Cambodian-inspired coconut and cabbage noodle salad with lime pepper dressing recipe

Treat the family this autumn with this tasty recipe

30 mins cooking | Serves 6


Noodle salads are one of the easiest ways to eat lots of veg and I usually make a giant one once a week as they are even tastier the next day. Veg-wise, go for colour and crunch, and swap whatever you have in or out — carrots, red peppers, broccoli etc — would all work perfectly here.

This salad is inspired by a chef I cooked with on a trip to Cambodia. I loved pomelo when I was there so replaced it here with grapefruit but you could use an orange or some chopped cherry tomatoes as an alternative juicy fruit. The dressing is peppery and citrusy and would work beautifully on grilled meat, fish or aubergines.


  • 1 big handful of coconut flakes, desiccated coconut, nuts or seeds
  • 6 bundles of noodles (I like soba noodles)
  • ½ large red cabbage (400g), finely chopped or shredded
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced, or 1 red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 pink grapefruit, cut into segments
  • 300g green beans, topped but not tailed
  • 3 handfuls of frozen peas
  • 3 big handfuls of a mix of chopped fresh mint, coriander and basil

Lime pepper dressing

  • 1 tbsp ground Kampot pepper or regular black or white pepper (use 1½ tsp fresh peppercorns to get 1 tbsp ground)
  • 7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Juice of 3 to 4 limes or 1½ to 2 lemons and 1 tbsp zest
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated 5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 2½ tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce or extra tamari
  • 1 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
  • chilli flakes or chopped fresh chilli, to taste


  1. Start with the dressing. Grind the peppercorns and, in a large saucepan, toast them for 1 minute to bring out the flavour, then transfer to a large bowl that you can also use to serve from.
  2. Whisk the rest of the dressing ingredients together in the bowl and season. It should be peppery, salty, tangy and slightly sweet and spicy too. Put aside a third of the dressing for later.
  3. Put the pan back on the heat and toast the coconut, nuts or seeds for a few minutes until golden, shaking the pan halfway through, then set aside. Now fill the pan with boiling water and cook the noodles following the label instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water, then drain again well so there’s no excess water.
  4. Add to the big bowl with two thirds of the dressing and toss (if you don’t toss them soon after cooking, they might start to stick together). Add the cabbage to the noodles with the spring onion and grapefruit. Add the green beans to the same pan you used for the noodles with a pinch of sea salt and just enough boiling water to cover them and pop the lid on.
  5. After 4 minutes, add the peas for a further minute, then drain any excess liquid and add them to the noodles. Add most of the herbs and the coconut and toss, then serve with the rest of the herbs and coconut on top and the leftover dressing on the side. 

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