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peanut sauce

Soba Noodles with Carrot-Cabbage Slaw and Peanut Sauce

Soba Noodles with Carrot-Cabbage Slaw and Peanut Sauce

I eat much peanut butter almost every morning. On oatmeal days, at least two tablespoons are swirled into my bowl, and sometimes more.

Unfortunately, this means that it’s a rare occasion that peanut butter gets incorporated into other meals. But those occasions are always cherished.

There are plenty of reasons to add peanut butter to lunch and dinner.

Peanut Sauce

One of my favorite savory forums for the ingredient is a gingery, garlicky peanut sauce. If you have a food processor, its assembly is almost as easy as spooning peanut butter onto a banana.

Soba Noodles with Carrot-Cabbage Slaw and Peanut Sauce

Once you make the sauce, you’ll find that the remainder of this recipe is even simpler. If you’re looking for more, add some steamed edamame or tofu sautéed in soy sauce.

Topping choices can also get creative. Scallions, chopped peanuts or cashews, extra cilantro, and a squeeze of lime are all favorites. And I do love a squeeze of Sriracha, too.

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Green Beans with Coconut Curry Peanut Sauce

 Green Beans with Coconut Thai Curry Peanut Sauce

Thai coconut curry forever remains one of my mealtime mainstays.

On my stove at least twice a month, it’s one of the simplest and tastiest ways to load up on broccoli, bok choy, mushrooms, and other garden goodness.

But for this particular rendition, I chose to focus on one ingredient — green beans, a veggie that rarely lets me down.

Green Beans with Coconut Thai Curry Peanut Sauce

The sauce here is thin enough that you could serve this over rice. To make it a full meal, fry up some tofu to toss on the side.

But it’s truly a delicious side all on its own. You can spoon up all that sauce, no rice needed. And if you have any extra, use it as a dip for steamed broccoli or to top soba or rice noodles.

Thai Curry Peanut Sauce

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Tofu Banh Mi Collard Wraps with Wasabi Peanut Sauce

Tofu Bahn Mi Collard Wraps

Certain neighborhoods of Philly are infiltrated with Banh mi. The classic Vietnamese sandwich essentially acts as the Chipotle of the Asian food world, but even cheaper. You walk in, select your “meat”, and leave within 5-10 minutes with an aluminum wrapped, $5 foot-long sandwich, ready to be eaten. It’s a great feeling.

Scallions

Since it’s so easy to pick up a Banh mi around Philly, I rarely take the time to make it. Yet, it’s hands-down one of my favorites of the sandwich world, and so on the occasion that I’m getting a simultaneous desire for both Banh mi and a chef’s knife in my hand, I put on my cooking hat and grab my own tofu to be canvassed.

Tofu Bahn Mi Collard Wraps

When Banh mi making is going down in my kitchen, you can nearly guarantee it’s going to have a little flair to it. What’s the point of making the original version when I can grab that anytime, with little detriment to my bank account?  Besides, if I’m recreating a dish, I’m always about finding further ways to maximize its flavor since the ingredient make-up lays entirely in my hands. No doubt, that’s going on with this recipe. Wassuppppp wasabi?

Tofu Bahn Mi Collard Wraps

I don’t eat a ton of white bread, but when it comes to Banh Mi, a chewy white roll will always oust a whole wheat counterpart. This is one instance where whole wheat just won’t work. The flavor is unfortunately just too overpowering.

Collard wraps, on the other hand, those can create some Banh Mi magic.

CollardWraps_blog11

Here, collard wraps are able to balance the delicate freshness of the traditional Banh mi composition, while adding an even extra layer of freshness on top of it all. It lightens up the whole meal, while enabling more flavor to shine through. Peel back that one-inch layer of bread, and the notes of deliciousness from the slaw, cilantro and other jamboree of ingredients are able to reach their fullest potential.

Shredded carrots

Be patient with the tofu, and make sure it gets a nice crisp so it can add that contrast to the creamy peanut sauce you’ll place beneath it.

For a fun, spicy twist, this peanut sauce receives a generous punch of wasabi that’ll make it stand out among other sauces. I love the flavor it brings to the subtle sweetness of the peanuts and the carrots.

CollardWraps_blogmontage

True to the grab-and-go nature of banh mi — but more so with the intention to make your wrap-eating a little less messy! — envelope your collard packages in aluminum foil. This will seal in all the flavors so they don’t end up on your shirt. Although, if you’re like me, that’ll probably happen anyway.

I brought that big pile up above into work last week, and served it with a slide of Asian slaw for my coworkers. Two thumbs up, all around.

Since these are destined for pre-packaging, this will makes a great recipe for your own workweek lunch. While best the first day, the wraps can certainly withstand being rolled up the night before and kept in the fridge till you head out.

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Peanut Turmeric Rice Bowls with Edamame

Edamame

I go through a lot of ingredient phases. Last month it was tahini. (Although, that phase never really ends). This month, it’s turmeric. Turmeric’s  going into my morning smoothies, my lunchtime collard wraps, my afternoon tea, my salad dressings, my dinnertime peanut sauces, etc. It’s a turmeric takeover, and my orange-stained cutting boards are hating me for it. Good thing the love from my body makes up for that, and that’s what really counts, right?

Peanut Turmeric Rice Bowls with Edamame

It took me awhile to get the turmeric bug. I grew up on the spice, but was never really fond of it. In fact, once I was old enough to recognize its flavor, there were multiple occasions where I’d beg my mom not to put it in the dishes she would make. I thought it was bitter, and ruined everything it touched. So, like the teenage version of a little kid pulling at their parent’s pant leg, my easily irritable self would sit at the dinner table, and go, “UGH, MOM, turmeric again? Did you have to? What were you thinking?” I was annoying. And I know it even more so now that I’ve fallen into a deep love with the spice, one I once held as my enemy. Sorry mom. You were right. Turmeric is awesome. And I know what you were thinking.

Compliment it with a little salt and a fat, such as olive oil, or in this recipe, peanut butter/sesame oil, and its bitterness turns into a toastiness so pungent and aromatic, it’s hard not to be won over. (Although, be prepared to employ some repetition in introducing little kid taste buds to it. It’ll never become an overly sweet spice, like cinnamon.)

Edamamae

Now, without even thinking, turmeric automatically gets thrown into everything. Although, rarely is it intentional, and naturally such is the case here. Just like with my morning smoothies and my blender, as the food processor was whizzing for this peanut sauce, the turmeric jar caught my eye. Then came the uncontrollable impulse to throw two teaspoons into its ingredient whirl. Within minutes, my originally calculated dinner took off with a whole new personality. Kitchen spontaneity, at its best. Again, turmeric is showing me it can do no wrong. I like a meal with a little attitude, and that’s exactly what it brought to this.

And now that I’ve gushed about turmeric for far too many WordPress lines…can we talk about the natural beauty of edamame?! In reality, they should’ve really been the primary focus of this blog post. After all, they were the inspiration for this meal. Crunchy, and packed with protein, the green pods make a nice addition to grains, and allow for a pleasant change of pace from beans, my typical sidekick to rice. After you add in the turmeric and pile on some kale, you’re left with an incredibly flavorful and nutrient-packed meal. As with turmeric, those kind of meals will never do you wrong.

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Thai Peanut Spaghetti Squash Bowl

Spaghetti Squash with Thai Peanut Sauce

Making peanut sauce is like having an old childhood friend come to visit. Not the kind of friend you avoid after spotting in the grocery store during a trip to visit your parents. Rather, the kind you actually want to see. The kind you wish you could run into more often.

This, for me at least, is how it feels when I’m whizzing away peanut sauce in the food processor. Upon first taste from the spatula, I always question myself as to why I don’t let the occasion occur more often. Peanut sauce should be a current friend, not a long lost one.

Peanut Sauce

I found this recipe over on a newly discovered blog, Produce on Parade. Katie whips up some awesome vegan dishes, including the one I’m sharing with you today.

It joins a relatively new pal of mine, spaghetti squash, with that old friend I mentioned above. It’s hard to go wrong when you put those two ingredients together in a bowl, and top it with fresh herbs and salty nuts.

Consider making one and a half batches of the sauce. Heck, go crazy and double it and you could have leftovers to dip tomorrow’s broccoli in. I tend to like things on the saucy side, so I upped the amounts listed in the recipe below. If your tastes lean the same way, I suggest you do the same.

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