Oodles of Peanut Noodles

I’ve mentioned that most weeknights are pretty crazy these days. Well, here’s an easy weeknight recipe for those nights where there’s no need to rush out the door for an activity. It can be prepared in just under 30 minutes and it’s always a hit with the girls. I’ve made this for several of my oldest ponytail’s friends who’ve had dinner at our place, and they’ve all eaten several plates.

This makes oodles of noodles, as I’ve mentioned in the headline. Some nights there’s very little leftover, while other nights there’s enough for another meal–so it fits well with my curent “cooking in bulk” strategy. This also freezes well.

I have to give credit to the idea of making noodles with broccoli slaw to Ann over at Cooking Healthy for Me–although Ann closed down her blog several months ago.  Ann’s recipe was quite different, as it used carrot juice and pre-made peanut sauce. I tried Ann’s recipe but made quite a few modifications and ended up with this version of peanut noodles. (Thanks Ann!) It’s now part of our regular weeknight rotation.

Peanut Noodles

(6 to 8 servings)

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 340 g package broccoli slaw
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced
  • Juice of one lime
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp mirin sweet cooking seasoning
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup sodium-reduced soy sauce
  • 375 g spaghetti (I often use Catelli Smart or whole wheat)

 Optional toppings:

  • Cooked shrimp
  • Green onion, chopped
  • Sesame seeds
  • Crushed peanuts, unsalted
  • Wedges of lime (on the side)

 Directions:

  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
  2. Saute shrimp until cooked (optional) and set aside.
  3. Add sesame oil to pan and add garlic and ginger over medium heat. Cook for one minute. Add broccoli slaw and grated carrots and cook for about 8 minutes until softened.
  4. Add peanut butter, lime juice, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, mirin, water and soy sauce. Simmer two to three minutes until sauce thickens. At this point you can add additional water by the tablespoon until desired consistency is reached. (I like to add an additional 2 to 3 tbsp of water to thin out the sauce a bit more.) Stir in cooked spaghetti until mixed thoroughly.
  5. Serve with toppings (if using).

NOTES:

  • Broccoli slaw is a mixture of shredded carrots, cabbage and broccoli that is available in North America. You could add shredded broccoli to your regular cole slaw as a substitute.
  • I also use this peanut sauce (without the slaw and grated carrots) for my own version of broccoli and beef stir-fry. It’s quite versatile and could be used for satays etc.
  • If using regular peanut butter, just reduce the brown sugar to approx. 1 tbsp.
  • Catelli Smart pasta is available in North America and it is 2-1/2 times the fibre of regular white pasta, but it looks and tastes like regular pasta. For this reason, I use it a lot! The Catelli Smart spaghetti box that I buy is in fact 375 g, so I use the whole box for this recipe (which makes things very easy!). After looking on the website, I realize that the sizes must be different in the U.S., as the box size profiled is 454 g. In this case, you would use 3/4 of the box.
  • If cooking for only two or three people (and you don’t like leftovers), this recipe can easily be cut in half. The broccoli slaw cooks down, so you could still use the whole package and omit adding the grated carrot. Or, depending on your preference, you could reduce the amount of slaw down to 1/2 or 3/4 of the package. All remaining items just need to be reduced to half the amount specified in the recipe.

My New Best Friend Barley

I tried it. I liked it. And I made it again, and again. That’s the way it went with this Sausage and Barley Jambalaya recipe. It wasn’t the first time I’d had barley, as my blogging pal Eva at KitchenInspirations has been making barley risotto for a long time because of its health benefits.

Barley deserves all the credit for giving this dish a lovely nutty and creamy texture that is quite unique. It also makes the dish hearty, filling and good for you!

A cereal grain, barley is heralded for its ability to help reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, among other benefits. Go figure! It is also what I would call a “low profile” grain—it goes along its way quietly, while quinoa continues to make a splash in culinary circles, even landing a couple of book deals. I find it all a bit surprising, given that barley is a key ingredient in one of the world’s most popular drinks.

I decided that since I liked the Barley Jambalaya so much, that I needed to try it in something else, something other than a soup or a stew. So, I came up with a new barley salad that I think you may like…

It’s a Mediterranean Salad that combines all of my favourite summer flavours—olives, basil, feta, grape tomatoes, lemon and roasted red pepper. 

There you have it. There are lots of reasons to give barley at try—it’s inexpensive, versatile and a healthy alternative to orzo or rice.

If you decide that barley isn’t for you, then you might like Betsy’s Couscous Salad, over at Bits and Breadcrumbs, which also features kalamata olives, basil and feta with a lovely lemon dressing.

Sausage and Barley Jambalaya

Slightly adapted from Judith Finlayson’s, Delicious & Dependable Slow Cooker Recipes

  • 1 lb mild Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed well
  • 1 can  (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes, including juice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 8 oz medium shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined
  • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped (I use jarred)

 Directions:

  1. Cook sausage over medium-high heat, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink. Transfer to slow cooker.
  2. Drain excess fat from pan. At medium heat, sauté onions until softened. Add garlic, thyme, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper and cook for one minute. Add barley and stir well. Add tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boi.
  3. Pour mixture over sausage and stir. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Add shrimp and roasted pepper. Cover and cook on high for 20 minutes, until shrimp is heated through.

 Mediterranean Barley Salad

  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed well under running water
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 6 to 7 fresh basil leaves finely chopped
  • ¾ cup feta, diced (I used low fat feta)
  • 2.5 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ cup roasted red pepper, finely chopped (I use jarred)
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives (pits removed and ripped in half)
  • ½ cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 scallions, sliced finely

 Directions:

  1. Add rinsed barley, along with 3 cups of water to medium saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Drain excess water and allow barley to cool to room temperature in a large bowl.
  2. Mix lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and basil in small bowl. Add mixture to barley and stir well. Add feta, pine nuts, red pepper, olives, tomatoes and scallions. Mix well. Serve at room temperature.