Asian Peanut Pasta
When Jon said the other day that he needed comfort food for dinner, I immediately thought of this asian peanut pasta dish. It’s inspired by a dish that one of our good friends made for us one night, and now it makes regular appearances for dinner at our home. It is warm and comforting but also feels healthy because of all the veggies.
Tempeh Sauteing in Peanut Oil
I like to add protein to this dish with tempeh, which I started off by sauteing in a little bit of peanut oil. The tempeh picks up the peanut flavors from the oil and almost tastes like little soft peanuts in the finished dish.
Carrots, Broccoli, and Pepper
While the tempeh was cooking, I got all my veggies ready. You could really add almost any type of veggies you wanted, but I went with carrots, red pepper, and broccoli. I love the way broccoli picks up all the sauce in this dish!
Once the tempeh was done cooking, I put it on a plate to hang out while I cooked all the veggies. After adding a little more peanut oil to the pan, the carrots went in first, followed by the pepper and finally the broccoli. With the broccoli, I added a little soy sauce and then covered the veggies to steam for a bit.
The pasta had been cooking during this – I like to use whole wheat rotini noodles for this dish. Not exactly a classic asian choice, but they work really well with the peanutty sauce. The veggies were done, so I added lots of fresh ground peanut butter, a little more soy sauce, some sriracha sauce, and cooking water from the pasta to the pan. Once the peanut butter had dissolved into the liquids, it was ready for the addition of the tempeh and the noodles. Jon said it was exactly what he was in the mood for after a crazy day at work – I’m so glad I can read his mind (or at least his stomach)!
Asian Peanut Pasta Ready to Serve
Sweet and Sour Veggies Over Rice
When I was growing up, my mom would sometimes make a sweet and sour chicken dish including peppers and pineapple that I always really enjoyed. This was one of the first dishes I learned to cook on my own, and was also one of the first dinners that I made for Jon when we started dating.
Red and Green Peppers
As with most of my cooking, I used the original recipe primarily as inspiration. While the brown rice was cooking, I started off by chopping red and green peppers and onions.
Peppers and Pineapple Sauteing
The onions sauteed in olive oil with salt, pepper, basil, and aleppo pepper flakes. The chopped peppers went into the pan next, followed by pineapple chunks and some vegetarian “chicken”.
While the veggies all sauteed together, I mixed up the sauce with pineapple juice, apricot jam, and a healthy squirt of Sriracha sauce.
Adding the Pineapple Apricot Sauce
Once the veggies were ready, I added the sauce to the pan and let it cook down a little bit to thicken and permeate the veggies with its sweet, sour, spicy goodness. To serve, I put some brown rice in each bowl and ladled over the veggies with lots of sauce. Jon remembered that it was one of the first dishes I cooked for him but said it has gotten even better with time. And of course, I thought of my mom and how glad I am that I got her love of cooking.
A Vegan Version of a Favorite Childhood Dish
After traveling most of this week, I was really excited for some home-cooked food on Friday night and decided to make vegan pad thai.
Carrots, Red Pepper, and Broccoli
I started off by getting my veggies ready…thinly slicing some carrots and red peppers, chopping broccoli, washing bean sprouts, and dicing up some green onions and garlic.
Garlic and Green Onions Sauteing Away!
While the water was heating for the rice noodles, I started sauteing the garlic and green onions in some peanut oil with red chili pepper flakes until they were softened and fragrant with peanutty spiciness. Then, I added the carrots and red peppers. After a little bit I added the broccoli with some soy sauce and lime juice, and covered the veggies to let them steam.
Pad Thai Sauce
While the veggies were steaming and the noodles were boiling, I started the sauce for the pad thai. Of course it contained a good amount of lime juice (mostly out of a bottle, but a little bit fresh squeezed). I also added in some lime zest, soy sauce, sriracha sauce, and a little brown sugar for some sweetness.
Veggies Steaming Away!
At this point, everything was ready to be combined together! I mixed the noodles and bean sprouts in with the veggies, topped it with the sauce, and then mixed in some chopped green onions and peanuts. I always think the hardest part of making this dish is getting everything mixed together and coated with the sauce, and last night was no exception! After serving, I topped it with a few more peanuts and a lime slice. It is so good to be home and back in my kitchen!
Freshly Made Pad Thai