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Basil-Cilantro Noodles

Basil-Cilantro Noodles 4.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Aug 10, 2015

Slippery and savory, this unusual combination of ingredients -- Italian pasta, Asian elements, store-bought cabbage/coleslaw mix and lime juice -- works surprisingly well when you're up for just a bit of cooking and a light meal on a warm summer night. Basil and cilantro are not the dominant flavors, even though they figure prominently in the title.

We recommend using the larger amount of linguine, so you'll have leftovers; we'd add more fresh, crunchy vegetables to the mix for a nice lunch.

Serve at room temperature or chilled, with minted snap peas or garlicky sauteed snow peas.

4 , plus leftovers

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 , plus leftovers

  • Kosher salt
  • 8 to 12 ounces dried whole-grain linguine
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • One 1-inch piece fresh ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 limes
  • Small handful cilantro, plus a few leaves for optional garnish
  • Small handful basil, plus a few leaves for optional garnish


Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt and the pasta (the amount depends on whether you'd like leftovers); stir, and cook according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, cut the onion into very thin slices. Mince the garlic. Peel the ginger and mince or finely grate enough to yield 1 generous teaspoon.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. As soon as the oil is fragrant, stir in the onion, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper flakes; cook for 2 to 4 minutes, until the onion starts to soften. Add the cabbage or coleslaw mix, stirring to coat; cover and cook for 3 minutes or until it just starts to wilt.

Drain the linguine, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta cooking water. Return the linguine to its (now empty) pot, then transfer the contents of the skillet to the pot (off the heat). Add the soy sauce and toss to incorporate.

Use a Microplane zester to grate about 2 teaspoons of lime zest over the pot. Cut the limes in half, then squeeze their juice over the mixture in the pot; toss to incorporate. If the mixture seems dry, add some of the reserved pasta cooking water.

Coarsely chop the cilantro, including some tender stems, if you like, and the basil. Add to the pot and toss gently to incorporate.

Divide among wide, shallow bowls, reserving some for leftovers; garnish with a few basil and/or cilantro leaves, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Good Cheap Eats: Dinner in 30 Minutes (or Less!),” by Jessica Fisher (Harvard Common Press, 2015).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 280

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 9g 14%

Saturated Fat: 1g 5%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 190mg 8%

Total Carbohydrates: 46g 15%

Dietary Fiber: 7g 28%

Sugar: 4g

Protein: 8g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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