This salad is a favorite in my noodle cooking classes. The salad's character can be mild or zesty; simply adjust the heat by using the amount of red pepper flakes that suit your taste.
4 ounces spinach ribbon noodles (about 3 cups)
¾ cup couscous
¾ cup hot water
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
¼ cup white rice vinegar
¼ cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark (Asian) sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
Dash of salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon water, or as needed
To complete the recipe
½ red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Garnish (optional): mandarin orange segments or pineapple chunks, sprigs of fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat; add salt, then the noodles. When the water returns to a boil, stir occasionally to separate the noodles. Reduce the heat to medium-high and and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or according to package instructions, until al dente.
While the noodles are cooking, combine the couscous and hot water in a small bowl. Cover and let stand until the liquid is completely absorbed, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing ingredients, except the water, in a small bowl. The dressing should have a cake batter consistency; add more water as needed. Set aside.
When the noodles are done, drain and rinse well in cold water, then drain again. Fluff the couscous with a fork.
Combine the bell pepper, scallions, and parsley in a large bowl. Add the noodles and couscous; toss. Add the dressing and toss again. Taste and adjust the seasoning.