I like recipes that can be adapted for different situations, dietary conditions and to seasonal availability of produce. I also like to have some that are really easy and quick to make, because let’s face it, sometimes you just want to eat without a lot of fuss, but still make something healthy.
This recipe lends itself to customization, and I’ve given suggestions below to make it suitable for vegans, or meat eaters, gluten-free or not, or those allergic to sesame, peanuts, or cashews. It works as a side dish, or a main dish, and is creamy and satisfying while being dairy free. It also keeps well in the fridge if you want to make it ahead of time, like a day or two – make the main noodle part and add the optional ingredients and garnishes just before serving.
RECIPE: Customizable Cold Sesame Noodles
- 1 pound spaghetti, linguini or lo mein noodles (Trader Joe’s has a great brown rice spaghetti that we like)
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, tamari (for gluten free diets) or Bragg’s Aminos
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white-wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce (more or less, to taste)
- 2 tablespoons honey (regular granulated sugar or evaporated cane juice for vegan option)
- ⅔ cup tahini (could also substitute cashew butter, or sunflower butter)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (can also substitute mild olive oil)
- 1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- Optional add-ins: 1 cup or more of cooked garbanzo beans or edamame, or 1 lb cooked peeled shrimp
- Optional garnish: chopped green onion, cucumbers, shredded carrots, black sesame seed and/or sliced red peppers
Cook your noodles as directed. While they are percolating, get a big bowl and toss in the next 7 ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Now, take a taste of the sauce – this is where you can tweak the sweetness and spiciness to your personal standards. When noodles are cooked al dente, drain and rinse in lots of cold water til they are no longer warm. Toss noodles in large bowl with the sauce you mixed up til they are all evenly coated. It’ll be pretty creamy, but if it seems too thick, add a tablespoon of water a little at a time til it’s the consistency you like.
You have your basic recipe here, and can stop if you want. If you want to go wild, toss in some of the optional add-ins, and the optional garnishes listed above. With the add-ins, you’ll have a complete meal, and if you stick to the legumes it’s suitable for vegetarians (for vegan, just use sugar or evaporated cane juice instead of honey and you’re set). Because this dish is served cold or at room temperature, it also makes a great potluck or picnic contribution.