Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Peanuty Noodles with Tempeh Croutons

Iwis it is not halfway to her heart.
But if it were, doubt not her wish should be
To eat some noodles with a peanuty sauce,
And twirl her fork and use it as a tool.
~ The Taming of the Shrew, 1.1.61–65 (sort of)

At this time of the rolling year here in central New England, the idea of hot - in the temperature sense - food seems pretty unappealing, so meals that can be prepared ahead and eaten later are a welcome option for those of us whom the heat makes a bit...well...shrewish. Cook these peanuty, slightly spicy noodles early on a warm day, and you can be assured of a great dinner in the evening, without having to turn the accursed stove back on. Better yet, they are delicious when eaten at room temperature, and make excellent straight-from-the-refrigerator leftovers the next day. Of course, if you're in a more temperate zone (or blessed with a less fiery temperament), go ahead and eat them hot; Iwis they'll taste just as good!

The Tempeh

~ 2 tbsp. soy sauce
~ 1 tbsp. each: toasted sesame oil, hot sauce, agave nectar
~ 1 tbsp. each: minced garlic, grated ginger
~ Juice of 1 lime
~ 8 oz. tempeh, cut into crouton-sized cubes

~ Combine all the marinade ingredients, then add the tempeh cubes and mix to coat. Set aside to marinade for at least an hour.
~ Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, arrange the tempeh cubes (reserve any remaining marinade), and bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure they don't burn.
~ Remove from oven and set aside.

The Sauce

~ 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
~ 1 tbsp. each: minced garlic, grated ginger
~ 1 tbsp. each: soy sauce, hot sauce, tomato paste
~ 1 cup smooth peanut butter
~ 1 cup vegetable broth
~ 1 10 oz. package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed

~ In a saucepan, heat the oil and saute the garlic and ginger over medium-low for about a minute.
~ Stir in the soy sauce, hot sauce, the tomato paste, and any leftover tempeh marinade.
~ Add the peanut butter bit by bit, stirring constantly. As it begins to thicken, add the broth until you have a smooth, creamy sauce.
~ Stir in the spinach and cook a minute or two more, until it is well incorporated.

You will also need...
~ 1 lb. noodles, cooked, drained and rinsed (lomein are nice, but linguine works just as well)
~ 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
~ 4-5 cups stir-fried veggies of your choice (I happened to have scallions, red bell peppers, broccoli, and mushrooms)

The Assembly
~ Transfer the cooked, drained noodles to a large pot or serving bowl.
~ Add the stir-fried vegetables, the tempeh, and the sauce; mix thoroughly. (If it looks too thick, you can add some of the reserved pasta cooking water to thin it to the consistency you want.)
~ Serve hot or cold, or at room temperature ("...not hot, but temperate as the morn"). Sprinkle with some extra chopped scallions, peanuts, and/or hot sauce, as you like it.


  1. This sounds delish! I've still not tried tempeh, I just can't get it here, I feel like I'm missing out so much.

  2. Jeni - you could easily sub some marinated, baked tofu for the tempeh. It's the peanutiness that really matters!