Quick Dinner: Garlicky Peanut Noodles with Crunchy Vegetables

by Julie Ruble on November 2, 2011 · 33 comments

I was a mess of elbows and ankles today as I ran around school, the grocery store, the bank, and my apartment desperately trying to tug loose ends together.

In the store, I deftly ran over my own foot with a grocery cart just minutes before dropping not one but two 12-packs of diet Sunkist.

People stared. I acted nonchalant: Whatever, don’t act like you’ve never thrown some soda around. Totally under control over here.

I’m now doing laundry, packing Byrd’s things, packing my things, fixing up lesson plans, adjusting my budget, wrestling with Squirt’s stupid filter, and trying to find a moment to shave my legs. Oh, and writing a blog post, naturally.

All of this craziness came about because tomorrow I’m waking up at 3 in the flippin’ morning, collecting my mountain of luggage, and heading to San Francisco (with flowers in my hair! Except not really.) The 3rd annual Foodbuzz Blogger Festival is this weekend, and I can’t wait to eat lots of good food and see some sweet people.

Well, I can totally wait for the airplane part, though. In fact, can we just delete that part altogether? I’m one of those hyperventilating-just-a-little, having-occasional-panic-attacks, making-weird-faces people you hope you don’t have to sit next to on the plane. It’s cool; as long as I take my pills I should be able to limit the panic to some periodic weeping in the window seat.

I kid, I kid. The pills actually knock me straight out. I may snore, but at least I won’t be convulsing?

Anyway, back to the current chaos. Even with all the hubbub tonight, I threw together a homemade dinner. I’ve been eating this quick, 15 minute pasta dish like it’s goin’ out of style since I saw it on Not Without Salt. It checks all of my most important boxes for a weekday meal: it’s low calorie, it’s almost effortless, it’s tasty, and it’s piled sky-high with fun toppings.

The peanut butter and soy sauce together form a hearty, savory sauce that’s saved from straight-up bitterness by a few glugs of white wine and some gorgeous carrot curls. I threw on some green onions, chopped peanuts, lime juice, and tons and tons of bean sprouts before mixing the whole dish together and digging in. I love that gorgeous salty soy sauce flavor in every bite.


All right, my loves. On that crunchy, delicious note, I’m off to ‘Frisco (I know, don’t worry. I’ve already read all the blogs about how much locals hate it when tourists call it that) for a food adventure. Stay safe, and stay off airplanes, you crazies! If people were meant to fly, God would’ve given us jet engine biceps. Or helium-filled love handles. Or, like, wings or something.

P.S.: My apartment will be occupied and supervised while I’m gone. Probably by robots that throw themselves into bonfires so they can incinerate you in a fiery embrace. Nice try, thieves of the interwebz!


Garlicky Peanut Noodles with Crunchy Vegetables

Recipe by: Adapted from Not Without Salt‘s recipe inspired by Nigel Slater
Yields: 4 servings

These noodles are bathed in a salty, garlicky peanut sauce before being topped with an array of crunchy toppings: carrot curls, bean sprouts, green onions, chopped peanuts, sesame seeds. A spritz of lime juice and a good toss finishes the dish in just 15 minutes. I love simple weekday meals.

3 tablespoons peanut butter (or tahini if you’d rather, but I haven’t tried it)*
1/3 cup soy sauce*
2 tablespoons rice wine (or dry white wine)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
4 servings’ worth of spaghetti (or other long noodle)
*You may need to adjust peanut butter and soy sauce to your taste preferences (more peanut butter for sweetness, more soy for saltiness)

Optional Toppings:
carrot curls (just take a vegetable peeler to a peeled carrot to get these)
bean sprouts (boil these for a few minutes and then rinse in cold water for safety)
chopped green onions
chopped peanuts
sesame seeds
squeeze of lime

Boil salted water over medium-high heat and cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain, return to pan, and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the garlic and shallots and process until fine. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl with a spatula and then add the peanut butter, soy sauce, wine, vinegar, and sesame oil and process until combined. Add this sauce to pasta in pan and toss to coat.

Serve pasta on plate topped with shredded carrots, green onions, chopped peanuts, sesame seeds, bean sprouts, and a slice of lime.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen November 3, 2011 at 12:21 am

I’m so jealous that you’re going to the foodbuzz festival! My co-blogger and I bought tickets to go but had a change of plans. I hope you recap it here! Have a great time :)


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 3, 2011 at 12:24 am

Aw, I’m sorry to miss meeting you guys! I’m sure reflections will crop up here after the weekend — it’s a really neat adventure for me to travel since I don’t get to do it too much. I’m really thankful!


Kat November 3, 2011 at 12:56 am

How much pasta do you use? And what kind? This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it!


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 3, 2011 at 3:18 am

Thanks, Kat — it’s 4 servings of the pasta of your choice (long noodles). I used spaghetti.


Kelly November 3, 2011 at 2:52 am

I think you can read my mind. Just this morning, I thought to myself that I needed to find recipes that used peanut butter – preferably non-dessert. I actually made a note to check Punch Fork.

Enjoy ‘Frisco!


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 3, 2011 at 3:16 am

Thanks, Kelly — how perfect! :)


kat November 3, 2011 at 4:30 am

Oh yum!! I love these types of simple noodle dishes! Do you think it would taste good if used udon or ramen noodles?


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm

I do, I do! Go for it! :) Thanks, Kat!


daisy November 3, 2011 at 8:24 am

My kind of recipe – simple, not alot of ingredients, and it looks amazing! Must try.


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Hope you love it, Daisy!


Sandra And Kathy's Corners November 3, 2011 at 9:37 am

I love how you did your carrots for the dish! So pretty! Peanut noodles are delicious – my grandmother used to make a version of it for me when I was a kid, but it was always served cold, like a noodle salad. Yummmmm.


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 5, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Thank you! Oh yum, cold peanut noodle salad sounds just delicious! Sweet memories, too :) Thanks for sharing!


Sprigs of Rosemary November 3, 2011 at 9:59 pm

I,too,am jealous that you’re heading to the Foodbuzz festival. But I love your hurry-up peanut pasta,


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Wish you were here!! I’m drinking lots of Mexican coke and eating more food than anyone should ever eat… ;) Thanks, Sprigs :)


Kaitlin November 6, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Yum! This sounds fabulous! I hope you’re having a great trip. I’m totally jealous!


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 7, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Thanks, Kaitlin! I so wish you’d gotten to come along!! We’d have had a blast ;)


DessertForTwo November 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm

You crack me up!

It was SOOO good talking to you again this weekend! Made my heart grow even more for you :)


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 7, 2011 at 6:49 pm

DITTO Christina; SO good to see you!! Big hugs! :)


Kayla @ Sheriff of the Kitchen November 9, 2011 at 1:01 am

yummy! This would be a great meal for some of my veggie friends. Did you use whole wheat or regular pasta? I once tried a similar pasta dish with whole wheat and it sucked up all the sauce so I was just curious what you used? I love the bit about to soda…


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 9, 2011 at 2:07 am

Thanks, Kayla! I used regular pasta — actually Ronzoni Smart Pasta to be precise. It didn’t suck the sauce up, and I just tossed periodically as I ate to “resauce” things. Yum! :)


Beth November 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Great to meet you this weekend, Julie! Hope to have more time to chat at next year’s Festival!


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Thanks, Beth! Great to see you too! Had so much fun at the festival — hope to schlep back across the country next year as well ;)


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella November 9, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Enjoy San Francisco Julie! And hehe your grocery trip sounds like a typical trip for me-I have definitely run over my foot more than once :P


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm

LOL! Thanks, Lorraine! And be careful with those toes… ;)


nipponnin November 10, 2011 at 2:40 am

Julie, It was nice meeting you. I’m so glad you made home safely. It was really fun talking to you at FoodBuzz.. You’re so charming.
Wow! Those photos are gorgeous!


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 10, 2011 at 7:40 am

Thank you! It was so great to meet you as well — you all are so fun to hang out with! I already love reading your blog :) Hope to see you again before too long!


betty November 14, 2011 at 8:16 pm

this looks so good id love this for dinner tonight!


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 14, 2011 at 8:44 pm

You should, Betty! It’s so quick! :) Thanks!


Shannon November 16, 2011 at 10:15 am

Are you kidding me? This is insanely gorgeous!


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 16, 2011 at 10:18 am

Thanks, Shannon :)


Brooke November 21, 2011 at 4:54 pm

I do believe I just figured out what I am having for dinner! And don’t worry about the grocery store soda flinging contest you had with yourself, I’ve been there MANY times. Occasionally resulting in some sort of middle aisle fixture wanting to tango as well.


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