This is my kind of meal. Fresh, quick (just 30 minutes required!), satisfying, lots of vegetables, and plenty of protein.
The beauty of a meal like this is you can use practically whatever produce you have on hand. For a variety of textures and flavors, I went with cucumber, green onion, red pepper, and carrot noodles. I also think edamame, raw courgette, and radish would work well, too.
The vegetables not only add vibrant color to the dish, but also lots of fiber and crunch!
The dressing is a disco ball of flavour and adds some zing to the noodles and veggies. Most of the ingredients you probably have in your cupboard.
BEANS OR CHICKPEAS
2 cans of beans/chickpeas
3 Tbsp (45 ml) sesame oil, divided
2 Tbsp (32 g) salted creamy almond, cashew, or peanut butter
1 Tbsp (15 ml) tamari (or soy sauce if not GF)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) lime juice
1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) maple syrup or coconut sugar
1 birds eye chili, crushed (or sub 1/4 tsp red pepper flake)
5 ounces (141 g) very thin rice noodles
2 thinly sliced or ribboned* carrots
1 medium sized British cucumber, sliced on a bias, then halved
optional: 1/2 cup (75 g) chopped red bell pepper or other colourful vegetable
1/2 cup (50 g) thinly sliced diced green onion
1/2 cup (30 g) fresh cilantro or basil, torn/chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 fresh or dried bird's eye chili, crushed (more to taste), or sub 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup, plus more to taste
2 tsp tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) lime juice
2 Tbsp (30 ml) rice vinegar (or sub white or apple cider vinegar with varied results)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil
Prepare the bean/chickpea sauce in a medium mixing bowl by whisking together 1 Tbsp sesame oil, almond butter, tamari, lime juice, maple syrup, and 1 crushed chili. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more tamari for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, chili pepper for heat, or maple syrup for sweetness. Set aside.
Add beans or chickpeas to this dressing now and let it marinate
Next, prepare rice noodles according to package instructions. Then rinse with cold water, drain thoroughly, and set aside.
Prep vegetables next. Set aside.
Prepare salad dressing by adding all ingredients to a small mixing bowl (or jar) and whisking (or shaking vigorously) to combine.
Taste and adjust flavors as needed, adding more chilies for heat, tamari for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, or maple syrup for sweetness. Set aside.
Add the peanut butter/almond butter bean sauce into a saucepan. Cook for another5-6 minutes, stirring gently. Remove from heat and set aside.
To assemble, divide noodles, vegetables and beans/chickpeas among serving bowls. Serve with dressing. For more heat, serve with sriracha or chili garlic sauce.
Best when fresh, though leftovers keep well when stored separately in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
* If you're looking for an alternative to beans or chickpeas consider tofu, steamed edamame, roasted salted cashews or roasted salted peanuts
* To ribbon carrots, rinse, remove outer skin with a vegetable peeler, and then make "noodle ribbons" with the vegetable peeler by running along the edge of the carrot.
* Salad dressing adapted from The minimalist Baker