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Meatless Monday: Easy Sesame Noodles

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

When it comes to weeknight cooking, simple is great but “stupidly simple” is best. Amy Cao, host of Stupidly Simple Snacks, is a pro when it comes to quick, no-fuss meal prep, and her recipe for sesame noodles is no exception. Using a few pantry staples, it comes together in no time and is delicious to boot.

Mixing peanut butter with soy sauce and sesame oil may sound odd at first, but anyone who’s tried the combination can vouch for its tastiness. Here, it gives regular old spaghetti an Asian flair. With a little bit of garlic and a couple drops of Sriracha, these noodles are straight up addicting. You can serve smaller portions as sides, but for an extra easy dinner, a bowlful makes a satisfying meal in itself, thanks to the protein-rich PB. For some added freshness and fun textures, throw in any combination of thinly sliced carrots, red peppers, scallions or cucumbers.

Sesame Noodles
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Hot sauce, such as Sriracha, optional
2 tablespoons salt
7 ounces dry spaghetti or angel hair pasta (half of the standard 14.5-ounce box)

GARNISHES:
Thinly sliced carrots
Thinly sliced cucumbers
Thinly sliced red pepper
Thinly sliced scallions
Crushed peanuts

For the sauce: In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, white vinegar, minced garlic, 1/3 cup water and hot sauce if using. Stir. Keep adding peanut butter until the desired sauce consistency. Set aside.

For the pasta: Fill large pot halfway with water, add the salt and let the water come to a boil. Add the pasta to boiling water. After 8 to 10 minutes, check for doneness. (Longer boil time will result in softer pasta; shorter boil time will result in more “al dente” pasta.) Remove the pasta from the water and put in serving bowls.

Right before serving, add the sauce to the pasta. Toss until every strand is coated with sauce. Garnish with the sliced vegetables or crushed peanuts. Serve.

More Meatless Noodle Ideas:

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