Summer is officially here (!!). The season of adventures, road trips, and long evenings on the patio. It’s the season where great food is shared around a campfire, on a hike, or while laying in the grass at the park. The season for making memories. My favourite of all.
It couldn’t be more appropriate to tell you today about Vegetarian Heartland, the new cookbook by Shelly of Vegetarian Ventures. I often turn to Shelly’s blog when searching for inventive meat-free recipes or photography inspiration (hers is one of my favourites). I know I will now turn to her cookbook for exactly the same reasons.
The chapters are divided into ways to adventure with food, with sections like road trips, camping, holidays, snow days, picnic, brunch, fruit-picking and all these occasions where life gets celebrated around a good meal, or with a snack in hand. The recipes are mouthwatering, beautifully photographed, and inspired by Shelly’s Midwestern roots. The lifestyle/outdoor photographs are just as beautiful and will get you inspired to leave on a camping trip or a weekend hike. What I love most about this book is that it focuses not only on making food, but most importantly on sharing it with others, and using it as a way to make life’s moments even more special.
Although Shelly’s book is not entirely plant-based but more suited for vegetarians, there’s a lot of inspiration for vegans folks too, with recipes like Peanut Butter Trail Mix Cookies, Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters, Tahini & Cocoa Breakfast Shake, Chorizo-Spiced Lentils and these Peanut Soba Noodles.
I’ve made this recipe three times in the past month and I know I will make it many more times this season. It’s one of those simple summer meals that are super tasty, easy to whip up, and so satisfying. The noodles are coated in a creamy, spicy peanut sauce and served with crunchy veggies and crispy tofu. This recipe is from the road trip section of the book, so it can be made in advance and packed for a day trip, as it’s meant to be served cold.
This recipe is slightly adapted from Vegetarian Heartland, Recipes for Life’s Adventures by Shelly Westerhausen, 2017. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books. Click here for more info about the book.
Notes: Shelly’s original recipe calls for snap peas but I used green beans here instead. I also added some tofu for a more protein-heavy meal, but the noodles are satisfying on their own. The spicy peanut is so good and I’m definitely making a double batch next time – I’m sure it would be amazing served with spring rolls, sushis and on top of colourful bowls.
Spicy Peanut Soba Noodles
For the spicy peanut sauce
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 tsp honey (or maple syrup if vegan)
- 2 tsp hot chile sauce such as Sriracha
- 2 tsp fresh lime juice
- 1/3 cup water
For the noodles
- 8 oz (230 g.) soba noodles (gluten-free if necessary)
- 1 cup green beans sliced into 1-inch pieces (or snap peas)
- 1 bell pepper (I used red, seeded, and thinly sliced)
- 1 carrot cut into matchsticks or juliennes (I used a julienne peeler)
- 1 block extra-firm organic tofu
- Sesame oil for cooking
- 1 cup peanuts chopped, for garnish
- Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
Make the spicy peanut sauce
In a high-speed blender, combine the peanut butter, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, honey, chile sauce, lime juice, and water and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Cook the noodles
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the soba and cook until almost al dente, 7 to 10 minutes. A few minutes before the noodles are ready, add the green beans. Let boil for 3 minutes more. (If using snap peas, cook only one minute). Drain the soba and green beans and transfer to a large bowl.
Cook the tofu
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain the tofu, and press between two paper towels to drain of excess water. Slice into small triangles. Place triangles in the hot pan and cook for a few minutes until the bottom is golden. Flip and cook a few more minutes on the other side until browned and crispy. Remove from the heat.
Pour the peanut sauce over the soba and green beans, add the bell pepper and carrots and toss until everything is coated in the peanut sauce. Serve with the crispy tofu and garnish with peanuts and cilantro.