Cold peanut-sesame zucchini noodles

When the weather turns warmer, I “crave” cold sesame noodles often. Unfortunately, they’re so much more caloric than they seem. So I tasked myself with developing a version that was a little (or a lot!) friendlier for the waistline. Here’s the result. Zucchini acts as the noodles. I use just the amount of sesame oil need for deliciousness. And I pumped up the ginger and garlic so it’s big on flavor. Hope you enjoy slurping up these “noodles” as much as I do.

  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh gingerroot
  • 2 large cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 red Thai chili pepper (with seeds, minced)
  • 1/3 cup brown rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons naturally-brewed tamari soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Asian chili paste with garlic
  • 3 large or 4 medium zucchini (unpeeled)
  • 2 scallions (green and white parts, thinly sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons pan-toasted black or white sesame seeds
  • Optional: stevia (to taste- if you prefer a sweeter sauce)
  1. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and chili and cook while stirring until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, add the vinegar, peanut butter, tamari, stevia, and chili paste and whisk until evenly combined. Chill well. (Makes 1 1/4 cups peanut-sesame sauce.)
  2. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into thin, spaghetti-like strips, preferably using a juilienne peeler. (Hint: Keep on the stem end to make the peeling process go smoothly.) Add to a 2-quart microwave-safe dish, cover with unbleached parchment paper, and microwave on high until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove from the microwave and let stand covered for 5 minutes to complete the cooking process. Chill well.
  3. When ready to serve, gently squeeze zucchini of excess liquid over the sink using a clean kitchen towel. Toss together the chilled zucchini, chilled peanut-sesame sauce, and scallions in a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve immediately.
  4. Per serving: 280 calories, 20g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 650mg sodium, 21g total carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 15g sugars, 8g protein