Friday, June 29, 2012

Peanut Noodle Salad

I've made enough noodle dishes to realize that no one peanut sauce-covered noodle recipe is quite like another.  This recipe for Peanut Noodle Salad is different from more classic Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce in a few ways:
  1. It's more of a side dish or salad than a stand-alone main dish.
  2. It can be served cold.
  3. It contains raw ingredients.
We served this noodle salad alongside Asian Cabbage Slaw and crispy spring rolls for a quite satisfying meal.

Peanut noodle salad garnished with crushed peanuts.
Note: this dish is best consumed on the same day you make it.  Enjoy it while it's fresh!

Recipe:     
Peanut Noodle Salad
  • 1 box whole wheat linguine or spaghetti, prepared according to package instructions (see note below)
  • 1 - 12 ounce package pre-shelled frozen edamame, prepared according to package instructions
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (I prefer Frank's)
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin, bite sized strips
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • peanuts, crushed, for garnish

First, prepare the pasta and edamame according to package instructions--but reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining.  Once they're cooked, rinse both the pasta and edamame with cold water and drain before combining in a large bowl.  Add the sesame oil and toss until coated.  Set aside. 

Next, create the sauce.  Whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, hot sauce, and 6 tablespoons pasta cooking water in a medium bowl until smooth.

Finally, add the sauce and the cucumber, pepper, and cilantro to the noodle bowl.  Toss all ingredients together, top with crushed peanuts, and serve. 

Yields 8 small portions. 

Comments:
Taste:          
I really enjoyed the freshness that the cucumbers bring to this dish.  I also like that the peanut sauce isn't overpowering or too heavy.  This is definitely a nice summer dish.
Accessibility:   
Frozen edamame should be easy to find.  If you don't have natural peanut butter, you can always use regular peanut butter.
 Ease of Preparation:       
This recipe is nice and quick.  You can prepare the sauce and chop the veggies while the first two ingredients are cooking. 
Non-vegan friendliness:      
Everyone should enjoy this veggie- and protein-packed side dish. 

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