Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cold Peanut Sesame Noodles

Currently, my 17 month old son's diet consists of four food groups: milk, eggs, fruit and spoonfuls of peanut butter.  Seriously.  Hoping to appeal to his love of peanut butter and wanting to avoid heating up my kitchen this evening, I whipped up these Cold Peanut Noodles (he wasn't convinced, but the rest of us liked it!).

This is one of those recipes that comes together as quickly as it takes to boil water and cook the noodles.  A quick Asian-style peanut-sesame dressing and crunchy vegetables are tossed with pasta for an easy and delicious warm weather dish.  Feel free to personalize the dish with your own favorite veggies--I think sliced snow peas or thawed frozen shelled edamame would be great!  Although substantial enough on its own, we rounded our noodles out with some grilled chicken on the side!

Cold Peanut Sesame Noodles
8 ounces thin spaghetti or angel hair (can substitute rice noodles as well)
1 small cucumber
1/2 red bell pepper
1 medium carrot
3 green onions
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine or water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic
1-inch piece fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Prepare noodles "al dente" according to package directions.  Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until cool.  Shake the colander to remove as much water as possible and transfer to a large bowl.

(This next part can be done while waiting for the water to boil and the noodles to cook)
Cut the cucumber into matchstick sized pieces. Thinly slice the red bell pepper.  Peel the carrot and cut into thin matchsticks.  Thinly slice the green onions, white and green parts, reserving a small amount for garnish at the end.  Roughly chop the cilantro, also reserving some for garnish.  Add everything except reserved garnishes to the bowl of noodles.

In a blender or food processor, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, wine, lime juice, sesame oil, honey, garlic and ginger.  Blend on medium speed until smooth, adding a tiny bit of water, if necessary, if mixture is too thick.  Once dressing is completely smooth, pour over noodle and vegetable mixture, tossing to combine.  Transfer to a serving platter, if desired, and garnish with reserved green onion and cilantro.  Serve immediately.

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