My Grandmother Was Green Peanut Noodle Salad

peanut noodle salad

My Grandmother was green.

Not the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba Thropp kind of green, but the eco-friendly, earth-preserving kind of green.  She kept her thermostat turned way down in the winter and way up in the summer (if on at all).  She never let the water run while washing the dishes.  She hung her clothes on a clothes line.  She re-used plastic wrap and aluminum foil.  She had a garden that grew a lot of her food.  She used her coffee grounds and egg shells in her flower garden.  And she never threw away food.

Her habits came from lean times when money was tight and resources were scarce, and we sometimes had trouble understanding her reasoning, not being through them ourselves.  Little did we know that she was actually doing a better job of taking care of the environment than our generation has.  Now we have to re-learn those same habits and make them our own.

Here is a recipe that I know she would approve of.  For this Peanut Noodle Salad I used soba noodles, peas and carrots, and tempeh (a relative of tofu) that makes a good addition if you like it or feel like trying something new in the meat-free department.  However, you can also just use up some of the leftovers you might have in the fridge – noodles, most any kind of vegetable, and meats like chicken, pork, turkey, and steak.  Just toss them together with the yummy dressing.

Peanut Noodle Salad

makes 6-8 servings

  • 8 ounces noodles, any variety (wheat, soba, spelt, rice)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 package tempeh, any variety
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. Big a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to the package instructions. In the last few minutes of cooking toss in the carrots and peas. Drain the noodles and vegetables and run them under cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.
  2. Make the peanut dressing by combining the peanut butter, rice vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and a big pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Add a little hot water (about 1/4 cup) to thin to the consistency of salad dressing. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Slice tempeh in half lengthwise and sprinkle soy sauce over the slices. Add to skillet and cook until brown and heated through. Remove from the pan and chop into bite size pieces.
  4. Gently toss the noodles, vegetables, peanuts, and tempeh with a large spoonful of the dressing. Add more until the ingredients are coated well, and reserve any extra for another use. Sprinkle with cilantro.

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