Cold Peanut Noodles with Crunchy Vegetables

Cold Peanut NoodlesI’ve tried at least a dozen recipes for peanut noodles over the years. I absolutely adore the combination of peanut butter, soy, ginger and chili mixed with noodles and crunchy vegetables. After many tries in my kitchen to find the perfect sauce and variety of vegetables, I think that this a keeper. It’s like a rainbow on the plate and quite pretty to look at (we do eat with our eyes first after all!).

This is a great summertime meal and tastes even better the second day once all the flavors marry overnight (you just may need to add a tiny bit of water to thin the sauce back out). Even my husband who says he doesn’t like peanut noodles is a fan of this dish.

Tip: I always found that mixing all the vegetables and noodles together just didn’t work because all of the veggies fell to the bottom of the bowl and you had to fish around to make sure you got enough. So instead of mixing everything together in one bowl, mix them separately and add the veggies to the top of everyone’s plate after you portion out the pasta.

Serves 6

Ingredients

Sauce

1/3 C peanut butter (you want something with no sugar added- I prefer organic)

1/4 C Rice vinegar

3 TBS Tamari (or low sodium soy sauce)

2 tsp Ginger, minced or grated on a microplane

1 tsp Hoisin

1 1/2 TBS sweet chili sauce

1 tsp Sesame oil

3 TBS Water

Noodle salad

8 oz Soba noodles (I like Yam soba, but you can use whatever you’d like)

1 C cabbage, thinly sliced (you can use red, green or Nappa)

3 Large carrots, cut into matchsticks

1 Large red bell pepper, thinly sliced

5 oz Edamame, cooked and cooled

1/2 C Cilantro, chopped

1/4 C scallions, thinly sliced

2 TBS Sesame seeds

Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside. Mix the cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, edamame and cilantro in a medium size bowl and set aside. Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Rinse with cold water, drain and add to a medium size bowl. Add half of the dressing to the noodles and half to the veggies. tossing each to coat. If the sauce seems too thick, you can add another TBS of water.  Portion out the noodles among six salad plates and then divide the veggie mixture over the top. Sprinkle with scallions and toasted sesame seeds.


Quinoa Biriyani with a Date Yogurt Sauce

Quinoa Biriyani

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am a huge fan of Indian food. Biriyani is no exception. In an effort to make one of my favorite grain dishes healthier, I decided to experiment with replacing the white rice with quinoa. This is a great dish that can be eaten as a complete meal, or served as a side. The date sauce is a great addition to the dish because it adds a  sweet, but not overpowering flavor with a touch of mint. If you don’t like mint, you can simply leave it out.

Quinoa is often served warm, but I prefer it cold or room temp. This is a great dish to bring to a pot-luck dinner and tastes just as good the next day.

If you aren’t very familiar with quinoa, it is a grain-like seed that has a slightly nutty flavor and is a great alternative to white rice or couscous. It’s a complete protein and is high in magnesium and iron as well as being a good source of fiber.  In addition, quinoa is a gluten-free food, making it a great option for people with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Tip: Quinoa can sometimes taste bitter when cooked. Soak the seeds in cold water for 15 minutes before cooking and you can help minimize the bitterness.

Quinoa Biriyani with a Date Yogurt Sauce

Serves 4 as a main dish and 6 as a side dish

Ingredients

3/4 C Quinoa, (see tip above)

1/2 C Vegetable Broth

1/2 C Water

1/2 C Carrots, shredded

1/3 C Raisins

2 tsp Curry paste mixed with 1 tsp water

1/4 C Unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 Peas (cooked and cooled)

1/3 C Cashews (I like to toast mine for a few minutes in a dry pan)

2 TBS Cilantro, chopped

2 T scallions, sliced into 1/8″ rings (green part only)

Sauce

2 Pitted dates

1/4 C Plain lowfat Greek yogurt (Fage is my favorite)

1 tsp lemon

4 mint leaves, finely chopped

Add Quinoa, vegetable stock and water to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the quinoa boils, turn the stove down and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until cooked ( you can tell that quinoa is done when you see a small white “ring” around the outside the seeds). While the quinoa is cooking, add the carrots through the scallions into a large bowl and stir to combine.

Next, prepare the sauce by adding the dates, yogurt, lemon and mint leaves into a food processor or blender until thoroughly combined. It won’t be completely smooth, but shouldn’t have large chunks of dates.

When the quinoa is done cooking, add it to another bowl and allow to cool completely before adding to the carrot, raisin, pea mixture.

To serve, add roughly a TBS of the sauce on top of the biriyani.