Who can resist a big dish of pasta, all smothered with sauce? I love it…spaghetti, fettuccine, linguini! Marinara, primavera, carbonera. Pasta with a little butter and a dash of Parmesan, pasta with cream sauce and fresh vegetables, pasta with kale and garlic. The problem with pasta? Pasta’s only downfall is that the noodles themselves are not particularly nutrient-rich, and can be a source of empty calories. If you’re avoiding gluten, you’ll be looking at higher carbs and lower protein (although whole wheat and gluten free noodles weigh in pretty close in the nutrition competition as show in this article). Is there a way to have your noodles and eat them too? Yes! I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes with noodles made of vegetables, and was so excited to try it out. This recipe from a House in the Hills for Carrot Noodles with Peanut Sauce seemed like the perfect place to start!
I did a little research on different ways to make vegetable noodles, and it took a little thinking to decide which type of vegetable noodle-making device I should purchase. I ended up buying a small, hand-held vegetable cutter with steel blades (like this) that would fit easily in a drawer, since I have too many kitchen gadgets and too few kitchen cabinets. You just put the vegetable into one end of the tube (there are two options, one side makes thin noodles and the other makes fettuccini-style noodles). Then, twist and watch noodles spiral out! The one drawback to this small, space-saving gadget is that my hand and wrist got pretty tired after I had “noodleized” (this post is giving me so many options to make up new words!) about 4 carrots. By the 10th carrot, I was thinking it might have been worth the shelf space to purchase a larger spiral-izer (like this one) that operates with a wrist-saving hand crank instead. The small one worked just fine, though, and I soon had a nice pile of beautiful orange noodles ready to cook.
I did have some neat, pointy ends-of-carrots left when I was finished, but there’s no need to waste them…just chop them and pop them into the freezer for soups or stews later, or run them through your juicer.
Once your noodles are ready, it’s time to get the rest of the ingredients together. You can be a little creative with this! Organic green onions, garlic and cooked free-range chicken are great to start with. You can add ground peanuts, crab, bean sprouts, shrimp…whatever sounds good! You’ll need some organic peanut butter, apple cider vinegar, organic soy sauce or liquid aminos, fresh ginger, sesame oil and maple syrup. Add some red pepper flakes if you’re the adventurous type. The key to this recipe is the sesame oil…it really has a great flavor that gives this dish it’s delicious, Asian flare.
Saute the green onions and chicken in some sesame oil, with the garlic. Once the onions have started to wilt, add the carrot noodles and keep stirring until they are crisp-tender. For the sauce, just mix the peanut butter, sesame oil, ginger, vinegar, soy sauce and maple syrup. Sprinkle a few pepper flakes on if you’d like, and then stir the sauce into the hot “noodles.” You’re ready to go!
I was very happy with the carrot noodles. I had expected vegetable noodles to not be as filling as regular noodles, honestly I figured they would work as an “OK” alternative to gluten free or regular noodles. Instead, I found that I really do like them better! They held the sauce well, had a great flavor, and were more satisfying than rice noodles. I didn’t feel hungry an hour later, which is often the case when I eat regular noodles. I’ll be “noodlizing” vegetables often from here on out!
- 10-11 large organic carrots, washed and peeled
- 2 tablespoons organic sesame oil, divided
- ⅓ cup organic peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 teaspoons organic maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon organic soy sauce or liquid aminos
- 1 tablespoon grated organic ginger root
- red pepper flakes to taste
- 3-4 cloves organic garlic, pressed
- 6 organic green onions, washed and chopped
- 1 cup cooked organic, free range chicken, chopped
- Optional: chopped peanuts, bean sprouts, kale, cooked shrimp or crab...you can toss in just about anything, and it's a great way to use leftovers!
- Cut the carrots into "noodles" using a vegetable spiralizer, mandolin, or other kitchen tool. (like this)
- Mix together the peanut butter, one tablespoon of the sesame oil, the vinegar, maple syrup, soy sauce, ginger and pepper flakes (if you're using them). If the sauce looks too thick, add a few tablespoons of water and mix well.
- In a skillet or wok, heat the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil, the garlic, green onions, the chicken and any other ingredients you want to add. Add the noodles and cook until crisp-tender.
- Pour the peanut sauce over the noodles and stir until combined. Remove from heat and serve.
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Have you tried vegetable noodles? What’s your favorite way to make them?