Szechuan-Style Vegetable Noodles w/ Spicy Peanut Sauce

If you’ve been looking for a meatless, vegan, 30-minute meal that is absolute FIRE… here it is.

These szechuan-style vegetable noodles have quickly become my new favorite, and it’s going to be yours, too.

Much of Asian cooking is naturally dairy-free, so it’s a super friendly cuisine for vegans. Two summers ago I took a dip in the vegan pool — these funfetti cake bars tell the tale — and I absolutely loved how eating vegan made me feel. The problem is that I’m a cheese addict (among other clinical issues), so I have a hard time sticking to an animal-free diet. But with summer on the horizon I need to be looking TIGHT, so plant-based cuisine it is. Luckily eating vegan doesn’t mean boring, bland, or difficult, these noodles being a primo example.

“Szechuan” roughly translates to a style of Chinese cooking that’s spicy, oily, and extremely flavorful. This recipe stays true to that definition with a chili-based peanut sauce, healthy dose of sesame oil, and blistering-hot sautéed veggies.

You start by making the peanut sauce, which is a mix of just 7 simple ingredients. A combination of peanut butter (chunky!), soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, chili paste, and juices, it’s perfectly balanced in heat, tang, and acidity. Wanting to eat a few raw spoonfuls is normal, but try and go easy!

There’s still plenty of cooking to do.

Once the sauce is prepped it’s time to attack the veggies. Sliced onion and bell pepper + spiralized zucchini and carrot are the stars, and together they’re completely delightful. In the traditional szechuan spirit the veggies are sautéed, in succession, in a piping-hot wok or skillet. Working diligently during this process is a MUST, but don’t be intimidated! Seeing as it’s over in 15 minutes, I know you can manage. The key is to keep your pan sizzling so that the vegetables start to char and blister. Doing so adds a dimension of smokey-heat that’s bounces off the spicy peanut sauce SO perfectly, you’re seriously going to love it.

Plus — udon noodles! Cooked simultaneously with the veggies, just 4 oz of them fills out this dish while adding limited carbs and no extra time.

As the vegetables tenderize and char add a touch of peanut sauce to the pan while keeping your flame high. The sauce will quickly reduce into a thick glaze, and at that point, you’re basically done!

Toss in the cooked udon noodles + remaining peanut sauce, then stuff your damn face. xo

Szechuan-Style Vegetable Noodles w/ Spicy Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp chili paste (or more, if you’d like!)
  • 4 oz whole wheat udon noodles
  • 2 tsps sesame oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 3 bell peppers, sliced (any color!)
  • 1 green zucchini, spiralized
  • 1 yellow zucchini, spiralized
  • 2 carrots, spiralized
  • chopped peanuts + sesame seeds to garnish

Directions:

  1. In a small mixing bowl combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, lime juice, pineapple juice, and chili paste, whisking until well combined.
  2. Boil a large pot of water, then add the udon noodles and cook according to package directions.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a wok or large skillet over a high-flame for several minutes, then add the sesame oil, swirling to coat the bottom. In successive batches add the red onion, bell peppers, and vegetable noodles, sautéing each for about 2 minutes and stirring constantly — The wok or skillet should be sizzling the entire time. Once all vegetables are incorporated, add several tablespoons of the spicy peanut sauce to the pan, stirring well. Continue to keep everything over a high flame, stirring constantly.
  4. Once the udon noodles are cooked, drain and transfer to the wok/skillet. Add the remaining spicy peanut sauce and toss to evenly coat, then immediately plate and serve! Garnish with chopped peanuts and sesame seeds if desired.
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