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Asian Pesto Rice Noodles

More about fun ingredients than technique, the sauce is made quickly and effortlessly in a blender.  

Asian Pesto Rice Noodles

Spaghetti with pesto is an Italian classic. Change the spaghetti to rice noodles and the traditional pesto of basil, Parmesan and pignolis to one made with cilantro, mint, basil, and peanuts, and you have a brand new spin on an old-time favorite! Serve this dish as a side as-is for an enviable vegan main, or toss in some shrimp, chicken, or vegetables for a fun, fusion, gluten-free dish.

Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; large saucepan, stockpot, or Dutch oven; tongs; colander or strainer; large mixing bowl; food processor; rubber spatula


1, 8-ounce package rice noodles ½ bunch cilantro ½ bunch mint ½ bunch basil ½ cup dry roasted peanuts, unsalted 2 cloves garlic

1 inch ginger, grated (or 1 tablespoon ginger juice) ½ cup vegetable oil 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided 1 tablespoon soy sauce ½ teaspoon siracha (optional)

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste coarsely chopped peanuts for garnish

1. Cook the rice noodles according to the instructions on the package and drain well. Toss in 1 tablespoon sesame oil and set aside.

2. In a large saucepan bring water filled two thirds to a boil. As the water heats, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl (2 cups of ice to 6 cups of water) and set aside. Once the water is boiling, blanch the basil, mint, and cilantro for 20 seconds, until wilted. Immediately submerge the herbs into an ice bath for one minute. Remove from the ice bath and squeeze excess water. Place the herbs on a clean kitchen rag or paper towels.

3. Separate the wilted leaves from the large stems, and discard the stems.

4. In a food processor, combine the cilantro, mint, basil, peanuts, garlic, ginger, remaining sesame oil, soy sauce, and optional siracha, until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the vegetable oil until the mixture is finely ground. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Toss the rice noodles with half the pesto, adding more pesto, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately with coarsely chopped peanuts as a garnish.

Makes 4 servings.

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