Peanutty Fancy-Ish Ramen

It seems our Lockdown staple of ramen noodles isn’t going anywhere any time soon. DH and I are both still craving comfort, and I’m still on the war path when it comes to wasting ingredients and clearing the pantry – so we are having some mish-mashed meals as of late.

Which is all fine, provided I can continue to find ways to add at least a little nutritional value to dinner. Some sort of vegetable.

This dish elevates some pantry staples admirably, adding two sources of protein (if you add meat), and a veggie that can also serve as a freezer cleaner.

A note on ramen: I used pot noodles (aka cup o’ noodles) for this recipe. We are loving the Korean brand Budok lately – the base flavoring I went with was chicken cheese, but this would be great with pretty much any base flavor. Mushroom, chicken, chili chicken, shrimp, curry – all would be delicious.

vegetarian and vegan if you don’t add meat, gluten-free with substitutions

Peanutty Fancy-Ish Ramen

1 pot instant ramen per person (any flavor will do, or sub rice noodles for gluten free – a little chicken or veggie bouillon would add some nice flavor if you are not using the flavor packet that comes with the noodles)

2 Tbsp. peanut butter (I used a low sugar variety)

1/4 c. soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. sambal olek (chili garlic sauce)

2 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. honey (sub agave for vegan)

2 small scallions, sliced thinly

Frozen spinach

Optional: leftover ground chicken or beef, soft boiled egg, fish cakes, leftover fried tofu, or other additional protein source

Sesame seeds for garnish

Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, sambal, sesame oil and honey in a small pot over low heat. Simmer, stirring, until well combined and beginning to thicken. If your heat is too high and this mixture dries out too much like mine did, add a Tablespoon or two of water, stir quickly to combine, and move off the heat for a second or so to cool down a bit.

While the sauce is working, add frozen spinach to the noodle pots and fill with boiling water. Let sit 3 minutes and drain.

Add the noodles to the pot with the sauce, along with scallions, any additional protein sources, and the seasoning packet. Stir well to combine and garnish with sesame seeds.

Serves 2

Avocado Dill Pasta Salad

This recipe started off as a way to use up some fresh dill that wasn’t my favorite egg salad and somehow ended up morphing into a riff of an old Summer family favorite: seafood salad. Which I can’t believe I haven’t shared a recipe with y’all for yet. I c-r-a-v-e it every tomato season.

The original (to my family at least) salad included Krab, shrimp, hard boiled eggs & lots of mayo. Sometimes, depending upon which Aunt got a wild hair, chopped up bits of lettuce. Which is weird, but good.

Anyways. I gave myself an aversion to fake crab my first Summer out of high school (reminder, kids: check your expiration dates), so that was out. I swapped with flaked salmon but kept the shrimp in this version; I also sadly forgot the egg until I was eating trying to figure out what was missing. I was also wanting a little more mustard punch, so adjust yours as necessary.

And a note on seasoning: I happen to love this salad with way too much pepper and salt, because that’s how my family usually served it. This recipe includes a normal amount of each (depending on how HAM you go with the cracked pepper); I had to go back twice for more after the salad hit the fridge.

gluten-free, pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan with substitutions

Avocado Dill Pasta Salad

Dressing:

1 avocado (mine was small and I could have gone for more)

2 cloves garlic

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. water

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Salad:

4 – 6 cups pasta of choice (I used rice spirals)

15 cherry tomatoes

1 smallish cucumber (about 2/3 cup chopped)

1 smallish bell pepper (about 1 cup chopped)

2 – 4 stalks celery (about 3/4 cup chopped)

1/2 shallot, minced

2 scallions, chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp. celery seed (if using celery salt instead, you may not need to salt the salad – taste, taste, taste)

Loads of fresh cracked black pepper

Salt

Shrimp (I used 13 medium), peeled, cooked & chopped (optional)

Krab, crab or salmon (also optional)

2 – 3 Tbsp. your favorite mayo (optional)

Start you pasta boiling according to package directions, taking care to salt the water. When almost done, chuck your shrimp in to cook. Drain and set aside.

Pull the shrimp and chop. Add to a large bowl.

Chop the cucumber, bell pepper, celery, scallion and parsley. Add to the big bowl.

Mince the shallot and add. Halve the tomatoes and add those too. Add the celery seed.

In a blender or food processor, blitz all dressing ingredients until smooth. If you want your dressing a little runny, add more water until desired consistency is reached. Mine turned out a bit thick, which I liked, but I ended up adding 2 – 3 Tbsp. Kewpie mayo to the salad to loosen it a bit.

Add the cooled-ish pasta and dressing to the bowl. Mix well to combine. Hit with a bunch of pepper. Taste. Add more salt, lemon juice or some mayo to finish off.

Stash in the fridge for a bit to chill and let the flavors get acquainted.

Serves 4 – 6 for a meal or more if a side

Thai-Style Red Curry

Finally! I’ve been trying to make a silky, luxurious feeling Thai-style red curry for a minute and keep screwing something up. Either I don’t let it reduce long enough, or I drown the flavors some how – or I forget a key component like curry paste or coconut milk.

This go round, I forgot to pick up coconut milk. I swear my kitchen eats the stuff. I’ve lost like 3 cans of it in the last few months. But, with a last-minute grocery trip I was all ready to go. Whoo. I’m glad I was, too – this is a good one.

gluten-free, paleo, pescatarian

Thai-Style Red Curry

1 can coconut milk

Veggie, fish or chicken stock (1 of the empty coconut milk cans’ worth)

2 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste

2 tsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. fish sauce

2 Tbsp. soy sauce/coconut aminos

Zest and juice of 1 lime

2 stalks fresh lemongrass, peeled to reveal the soft center – mince 1 and whack the other with the back of your knife to release its flavors while cooking

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 scallion, thinly sliced

2 Thai red chilis (optional), minced

1.5 cups pumpkin or butternut squash, chopped

3/4 cup chopped okra

2 Tbsp. minced basil

Minced smoked salmon (optional)

Rice to serve

This is a simple slow-cooker dump meal. Prep all ingredients and dump into your cooker (minus the salmon, basil and green parts of the scallions). Cook however you would make a stew.

When complete, add to a saucepan and simmer until reduced a bit and silky. Serve over rice, topped with the green parts of the scallion and chopped basil.

Serves 4

Salmon Soba Salad

This makes a nice little Summer dinner. It’s low fuss, can be eaten cold or room temperature, and dressed a bunch of different ways. As pasta salads can.

Gluten-free, pescatarian

Salmon Soba Salad

1 package soba noodles

2 salmon fillets

4 – 6 ounces watercress or microgreen

1/4 cup chives, snipped

1/2 cup scallions, sliced thin

Dressing

Juice of 1 lime

1 medium cucumber, sliced into thin ribbons or diced

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 Tbsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos

1 tsp. honey

1 tsp. sriracha

Marinade

2 tsp. gochujiang

2 tsp. honey

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

Combine the marinade ingredients. Marinate the fish 30 mins – an hour. Discard marinade and bake or sauté the fish until your desired done ness is reached. I pan sautéed mine until medium with nice and crispy skin. Do watch the fish; your marinade has honey in it so it is like to burn. Mine did a bit, but it was still delicious.

While your fish is working, whisk the dressing ingredients together in a large bowl.

Cook your soba according to package directions, drain and set aside, adding a scant sprinkle of sesame oil and tossing quickly to avoid the noodles sticking together while they sit and cool. If you want your salad cold, chill in the fridge.

Dice and mince the cucumber and herbs. Add to the bowl. Add the micro greens. Add the noodles. Toss to combine.

To serve, plate up a bowl of noodle salad, topped with thick batons of fish and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Serves 2

Orange Salmon

This recipe is unabashedly stolen from a (mostly) Internet friend, who daily sets his sights on making the rest of us in our little corner of the (virtual) world drool.

Gluten-free, pescatarian

Orange Salmon

2 salmon fillets

1-2 cups cooked rice

1 cup snow peas

1 orange

1 thumb + 1 thumb ginger

1 Tbsp. + 2 Tbsp. sesame oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp. rice vinegar (the original recipe called for mirin, but I can’t get that where i live)

1 Tbsp. honey

2 cloves garlic

1 green onion

Sesame seeds

Mix together the soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. sesame oil, rice vinegar and honey. Grate and stir in the garlic and 1 thumb ginger.

Brush the mixture over your salmon and place skin side up on a prepared baking sheet.

Broil 3 – 5 minutes, flip, baste, and broil another minute or two – until your desired done ness is reached.

While the salmon is working, bring the other Tablespoon of sesame oil up to medium-high in a large pan. Add the snow peas in and toss. Grate the second thumb of ginger in and toss. Zest the orange and toss in.

Sauté until browned in spots. Remove.

Supreme the orange and slice each segment into thirds.

To serve, toss the rice with the segmented orange. Thinly slice the green onion and toss in.

Arrange the rice mix in a bowl, top with a bed of snow peas, and a salmon filet. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the whole lot.

Serves 2 for dinner

Hummus Salmon with Relish

This was one of those providential recipes that just sort of fell together. I was craving a bright salad – where I live, cucumber/tomato salad is ubiquitous – my auto-pilot has Asian flavors on the brain – and I had half a tub of premade hummus that needed using up. And past-me was smart and put two salmon fillets in the freezer. Go, past-me. Thanks for looking out.

gluten-free, pescatarian

Hummus Salad with Relish

First, start the salmon:

1 salmon fillet per person (defrosted if frozen)

Red chili powder

Cumin powder

Salt & pepper

Pat the salmon dry, dust with spices on both sides and pan sautee in a couple spritzes neutral oil until your desired doneness is reached. We like a nice medium.

While the salmon is working, make the relish:

1 medium cucumber, chopped

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 ounce pickled ginger, minced

2 tsp. sriracha

2 Tbsp. coconut aminos

Juice of 1 lime

I scallion, minced

Combine all relish ingredients and let sit.

To serve:

Leftover rice cooked in chicken stock (I had a mixture of basmati and wild rice I’d made a few days before)

3-4 Tbsp. hummus per person

To assemble, line the bowl with a generous smear of hummus. Top with the rice, lay the fish on top of that and spoon some relish over the whole shebang.

Makes enough relish for 4; the rest is up to you

Chili Tuna Fried Rice

This pantry-friendly fried rice is quick enough for a weeknight meal (for when the world gets back to working outside the home), and makes a great lunch the next day if there are leftovers.

Gluten-free, pescatarian

Chili Tuna Fried Rice

1.5 cups leftover cooked rice (I used sushi rice)

1/3 cup frozen shelled edamame

1/3 cup frozen cut green beans

2 Tbsp. neutral oil

2 eggs

1/4 cup coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. fish sauce

1 Tbsp. sambal olek

1 green onion, sliced

1/2 can chili tuna in oil, drained

Add your neutral oil to a large pan over high heat. When it shimmers, add the frozen veggies and green onion. Stir fry until no longer frozen and starting to look cooked.

Add the rice and tuna. Continue to stir fry until the veggies begin to brown.

Make a well in the center of the rice mixture and crack the eggs in. Let sit until the bottom is firm, then scrape up, folding into the rice mix.

Add the coconut aminos, fish sauce and sambal. Stir quickly to combine.

As written, serves 2 for dinner

Summer Roll in a Bowl

This recipe came out of a craving for veggies and color + yet another scroll through Instagram for inspiration.

Summer rolls can be made a million different ways, but this version incorporates most of my favorite elements – some sort of crunchy brassica, sweetness from carrots, the fresh crispness of cucumber, and a little kick of heat from pretty red chilis.

I also tried to recreate a slightly less suspect in color version of the sweet chili sauce often served with rolled appetizers – and then went a little heavier on the savory components because I really like to doctor my own sauces tableside.

Gluten-free, vegetarian

Summer Roll in a Bowl

The Salad

1 inch fresh ginger, sliced into thin matchsticks
1 medium carrot, shredded or cut into matchsticks
1 cucumber, sliced into half moons
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red chili, sliced into matchsticks
2 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
1.5 cups red cabbage, finely chopped
2 cups rice noodles, soaked in hot water 10 minutes to soften and drained

The Dressing

2 Tbsp. honey
Juice of 2 limes
1 Tbsp. sriracha
3 Tbsp. neutral oil (I used canola)
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Toppers

Big hand full chopped nuts for crunch and fat (I had roasted peanuts)
Big hand full chopped cilantro
Protein of choice (Simple poached chicken or shrimp would be great)

Boil water, add the rice noodles to a big bowl, and pour the boiling water over the noodles, making sure they are fully submerged. Let sit while you prep the rest o fly the salad.

Prep the salad veggies and add to a large bowl.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad.

Drain the noodles and add to the salad + dressing, tossing to combine.

Let sit at least half an hour to combine flavors.

Add toppers, toss again and serve.

Serves 3 – 4

Canned Tuna Poke Bowl

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know – sacrilege. Canned tuna in a poke bowl.

This may not be an Insta-friendly hippie bowl filled with sunshine and $15 worth of amazeballs seafood, but it is delicious, and utilizes a current obsession of mine: the humble can of tuna.

Gluten-free, paleo, pescatarian, FODMAP-reintroduction friendly

Canned Tuna Poke Bowl

Pickled element:
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped daikon radish
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
Big pinch red pepper flakes

Combine all pickle ingredients, shake well and set aside for at least half an hour to come to some sort of quick pickle before assembling your bowl.

Dressing:
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. pineapple juice
1 Tbsp. sriracha
2 tsp. pickled ginger, minced
Juice of 1 lime

Combine all dressing ingredients and shake well. Each serving gets 2 – 3 Tbsp. of sauce.

The rice base:
1 cup raw rice (or use cauli rice if paleo)
1/4 cup pickled ginger, minced
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup furikake
1/2 sheet nori, snipped into tiny pieces
Hefty sprinkle shichimi togarishi seasoning

Cook the rice to your liking and before it cools, add the other ingredients, working into the warm rice with either a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Each bowl gets 1/2 – 1 cup rice.

Bowl toppings:
Canned tuna (I used 60 – 95g cans plain or lemon pepper seasoned)
Mango (especially good if you need a FODMAP challenge food)
Sprouts
Carrot matchsticks
Avocado (also a good FODMAP challenge food)
Fried egg
Cilantro
Pickled element
Poke dressing

Lay a base of rice and top with any and all of these toppings. Spoon 2 – 3 Tbsp. dressing over top and enjoy.

Serves 4 – 6, depending upon how hefty your rice/”rice” servings are.

Canned Tuna Thai Bowl

This Summer, my seasonal obsession with seafood has taken the form of canned tuna. Which is great for my wallet and healthy, so I’m not complaining.

I was, however, starting to feel like I was getting into a rut with my favorite dead-simple pasta + other warm-ish and cozy things that at least approximated the feel of tuna noodle casserole. Ok, not actually really, but in my mind that’s what was going on.

I have issues, I know.

This recipe takes my current love, digs the can of weird Aryan kid peanut butter that’s a pain in the ass to use out of the pantry, and goes somewhere approximating Thailand with it. Thailand, at least in peanut sauce and some toppings. I used what I could find locally and what my FODMAP diet would allow me.

gluten-free, paleo, pescatarian, FODMAP

Canned Tuna Thai Bowl

1 large zucchini, spiralized into noodles

1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks

1/2 red bell pepper, also matchsticked

1/3 daikon or other radish, sliced or grated or whatever

1 small can tuna per serving (I used 95g cans of lemon pepper flavor)

Cilantro & lime to top

Dressing:

1/2 cup peanut butter (mine was natural unsweetened)

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. coconut aminos or soy sauce or tamari

2 tsp. fish sauce

2 tsp. grated ginger

Big pinch cayenne pepper

Salt & pepper

Juice of 1 lime or 1/2 lemon

Honey or other sweetener to taste if you need to balance flavors (I ended up using 1 tsp. because I got a tad over zealous with the ACV)

Prep all your veggies. Sautee the zucchini noodles in a dry pan until your desired doneness is reached. Split into 2 servings.

While your zoodles are working, zap the peanut butter in a large microwave-safe vessel :20 or so or until warm. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir carefully to form a sauce.

Assemble your bowl and top with peanut butter sauce, cilantro & more lime juice.

Makes 2 bowls zucchini-wise; the rest of the ingredients can stretch a couple more. Keep in mind that when you grab out of the fridge, you might want to add a Tablespoon of water to your sauce and zap it in the microwave :15 or so to loosen up to a drizzle-able consistency (especially if your peanut butter is the hippie kind with the oil on top).