Spicy Sesame Noodles with Greens, Peppers and Peanuts

A meat-free Monday option – and a truly bowl-licking experience. I love love those sesame noodles from many Asian restaurants (and Trader Joe’s), the only problem being the high calorie count. This bowl of noodles and veggies clocks in around 400 calories and almost 20 grams of protein – a perfect dinner amount.

Greens are muy healthy, this you likely know. But what about the peanuts? The poor peanut has been over-commercialized, from ball games to country bars. Turns out it’s a fantastic source of resveratrol, which is the heart healthy compound found in red wine! It also adds some protein, along with the whole wheat noodles. For those of you who still think nuts are high in fat and therefore a “bad” food, you need to reset your mind! There are good and bad fats. Trans fat from french fries? Bad. Monounsaturated fat from avocados, chocolate, nuts and seeds? GOOD. Peanuts have the good fat – proven to RAISE your GOOD cholesterol and LOWER your bad.

Anyways.. with just 1 tbps. of sesame oil these noodles get silky and decadent, and since the dish is so full of veggies you get to eat a whole big bowl for not so many calories. If avoiding gluten, try this dish with brown rice noodles.

Last point to remember, ALWAYS reserve cooking water from pasta. It’s full of starchy goodness which helps make your sauce thicken and adhere to noodles. If you happen to forget, instead of subbing regular water, sub chicken stock.

Spicy Sesame Noodles with Greens, Peppers and Peanuts

Adapted from Self Magazine

Serves 4

8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti or linguine

2 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided

1 tbsp. canola oil

1 small onion, sliced

1 tbsp. grated or minced fresh ginger (or 1 tsp. ground ginger)

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1 lb. dark leafy greens (kale, swiss chard, or spinach)

1 red bell pepper, sliced

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. sesame oil

1 tbsp. rice vinegar

1/2 c. chopped unsalted peanuts

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 2 tsp. of the salt. Cook pasta for about ten minutes (or as directed on package). RESERVE 3/4 c. PASTA WATER IN A LIQUID MEASURING CUP. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat canola oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Add onions, ginger and garlic and saute for several minutes.

3. Add bell pepper and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until peppers soften slightly.

4. Add soy sauce, sesame oil and vinegar to reserved pasta water in liquid measuring cup.

5. Add greens and liquid ingredients to skillet and saute until wilted, about 3- 8 minutes (stirring occasionally). If you are using spinach, it will wilt in just a few minutes, whereas if you are using a sturdy green like kale it will take up to 8 minutes. 

6. Add pasta, peanuts, and red pepper flakes and toss to combine and heat through – 1 to 2 minutes. Serve.


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