If you love Thai food, then this take-out style peanut sesame noodles is something you need to try. It’s one of our favorites – something we enjoy often. Not only does it deliver on deliciousness, it’s a necessary convenience when there’s only, say, 24 minutes on the clock. It makes a great make-ahead meal when re-living biology and algebra 1 (for the third time, with child number two, to be exact) and tied up until well after five. Kids or not, this will certainly satisfy your carb craving – something salty, sweet, vinegary, and a whole lot of creamy …
The vinegar and lime acidity cuts through the sweetness from the maple syrup, and when paired with the fragrant heat from the fresh ginger it brings out the peanut and sesame flavors. But not without the sweet chili sauce. It adds complexity – a complexity you want – that makes the sauce. In other words, “holy moly this is good”.
I use quinoa spaghetti because it tastes the closest to soba noodles and doesn’t mush up, almost any gluten free spaghetti/noodle will do. The only brand I don’t recommend is Trader Joe’s or Tinkyada spaghetti because both make very clumpy, starchy pasta noodles (just being honest with you). If quinoa spaghetti is not available in your area, try rice spaghetti or noodles. Annie Chun or Lundberg has good options. Be careful when buying “buckwheat” noodles, most contain wheat.
Oh, and yes, you can easily halve the recipe if you are not feeding a small village. There does tend to be some whining around here when I don’t make extra, so I make plenty. That is, in case you were thinking that is one huge plate of noodles …
Don’t let the good dose of peanut butter in here sway you; this will make plenty. When broken down, it really isn’t as much per serving as it seems and will present you with the most creamy dreamy noodles you have ever slurped.
These also make fun little appetizers in little clear disposable cups with forks stuck in the center (for those who are clumsy with chopsticks – that being me), or chopsticks instead, for those not clumsy, unlike me.
Come morning, there’s nothing better than speeding up my school morning rush with a quick hustle of noodles into the boys lunch containers. Times three in two minutes. I love the easy math here. Do you have kids? If so, you know what the morning rush is like (!). Serve as-is or side with grilled chicken or salmon. I prefer as is, my guys prefer sliced chicken strips in their bowls. Either way, it’s just like take-out style noodles but better … enjoy!
Here are some step-by-step photos… (in real-time iPhone time! :))
Add all peanut sauce ingredients into the blender … ready in 30 seconds.
Transfer to a jar (it will make plenty and delicious as a salad dressing or for chicken satay)
Once noodles are ready, add other ingredients. I combine sauce with pasta in two batches for easier mixing.
Sauce up the noodles. You decide how much or how little, I use about 2/3rds of the jar.
I didn’t toast my sesame seeds this time due to laziness. Not the worst thing ever if you don’t but it does add extra sesame flavor.
- For the Pasta:
- 2 boxes (1 pound) gluten free spaghetti (I use Andean Dream quinoa spaghetti)
- about 6 cups water
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- For the Peanut Sauce:
- 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- 3 garlic cloves
- half a
jalapeño, seeded(it will be mild, use whole if you prefer spicier)
- juice of 2-3 limes (scant ¼ cup)
- 1 heaping cup (about 14 ounces) creamy peanut butter, unsalted and unsweetened
- 4-6 tablespoons rice vinegar
- Two pinches kosher salt (about 2 teaspoons)
- ½ cup maple syrup (preferably grade B)
- ½ cup sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free fish sauce (I use Thai Kitchen)
- ¼ cup gluten free sweet red chili sauce (I use Thai Kitchen or Sky Valley)
- Other ingredients:
- about 2 cups full snap peas, snap off fibrous tips and pull off tough string along the ends
- 3-4 carrots, trimmed, peeled and grated
- 4-5 scallions, trimmed and sliced thin
- ¼ cup raw sesame seeds, toasted
- For the pasta:
- Fill a large pot with water for the spaghetti. When boiling, add kosher salt then spaghetti and stir. Cook spaghetti according to package directions then turn off heat and let it sit in the water for 2-3 minutes for softer Asian-inspired noodles. Drain and transfer into a large bowl. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients. Optional: toast sesame seeds in a small skillet (tossing often) over medium heat until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
- For the sauce: pulse all the peanut sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add half of the peanut sauce to the noodles and combine. If you find it to be too thick add a splash of rice vinegar and maple syrup.
- Note: This will make nearly a quart. I use two-thirds and save the rest for salad dressing (my fave: napa or savoy cabbage, romaine or dino kale, scallions, almonds, carrots, jicama, basil and/or cilantro) or as a dipping sauce for grilled chicken strips.
- Reserve some sesame seeds, sliced scallion, shredded carrot, and snap peas, for garnish, if you like, before adding the other prepared ingredients. Toss to combine well. Serve room temperature or chilled. Can remain refrigerated for up to a week. Freezer friendly for up to a month in a tightly sealed container.
- For vegans: omit the fish sauce and use sea kelp flakes or vegan dashi powder (dried edible sea kelp).
- If peanut free, try sunflower seed butter. I have made this with sunflower seed butter and find it to be delicious with some modifications: a bit more sesame oil, a splash or two more of rice vinegar, and sweet red chili sauce. Taste as you go.
- Some other additions to try: mung bean sprouts, jicama, or mint.
- For Spice: add more jalapeno or red Thai chili if you prefer spicy. This is more on the mild side since my little guys do not it too spicy.
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Monica Hershfeld says