Thai-style Beef Salad over Angel-Hair Pasta

  • Active Time 20m
  • Total Time 20m

Serves 4

Laab — ground beef seasoned with chiles, lime juice, fish sauce and mint — is a traditional Thai meat salad eaten warm or at room temperature. We've added thin noodles to turn it into a pasta salad, but you can always eat the meat mixture by itself; just cut down on the fish sauce, or the beef may be too salty.


  • For Pasta:
  • 1/2 pound angel hair pasta or other thin pasta
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
  • For Almonds:
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • For Beef:
  • 1 jalapeno chili, seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)*
  • 4 scallions including green tops, chopped
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (from about 2 limes), plus 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
  • *Available at Asian markets and most supermarkets


FOR PASTA: In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until just done, about 5 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again thoroughly. Toss the pasta with 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil and 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil.

FOR ALMOND: In a large frying pan, toast the almonds over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Or toast the nuts in a 350 degrees F oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the nuts from the pan and chop them.

FOR BEEF: In a large frying pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of cooking oil over moderately high heat. Add half the jalapeno, the ginger, beef and salt. Cook the meat, stirring frequently, until brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining tablespoon sesame oil, the fish sauce, scallions, mint and lime juice.

TO SERVE: Put the pasta on plates and top with the beef salad. Sprinkle with the remaining minced jalapeno and the chopped almonds and serve with the lime wedges.

 This dish would be a real challenge for most wines. A rich, fairly sweet and malty dark beer, however, will make a splendid chaser.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Food and Wine. All rights reserved.

RecID 2906

nutrition information per serving

710 calories; 40g total fat; 72mg cholesterol; 2266mg sodium; 39g carbohydrates; 4g fiber; 49g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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