Cold Peanut Noodle Salad

 
With Labor Day just around the corner, it seemed appropriate to prepare one final cold pasta salad before bidding farewell to summer. This fresh Asian salad uses good old spaghetti, roughly chopped cool Napa cabbage, crunchy shredded carrots and whole edamame for a family-friendly feast. It’s tossed in a velvety smooth salty peanut butter dressing and is dreamy for a picnic or in the fridge as leftovers. It’s also easily adaptable if you want to throw in fresh peanuts, diced apples, cucumber, peppers or other favorite ingredients. The secret is the amazing peanut sauce, which you could also use as a nice tofu marinade. I like to have some spicy garlic chili sauce on hand to throw on top. So simple!
COLD PEANUT NOODLE SALAD
1 lb spaghetti, cooked and drained
1/2 head Napa cabbage, roughly chopped
1 cup shredded carrots 
1 cucumber, peeled and julienned
1 red pepper, seeded and julienned
1/2 cup cilantro, diced 

PEANUT DRESSING
1 cup creamy peanut butter 
1/2 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup warm water
3 Tbs ginger, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs honey
3 Tbs rice wine vinegar 

In a small mixing bowl combine all ingredients for peanut sauce and briskly whisk with fork for 2-3 minutes until it is a smooth, consistent texture. In large serving bowl combine cooked spaghetti with fresh salad ingredients, then toss in peanut sauce and thoroughly combine using tongs. Serve fresh!
  

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Optimist Broccoli and Tofu

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I like to think I’m an optimist, but this week I’m going to go ahead and say that this week’s sentiment is I’d rather stab a fork in my eye. After a grueling week at work learning the tough lesson that you learn from failure rather than success, I awoke on joyous Saturday with what felt like shards of glass in my throat and a wheezing cough, and then discovered that a leak in my closet had seeped into 60% of my wardrobe and had soaked all of my leather boots which are now lying helplessly in my bath tub. So naturally I thought about what to eat for dinner.

As a result, I made a delicious gingery peanuty stir fry covered in sriracha which I’m going to call Optimist Broccoli and Tofu. It’s actually based on a simple chicken version from the popular blog Kalyn’s Kitchen so I only take credit for substituting tofu. My broccoli had actually gone soft after almost a week in the refrigerator so I just chopped off the florets and soaked them in cold water for a few hours, brightening them right up into crunchy fresh bites! I love those reminders that plants are living organisms.

OPTIMIST BROCCOLI AND TOFU
1 container of tofu baked into Roasted Spicy Tofu Treat from earlier blog post
2 heads of broccoli chopped into florets
2 red bell peppers, cut into small 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup chopped peanuts

PEANUT DRESSING
3 Tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 Tablespoons ground ginger root (not dried ginger)
1 Tablespoon crushed or minced garlic
1/3 cup water

Make tofu according to Roasted Tofu Special Treat and let cool. In a small bowl whisk together the oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, ground ginger, crushed and water. Taste the dressing and see if you want to adjust the seasonings. Heat a large wok on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. Then add 3 Tablespoons of water and immediately throw in broccoli and red pepper. Stir frequently for 5 minutes then add peanut sauce and thoroughly combine. You want the broccoli to remain a bright green color and still have a crunch. Turn off the wok, then stir in the tofu and thoroughly combine. You can serve this right away or refrigerate for a few hours. Garnish with chopped peanuts when serving. Happy eating!

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