I have been making these sesame noodles for years. It’s my go to recipe for picnics and potlucks because you can make it the night before. It’s always a hit. I think it tastes better if you make it ahead of time because the noodles soak up more of the tangy sweet dressing.
This vegetarian recipe makes a great base for any protein you like: tofu, chicken, etc. You can even buy already cooked frozen chicken or shredded rotissiere chicken. My kids love tofu on top of a nest of noodles. I pan fry firm tofu to give it a little crunch for them.
I added red and yellow bell peppers to this batch of sesame noodles, but I’ve done shredded carrots and cucumbers in the past. (I might have thrown in some sugar snap peas too.) This recipe is the infinitely customizable: veggies, protein, herbs. Yes, it sounds very Asian, but you should have most of the ingredients in your pantry.
If your kids want to help, place the peanuts in a ziptop bag and let them have at. I pulled out a toy hammer from Jaxson’s tool kit and they too turns. It was the little person job ever! You can also use a rolling pin or the bottom of a saucepan. Your kids can also help toss the noodles.
The Best Sesame Noodles Ever
1 tablespoon of canola or other neutral oil
2 tablespoons of minced fresh ginger (I use my microplane)
2 cloves of garlic, minced (again, the microplane)
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of sugar (honey or agave works well too)
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of Sriracha or similar garlic chili sauce (optional)
Ingredients for Noodles
3/4 of a 1 pound box of spaghetti or thin spaghetti (I used whole grain above)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup of red, yellow or orange bell peppers, julienned
1/2 cup of chopped or crushed unsalted roasted peanuts
Cook pasta according to the instructions. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process and rinse off the starch.
Heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add minced ginger and garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Your kitchen will soon be fragrant with the scent of garlic and ginger. Remove from heat immediately and transfer to a large bowl. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Taste the dressing and make sure it’s a good balance of sweet, salty, and tangy. Adjust if necessary. I make mine a little on the tangy side because the noodles will mute the flavor a bit.
Add the noodles, green onions, cilantro and bell peppers to the dressing. Toss well. If you have time, let it sit in the fridge for an hour or more. Just give it a toss every 20 minutes or so. Before serving, top with crushed peanuts.
Serves 4-8 depending on how well you can resist the tasty goodness.