Cold Udon Noodles with Chinese Greens and Peanut Dressing

I’ve been staring at a bunch of bok choy and Chinese broccoli in my fridge for the past few days. I picked them up from the farmers’ market because I knew I could do something lovely with them, but there they’ve sat, languishing in my crisper drawer waiting to be turned into something delicious. By the time the weekend arrived we had made actual summer-ish plans to take in a free Shakespeare play in the park—complete with bee stings and a pack of hungry coyotes. This recipe was the perfect companion–low maintenance and only gets better the longer it sits. Thinking through different recipes, my mind alighted upon this one, stored deep within the files of my food-addled brain, by Ina Garten, whom I adore (don’t tell Jeffrey…), which called for noodles and a mixture of veg, all bathed in a glorious peanut dressing. While this recipe below definitely draws from the fabulous Contessa’s original, there are a few, but necessary departures to make the noodles really sing and the dish healthier overall.

Cold Udon Noodles with Chinese Greens and Peanut Dressing
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa
Yields: 4 very generous servings

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • ½ pound whole wheat udon noodles, or any other whole wheat noodle
  • 1 bunch bok choy, chopped
  • 1 bunch Chinese broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 generous cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium Tamari
  • 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • Juice from half a lime
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds, divided
  • 1/2 cup smooth all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions (with and green parts), sliced diagonally
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sriracha hot sauce to serve, plus more wedges of lime

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the udon and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil, add the bok choy and Chinese broccoli, return to a boil, and cook for 1-2 minutes, until crisp tender. Lift the greens from the water with a slotted spoon and immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Drain.

For the dressing, whisk together the canola oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds and peanut butter in a medium bowl.

Combine the udon, bok choy, Chinese broccoli, peppers and scallions in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the noodle mixture. Add the remaining 1tablespoon of sesame seeds and the cilantro and toss together. Chill for at least an hour. Serve with Sriracha hot sauce and more lime wedges.

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