Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce

I've made a few different peanut sauces before with varied levels of success.  Last night we made a new version with great success!  While some peanut sauces can be quite thick and heavy, this one was both light and flavorful.

We served this with Asian Cabbage Slaw on the side.  


A delicious dinner.

Recipe: 
Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce
  • 1 package whole wheat linguini
  • 1.5 cups frozen broccoli
  • 1.5 cups frozen snap peas  
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1" chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 7 tablespoons (just under 1/2 cup) rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter 
  • 2 carrots, sliced finely or grated 
First, begin preparing the linguini according to the package instructions.  When about 4 minutes remain in the cooking time, add the broccoli and snap peas and cook with the pasta for the remaining time.

Meanwhile, brown the tofu.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet, add the tofu to the hot oil, and cook, turning the tofu every several minutes, until it has browned on most sides.  Set aside.

Then, prepare the peanut sauce.  Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.  Add the crushed red pepper flakes, ginger, and brown sugar to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes.  Next, add the soy sauce, vinegar, and peanut butter to the pan and use a whisk to combine the ingredients into a smooth sauce, cooking and whisking for another couple minutes.

Once the sauce is smooth and hot and the pasta/vegetables are cooked and drained, combine these together with the tofu and carrots and toss until everything is evenly coated.


Serve hot or cold. Yields 6 servings. 
Comments:
Taste:      
As I said above, this was a great peanut sauce.  It was light, unlike other heavier peanut sauces I've had in the past, which was unexpectedly nice.  The addition of uncooked carrots also added a nice crunch to the dish.
Accessibility:     
Compared to some other Asian-inspired dishes on this blog, this dish is pretty accessible.  We just used plain old whole-wheat linguini rather than rice noodles (we haven't had much luck with rice noodles in the past, unfortunately).
 Ease of Preparation:    
This recipe involves several steps; however, they flow together nicely and allow for multitasking.  Plus, it was pretty quick to make.  We cooked both the tofu and the peanut sauce in the time it took to prepare the noodles. 
Non-vegan friendliness:   
This dish has a great flavor and a variety of textures that would please any palate.  If you're cooking for someone who is suspicious of tofu, browning it is always a good bet--as is covering it in tasty peanut sauce!  This was a filling, satisfying dish. 

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