Have you ever made a dish you thought was really delicious but no one else could remember it? It has happened to me a few times, including the first time I made these noodles. I remember making them for a picnic dinner date we went on. I even remember my husband saying he liked it. But anytime I asked him about them, he couldn’t remember what I was talking about. Partly because the only way I could describe them was as “peanut butter noodles” which would usually remind him of the Thai Style Chicken and Noodles I shared before. That is one of his favorites, so the discussion would end. So, these gradually drifted off my radar for about two years.
Wow, those two years were really missing something. When I rediscovered this to take lunch to a friend, I was reminded of how easy, quick, delicious, and versatile this dish is. And the fact that it is cold makes it perfect for summer. It can be a main dish or a side dish that is easy to transport wherever you need it. I recently made a big batch right before we went hiking, and it made an awesome dinner after a long day of hiking and lugging around a toddler.
Sesame Noodles (Serves 4-6)
1 small eggplant, cubed
½ teaspoon salt
1 (13.25 ounce) box whole wheat spaghetti
1 tablespoon sesame oil (optional)
½ tablespoon canola oil
1 chicken breast, chopped into bite size pieces
1 clove of garlic
1 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger
½ cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
¼ cup hot water (as hot as your tap will go)
½ cucumber, sliced (peeled if it isn’t a hothouse cucumber)
¼ green cabbage, shredded
6 green onions, sliced into 2 inch chunks
1. Sprinkle eggplant with salt. Let it drain in a colander for 30 minutes. OR Place eggplant on several layers of coffee filters or paper towels. Microwave for 10 minutes, or until beginning to look slightly shriveled.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting oil and salt. Drain and rinse under cold water. Place in a large bowl and toss with sesame oil (if using).
3. Heat canola oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Saute eggplant until browned, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Add to pasta. Saute chicken in same pan until cooked through, about 5-8 minutes. Add to pasta.
4. In a blender or food processor, process garlic and ginger until well chopped. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, red pepper, and hot. Process until smooth. (The sauce may be a little thick. If it is overly thick, add more water).
5. Toss the pasta, eggplant, chicken, cucumber, cabbage, and green onions with the peanut butter sauce. Chill until ready to serve.
Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):
Protein: 23 g
Fat: 16 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 21 mg
Carbohydrates: 66 g
Fiber: 11 g
Sodium: 713 mg
Recipe Notes: Feel free to mix it up on this dish. I’ve made it without the chicken and without the eggplant. All the combinations have been good. I like the crunch the cabbage gives to this, but I have also omitted that. A hothouse cucumber works really, really well in this. But I’m usually too cheap to buy one, so I just half peel a regular cucumber with good results. Also, you could substitute garlic powder and ginger powder and mix the sauce by hand. It takes a fair amount of muscle, but can be done.
Source: Adapted from Food Network Kitchens’ Making It Easy Cookbook