucky Charms really aren’t healthy).

This salad sounds and looks amazing. Love the photos!

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Jessica @ Sunny Side Up April 20, 2012 at 10:36 pm

eek! I mean “you’re” not your

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Jenn April 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm

thanks so much!!

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Fatemah April 20, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Great topic. I agree with you , everyone has a different perception on what is called “healthy”. For me, the food has to be unprocessed as much as possible. But again, butter is not that much processed and everybody will agree that eating butter for breakfast in not healthy.
I was so relieved when you said that you don’t even cook sometimes. I started a blog a few months ago and sometimes I feel guilty about having cereal for breakfast, how can I call myself a foodie when I am having cereal and milk for breakfast? But I guess everyone has those days :)
I like that you included cashews in the salad. I never had cashews in the salad, and now I am really wondering , why?

Thank you for a great post.

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Jenn April 21, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Thanks! Ha there is nothing wrong with cereal and milk :)

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Shirley April 21, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I don’t blog everything I eat either. Who has the time, or what’s the point when a million other recipes are out there and the recipe I used was good but not a standout? Now this noodle salad does look healthy — in my opinion, anyway — and delicious too. One question: do you ever get any adverse reactions from those rice noodles, or rice flour, or are they generally reliable? I have an in-law with celiac, and she’s terrified of trying the stuff because she fears cross-contamination, but I run out of options between that and her other allergies when she’s my houseguest for a weekend.

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Jenn April 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Thanks – we buy rice noodles that specifically say “gluten free” on the box – the current brand we like is Thai Kitchen, and have not had any adverse reactions with their products so far. You may want to contact them and see what their process is for testing gluten levels…

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Shirley April 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I’ll check that out. Thanks!

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barb April 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I agree. I currently have hypoglycemic issues, so foods with sugar are off limits. No bananas, no dates, no yummy sugary stuff. No gluten or wheat either, so I do a lot of my own baking with stevia and other fruits and quinoa and buckwheat. I’m going to try this recipe with quinoa noods (can’t eat rice). It looks delish.

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Jenn April 21, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Thanks – I’m sure it would be great with quinoa noodles!

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Barbara | Creative Culinary April 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I think the whole notion of ‘healthy’ eating has been, like many things, bastardized. Large corporations promote their healthy brands with lower fat but don’t mention the higher sugar content that always seem to come along with ‘low fat.’ Is that really healthy? Additionally, as you mentioned, one person’s healthy might be another person’s demise.

I make almost everything from scratch yet that doesn’t mean everything I make can be considered healthy. I only wish the strawberry bars I made last week fit that bill; I could eat them every day!

This dish looks perfect Jenn…not only good for you but so gorgeous too!

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Jenn April 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Thanks Barbara – and yes, I totally agree about the whole “low fat” thing – I think people are finally coming around to seeing that there is usually more to a story than just one ingredient…

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InTolerantChef April 23, 2012 at 2:51 am

Perfect light meal that is so tasty too! I guess healthy means different things to different people, for me it’s eating foods that won’t make me ill :) Rice noodles are so handy and healthy to my tummy too :)

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Jenn April 23, 2012 at 8:03 pm

A great definition of healthy :) – yes we love buying rice noodles, and they are so fast to prep too!

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Alison April 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm

I want to eat the photo. I love asian food…there are so many delicious ways to pack in veggies. What a perfect warm-weather recipe!

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Jenn April 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm

aww thanks!!

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Rochelle April 23, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I worry about those who tell us everything they eat. It seems odd to me considering that not everyone can handle making a full course meal every day let alone every meal. I love this shrimp and rice noodle salad though, it’s totally blog worthy and now on my to-do list of cooking inspiration :)

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Jenn April 23, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Thanks Rochelle – hope you enjoy it!

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Gen April 25, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Yum, what a great bowl full of good ingredients!

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Jenn April 25, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Thanks !

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Jessica April 26, 2012 at 7:13 am

This is gorgeous Jenn! Seriously, wowza!

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Jenn April 26, 2012 at 7:28 am

Thanks Jessica!

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cookingrookie April 27, 2012 at 7:00 am

Looks delicious, sounds delicious, it must taste delicious too. This recipe is a keeper – thanks for sharing :-)

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Jenn April 27, 2012 at 8:39 am

Thanks so much !!

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Kevin (Closet Cooking) May 10, 2012 at 3:26 am

Now that is a nice looking shrimp salad bowl!

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Jenn May 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Thanks Kevin!

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