Do you ever get in a serious cooking rut? You know, the kind where you stare half-heartedly into the fridge willing a meal to materialize and end up resorting to beans and rice?
There’s been… a lot of beans and rice in our household lately. And burgers grilled on the deck. And bagels for breakfast. I mean, isn’t that kind of what summer is about? Spending more time outside, less time standing over the stove?
If you too are in a cooking rut, I offer my solidarity and this recipe for cold sesame noodles with chili oil and scallions. It’s quick, light (but still so satisfying) and oh-so-summery.
Think umami spiciness, creamy tahini, toasty sesame flavors, and the cool crunch of peppers and scallions. It’s just the thing to get you (read: me) excited about cooking again.
Chances are you have most of these ingredients already on hand, but if not, I recommend stocking up so you can make this yummy dish all the time. If you don’t have Sambal Olek, swap in another hot sauce like Sriracha. I happened to have black sesame seeds, but by all means use regular ones, as they’re probably easier to find!
Adapted from Bon Appetit
- 3 Tbs canola oil
- 1/4 C + 3 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp Sambal Olek
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 bunch scallions, cleaned, outer layer and ends removed
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 12 oz soba noodles
- 1/4 C tahini
- 1/4 C unseasoned rice vinegar
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 large orange bell pepper, sliced as thinly as possible
- 1/2 ripe avocado, cubed or sliced
Divide scallions into two bunches. You'll use about 4 scallions for the chili oil, and keep the rest raw to toss in at the end. For the first bunch, chop whites horizontally until small. For the second bunch, slice green parts vertically, as thinly as possible, and set aside.
Place a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add canola oil, sambal olek, and 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil. Once oil mixture is hot, add minced garlic, chopped scallion whites, and sesame seeds. Lower heat to medium and simmer, stirring frequently to avoid burning, for 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Meanwhile, cook soba noodles according to package instructions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together tahini, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and remaining 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil. Add in cooled chili oil, whisking to combine.
Combine noodles with sauce and bell pepper and toss to coat.
Serve noodles on a bed of greens (I prefer a spicy mix like arugula and baby kale, but spinach would work well here too).
Top with sliced scallion greens and diced avocado.