Over the last few years, I’ve noticed changes in the way I cook. Most of the time, I’m trying a brand new recipe, something I saw on a cooking show or a favorite blog. I have plenty of stand-bys, but my once tried-and-true binders of old recipes have been neglected lately. The other night, instead of tackling something new, I peeled through the plastic sheet covers stuffed with recipe print-outs, scribbled with my notes. With a produce drawer overflowing with veggies I needed to use, I landed on two similar noodle dishes. With a few tweaks, I revisited an old favorite: Spicy Asian Noodles with Veggies.
After at least a year of testing different gluten-free products, I thought pasta was a lost cause. Our attempt to reduce gluten is by choice and we’re not strict about it at all. But when I tried Barilla’s GF pasta, I was pleasantly surprised at the result- it’s the closest to true (gluten-filled) pasta that I’ve found! I cooked up a pound of spaghetti and set it aside.
This dish is really all about the Asian condiments. You can use any noodle-y pasta you like: spaghetti, rice noodles, whatever. You can clear out your veggie drawer- anything goes! You can add chicken or shrimp. This meal is super versatile. It’s all about the sauce.
While the noodles cooked, I started chopping veggies. I used shitake mushrooms, carrots, red and yellow bell pepper, broccoli, green beans, and celery. Gorgeous!
I set those veggies aside and chopped up a few cloves of garlic and some green onion. I thinly sliced some peeled fresh ginger (I like big pieces in a stir-fry) and also minced some of it. The last ingredient was a can of chopped water chestnuts for crunch!
The veggie prep takes the most time; once everything is ready to go, the dish comes together quickly. In a bit of oil, I started sautéing the heartier veggies first (since they’d take the longest): carrot, green bean, and broccoli.
After a couple of minutes, I added the bell peppers and mushrooms. Next came the water chestnuts, garlic, and ginger slices. All of the veggies were still crisp at this point- I definitely didn’t want to overcook them.
One by one, I added a combination of Asian condiments right into the wok: a couple of tablespoons each of soy sauce, hoisin, and sambal (chili paste), a generous squeeze of honey, and a few shots of sesame oil. I added the minced ginger and the juice of half of a lime. You really have to just let the flavors blend and give it a taste, making adjustments as needed. (I added more hoisin and chili paste.)
When the veggies have softened to your preferred doneness, it’s time to add the drained noodles. Using tongs, I combined the saucy veggies and noodles. Chow time!
I sprinkled sesame seeds over the noodles before serving them, with a couple of lime wedges on the side. Our plates were a rainbow of veggies, and each bite contained something different. The noodles kind of absorb the tasty sauce, which was the perfect combination of spicy, salty, and sweet. The veggies had retained a bit of their crunch. Bonus: this dish is just as delicious served COLD as it is hot!
Someone please tell me that picnic season is right around the corner…
Spicy Asian Noodles with Veggies
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 cups of veggies of your choice, chopped or sliced
- One pound of spaghetti (rice noodles or soba noodles would work, too)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 green onions, chopped
- ½ inch fresh ginger, peeled and sliced paper-thin
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 small can of water chestnuts
- ½ lime, plus more for garnish
- 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons hoisin
- 1 tablespoon sambal (chili paste)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- Sesame seeds for garnish
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot or a wok, heat the oil. Starting with the heartiest veggies first, sauté the veggies until tender-crisp. Add the garlic, sliced ginger, green onion, and water chestnuts last.
Add the soy sauce, hoisin, sambal, honey, and sesame oil. Start with the lower measurement and add more of any item as needed, depending on your taste preference. Add the noodles to the wok and combine well with the veggies and sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with lime wedges. Serve hot, or enjoy cold the next day. Daydream about picnics and sunshine. Yum!
Hungry for more? Check out the collection of recipes on the FOOD BLISS link.
One year ago: A perfect day filled with gratitude and the sky.