I cannot tell a lie: this is one of my favorite noodle recipes to eat.
It’s not because I love peanut butter, and ginger, and sesame. It’s not because I love that you can make this as spicy or as mild as you like. It’s not because it’s super easy, although all those things are nice too.
It’s really because every time I make it, it’s a little different. Depending on what fresh ingredients I have in my fridge or growing in my herb garden, I can always change it up a little, and it always tastes amazing and fresh. And because of that, it’s easy to customize the recipe to include ingredients that you love, so that you can make it just the way you like it. Like a little extra heat? Just go for the max number of thai chilis. Like it a little milder? Seed one jalapeno and use that instead. Hate carrots? Leave ’em out. Crazy for ginger? Up the quantity to two tablespoons….
TIP: Smaller chilis are more potent than larger chilis of the same variety. Chilis grown in a hotter, more humid climate are spicier than those grown in a cool, dry climate.
TIP: If using the optional vegetarian “chicken,” read ingredients carefully before you buy to make sure that your variety is vegan. Also, look for brands that are made in the USA; brands made in taiwan or china may not include all ingredients on the label, and may not be vegetarian at all. If I am using vegetarian “chicken,” I go to my local asian mega-mart and look there. They carry US brands, and they are typically much cheaper than popular grocery store brands such as Morningstar Farms.
What other fresh ingredients would YOU add to these noodles?
Spicy Ginger Peanut Noodles
- 12 oz spaghetti, preferably whole wheat
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup white sesame seeds
- 3 tbsp peanut butter (chunky, smooth, or other)
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely diced
- 5 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 -4 thai chilis, chopped (or 1 jalapeno, chopped, or 1 tsp tabasco sauce)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2-3 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp black (or white) sesame seeds
- 2 carrots, peeled and grated
- 4 spring onions, sliced on the bias
- 8 oz vegetarian “chicken” shreds, or strips sliced into long, thin pieces (optional)
- Any other veggies or herbs you want to add (i.e. celery or chilis sliced on the bias; shredded raw kohlrabi, turnip, or jicama; fresh parsley, mint, or chives; etc.)
Break spaghetti in half before cooking (this will make it easier to distribute the rest of the ingredients evenly at the end). Cook pasta to al dente in salted water according to package directions. Drain, and place in a very large bowl. Add toasted sesame oil to the pasta, and use tongs to toss the spaghetti in the oil; this will keep it from sticking.
Meanwhile, place 1/4 cup sesame seeds in a dry pan, and toast over medium heat until aromatic and just starting to brown a little. Set aside to cool a little bit.
Place peanut butter, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chilis or hot sauce, brown sugar, and toasted sesame seeds into your blender. Blend until smooth. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is the consistency of cream.
Pour the dressing over the noodles. Add the black sesame seeds, carrots, spring onions, veggie chicken, and any other veggies or herbs to the bowl. Use tongs to toss. Serve room temperature or cold.
Makes about 8 servings.