vietnamese zucchini noodle bowl

i have been wanting a zucchini spiralizer since the day i first borrowed a friend's four years ago. it seemed like such a silly kitchen appliance that i would probably only use to make zucchini noodles, and couldn't quite justify the forty bucks. four years later, i finally caved. i'll warn you now that i will probably try to justify that forty dollars with an excessive amount of zucchini noodle recipes. i apologize also for encouraging you to buy another thing to add to your over-flowing junk drawer or cabinet of kitchen gadgets. if you don't want to buy some bulky spiralizer, you could also spring for a julienne peeler... or if you trust your knife skills, go for it! julienne your little heart away!! but the spiralizer is just too fun to use, and the noodles are even that much more fun to eat. 

vietnamese zucchini noodle salad ~ serves 4
20 oz zucchini
1/2 cup chopped cilantro 
5 green onions
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, crushed
1 red bell pepper
1 small bunch radishes
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil 
1 tablespoon grape seed oil
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon - or to taste - fish sauce (optional) 
1/2 teaspoon aleppo chili flakes
2 cups vietnamese pickled vegetables (see recipe below) 

trim ends of zucchini and use spiralizer to create zucchini noodles. alternatively, cut zucchini in half and scoop out the soft center with a spoon and julienne-cut into 2 inch long matchsticks. place noodles into a large bowl. 

clean and cut radishes in half, and thinly slice into half-moons. quarter the bell pepper, remove seeds and cut into thin strips. place radishes and pepper into the noodle bowl. add 2 cups of pickled vegetables, strained from the brine (remove the large slices of pickled raw ginger and garlic). clean and dice cilantro, and slice green onions at a diagonal. add to the vegetable mixture along with crushed peanuts. 

in a small bowl combine remaining ingredients (lime, oils, ginger, garlic, salt, fish sauce and chili flakes). whisk until combines. poor over vegetables and toss to coat. adjust seasoning to taste. serve chilled or at room temperature. great alongside fried tofu or shrimp! 

vietnamese pickled vegetables 
6 oz cucumber
6 oz carrot, any color
6 oz daikon radish
1/2 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar 
1/2 cup warm water
3 tablespoons raw sugar
1/2 inch cube raw ginger, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt

peel carrots and daikon. julienne into thin 2-inch long match sticks. cut cucumber in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. cut to match the size of the carrots and daikon. place vegetables into a colander and sprinkle with one teaspoon salt. massage the salt into the vegetables and let sit for 20-30 minutes until moisture starts to drain off from the vegetables. this will turn your vegetables into little sponges, ready to soak up the vinegar. 

in a large jar or bowl, combine sugar with warm water. stir to dissolve. add remaining ingredients. once vegetables have drained, gently squeeze as much moisture from them as possible then transfer into the water-vinegar mixture. pickle overnight in the fridge (8-24 hours). they will store in the fridge for several days.