Monday, February 21, 2011

Meatless Monday

I have a feeling you might want to try making the dish I’m about to share with you for your very own celebrations (or just for the heck of it). The Gluten Free Spicy Sesame Peanut Noodles, that is. Oh, and if you or someone you cook for cannot eat peanuts, I bet you could make this dish with Almond Butter or Cashew Butter. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that one of the ways in which I show my love for the important people in my life is by cooking for them. I love peanut sauce, so much I could probably eat it plain with a spoon. The great thing about this dish is that it is really adaptable. You can use whatever vegetables you have in the frig in place of the green and red cabbage, and you can add leftover chicken or grilled shrimp. Today though, since it is Meatless Monday we are opting for Tofu.... On a recent trip to my favorite Thai restaurant, I had a version of this made with quinoa pasta and shrimp, so delicious.
Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s kind of like two courses (salad and main course) in one. How perfect is that. I also make this recipe for my kids but leave out the vegetables, I know not a great idea, but my kids a very texture sensitive and vegetable are trigger. My kids loves this recipe with just chicken or tofu and the peanut sauce. Make your Gluten Free Spicy Sesame Peanut Noodles dish your own, add veggies you might in put in a salad (for example, napa or green or red cabbage, scallions, broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, cucumber etc.) and let the magic begin. The sky’s the limit.
One word of caution. Remember to avoid overcooking the noodles. If anything, cook them al dente.

Gluten Free Spicy Sesame Peanut Noodles

1 lb. gluten free brown rice or quinoa spaghetti or flat rice noodles
4 tbsp sesame oil
1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained and pressed dry (cooked chicken or shrimp are great substitutes)
1 – 2 tsp. grapeseed oil
1/2 c. peanut butter, use a natural peanut butter
5 tbsp wheat free tamari
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 – 3 tbsp agave or sweetener of choice
3 cloves garlic
3 tsp ginger, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper or 1 tbsp chili garlic paste
1 tbsp hot water
1/2 cup red cabbage, sliced thin
1/2 cup green cabbage, sliced thin
1 tsp grapeseed oil
1 cucumber, julienned
1 large carrot, julienned
2 scallions, sliced
Cook the spaghetti until done, being very careful not to overcook. Drain and run cold water over noodles, raking your fingers through the noodles until they are no longer hot to the touch. Allow to continue draining in the colander. When fully drained, pour noodles into a bowl. Add 2 tbsp of the sesame oil, toss until coated, set aside.
Slice the tofu into 1/2″ slices (you should have about 10 slices). Saute in 1 tsp. grapeseed oil until crisp on each side, flipping halfway through cooking. Remove from pan and cube. Set aside.
To prepare the sesame peanut sauce, put the remaining 2 tbsp sesame oil, peanut butter, tamari, vinegar, agave, garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper, and hot water into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
Stir fry or steam the cabbage in 1 tsp grapeseed oil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
To assemble the dish, add the tofu and cabbage to the noodles. Pour 1/2 cup of the peanut sauce over the noodles, tofu and cabbage, tossing to coat the noodles. Add more sauce, as desired. If necessary, before adding more sauce to the noodles, thin the sauce with additional hot water (only adding one tbsp at a time to the sauce).
To serve, place on a plate. Top with julienned cucumber, carrot, and scallion. Drizzle additional sauce over the entire dish, to taste.

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