Thai Peanut Noodles – Cold Salad

To Know:

Allergy sufferers aside, I’m not sure I’ve ever crossed paths with someone who doesn’t love them some ooey gooey Thai peanut sauce. And when I say love, I mean most would eat their own shoe if it was served floating in a soup bowl of that peanut-y ode to sweet/salty/spicy harmony. But shoes are a spendy, chewy protein and I’ve discovered the lovefest endures just as well by combining our star sauce with toothsome wheat noodles and maybe a crisp, fresh veggie or three…and that’s where we find ourselves today.

This chilled noodle salad has been a favorite in our house for years. But it’s one of those dishes which we’ve probably never had the same version twice, as each time we forget what recipe was used previously. Not that there are huge differences between most recipes in the grand scheme, but central to Thai cooking is finding the proper balance of the 5 taste profiles (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami). It’s what partially encouraged me to develop my own recipe, that, and to try and control the amount of fat and sodium involved…as the sky’s the limit with dishes like these. But I think I found the right balance of flavors here, with just enough fat and just enough sodium to deliver comfort and taste, without serving all the guilt, or the bloat for that matter.

See what you think and then make this recipe your own. If you’re a peanut-free household, cashew butter might be a tasty alternative. Got that cilantro-hating gene? Try some basil instead…bonus points if you can get your hands on Thai basil instead of Sweet. I tried to keep the heat palatable, but some fresh chopped chilis or an extra squeeze of sriracha would be divine! Cold or hot, vegetarian or with some leftover chicken, these Thai Peanut Noodles will surely become a favorite in your house just as it is in ours.

To Get:

1  pound whole wheat spaghetti, broken into smaller fragments

1/2  cup peanut butter

2  tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1/3  cup low-sodium chicken stock or water

2  tablespoons fresh lime juice

1  tablespoon sriracha

1  tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1  tablespoon honey

1  tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or minced

2-3  scallions, chopped and divided

2  carrots, shredded

1  red bell pepper, chopped

1  cup edamame, shelled

1/2  cup cilantro, chopped

Toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional 

To Do:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook your noodles according to package instructions.
  2. In the meantime, in a 2-cup microwavable measuring cup, make the peanut sauce by combining the peanut butter, soy sauce, chicken stock/water, lime juice, sriracha, sesame oil, honey, ginger, and one of the chopped scallions. [Fun Hint: before measuring the peanut butter, spray the measuring cup with a little cooking spray, and it will come right out!] If the sauce isn’t coming together, microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until smooth and creamy.
  3. When the noodles are done, drain and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  4. If serving immediately, combine the drained, cooled noodles in a large bowl with the peanut sauce, carrots, red bell pepper, remaining scallions, edamame, and most of the cilantro, mix well. Top with the remaining chopped cilantro and sesame seeds, serve and nosh.
  5. If serving later, combine the drained, cooled noodles in a large bowl with 2/3-cup of the peanut sauce, reserving the extra sauce for later. Mix well, cover and refrigerate (along with the separate extra sauce), until ready to use.
  6. When ready to eat, add 1/2 cup of water to the peanut sauce, stir and microwave for 1 minute on high. Stir again and combine with the chilled noodles. This will loosen them up.
  7. Mix in the carrots, red bell pepper, remaining scallions, edamame, and most of the cilantro, top with remaining chopped cilantro and sesame seeds, serve and nosh.

Easily serves 8-10 as a side dish; should serve 4-6 as a main course

P.S. These noodles only get better as they refrigerate. If you find they are too stiff when cold, add a few tablespoons of boiling or hot water and stir, this should loosen them up. Add additional water if necessary.

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