July 20, 2009

Peanut Sesame Noodle Salad

A few weeks ago (yes, that is how long ago I made this), I was really in the mood for some cold noodles. We were in the middle of an unfortunate heat wave here in St. Louis and the air conditioning in my apartment just wasn't cutting it. I had a lot of smoothies that week, and also lots of cold noodles. I actually made two similar Asian noodle dishes in one week, but like my air conditioning, the other one just didn't make the cut.

This one was just so much better. Maybe it's because I love peanut butter so much (who doesn't?) but this dish has so many other high points. For one, it's light and refreshing with hints of heat from the sriracha and coolness from the ginger. The crisp vegetables also lend a pleasant crunch and freshness. It's perfect for summer when you want something substantial without having to turn on the oven or the stove. "Yum" is really all I have to say- eloquent, isn't it?

Peanut Sesame Noodles

Adapted from smittenkitchen
makes 6 side-dish or 4 vegetarian main-course servings

For peanut dressing
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon red chile paste
1 teaspoon sriracha

For noodles
3/4 lb dried soba nooodles [dried spaghetti also works well]
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 cup firm or extra-firm tofu, cubed
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Puree the dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 2 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl.

Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until tender. Drain in a colander, then rinse well under cold water.

Add pasta, scallions, bell peppers, cucumber and tofu to dressing, tossing to combine. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.

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