Well, here I am. Still pregnant. On my due date. And it feels like this baby will never come.
I know this is very common for women who make it to 40 weeks, but my impatience is reaching a new level!
I am a planner. I like to know when things are coming. It’s a natural coping mechanism to my anxious tendencies. So, this whole waiting game has been tough on me. Not to complain! I am still so beyond grateful to have had an uneventful and healthy pregnancy thus far. And I am so grateful for what (who) is about to come.
In any event, no matter when our newest addition makes his debut, I am alllll about quick and easy meals right now. For both lunches and dinners. My energy level is low and standing on my feet cooking for long stretches is not really in the cards at the moment. So, easy meals that come together as quickly as possible are my focus.
And these peanut noodles totally fit the bill! This meal, depending on the recommended soak time for your noodles, can be ready in as little as 20 minutes. All the ingredients are things I usually have on hand. A stocked pantry makes life so much easier, people! I highly recommend you stock up on ingredients like soy sauce, dried rice noodles, and chile-garlic paste. It makes meals like this come together with hardly any thinking at all.
Growing up, my mom would make her version of spicy peanut sauce and serve it over regular pasta noodles with stir-fried veggies. It was one of my favorite things she made. Ever. I would get so excited when I learned the peanut noodles were for dinner. They were delicious hot or cold, and she always made a huge batch so we could munch on them for a couple days. They were the perfect combo of savory and sweet, spicy and salty, and were texturally awesome.
These noodles are a homage to that, with my own tweaks thrown in. You soak the noodles, whip the sauce up in minutes in your food processor, and stir fry some veggies. All that’s left to do is toss everything together with some fresh mango slices, herbs, a spritz of lime juice, and some chopped peanuts. It all comes together so fast.
These, on top of being ridiculously easy, are incredibly tasty. So much flavor!
And for all you vegetarian and vegan folks, these are both! Even if accidentally so.
It all starts with a spicy peanut sauce, flavored with sweet, juicy mango. The mango adds a nice fruity twist on the classic spicy peanut sauce, and I am completely hooked. Side note: the sauce is delicious all on it’s own. I used the little bit I had left over as a veggie dip. Delicious!
Don’t be alarmed by the long ingredient list. Like, I said, once you get in the habit of stocking your pantry and fridge with these ingredients, it’s really easy to throw something like this together with little thinking or planning. Plus, Asian ingredients have a LONG shelf life. Think of it as an investment in your future culinary self.
Feel free to make the sauce your own, as well. Don’t like spice? Add less chile paste. Too sweet? Cut the honey. Allergic to peanuts? Swap with almond butter. Really, make it and taste as you go. I find that is key with most recipes, anyway, but especially sauces like this one.
However you tweak these, dinner is less than 30 minutes away and is oh so satisfying. It’s like fast takeout, healthified a bit but with all the flavor and comfort you need.
If you need me, I’ll be drowning my too-pregnant sorrows in large bowls of these noodles until baby boy decides to grace us with this presence!
½ cup fresh mango, cubed
⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
1 tablespoon chile garlic paste (I like sambal oelek)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
¼ cup warm water
8 oz rice noodles (or other long pasta of choice)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 cup shredded carrots (you can shred them yourself but I buy the pre-shredded ones from the store to make my life easier)
½ cup sugar snap peas (I buy them frozen – no need to defrost them here)
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
¼ cup Thai basil, chopped (regular basil works too)
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
4 scallions, chopped
½ cup peanuts, chopped
Soak the noodles in hot water, according to the package directions. Once tender, drain, rinse, and set aside.
Depending on the brand of rice noodle you are using, the recommended soaking time may be anywhere between 15-30 minutes, so I like to do this step first. That way, the noodles are ready and waiting for me when I need them.
Combine all the ingredients except the water in a food processor.
Pulse to combine, scraping down the sides a couple times, and then run the machine until the mixture is smooth.
Stream in the warm water, a tablespoon or so at a time, until the sauce thins out a bit. It should be loose at this point – the starch from the noodles will help thicken it up.
Season, to taste, with additional honey, chile paste, or soy sauce (I find that sauces like this are definitely a “to taste” kind of deal. Make it as spicy, sweet, or salty as you prefer).
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the bell pepper, shredded carrots, and snap peas and cook for 2-3 minutes or until they are tender crisp.
Add the drained noodles, along with the sauce, and toss to combine everything.
Add in the mango, basil, cilantro, lime juice, and scallions and continue tossing and stirring for a couple minutes or until everything is warmed through and evenly coated in the sauce.
Serve immediately, garnished with additional herbs, the chopped peanuts, and lime wedges.