Lunchbox Delight: Cold Asian Sesame Noodles

Vegan with Grain/Gluten Free Options

Who wouldn’t love to dig into a lunchbox with some cold (or room temperature) noodles with a tangy, sweet and savory sauce and fresh veggies?  Adults and kids will appreciate getting something like this packed for their noontime meal.

I have been seeing lots of interesting recipes lately on Facebook; the ones that have the videos speed-ed up so that you see an appetizing dish made (apparently) instantly, so that you feel inspired to try it on your own.  So I’ve been experimenting with them, with modifications to make them more “Raw Fusion” (incorporating as much living food as possible and avoiding some of the obvious food sensitivities/allergies ingredients, like gluten, soy or peanut butter.

Do check out the page and video for the Cold Sesame Noodle Bowls by Sweet Peas and Saffron, as they’ve done a great job but below you will find my recipe with variations:

  1.  Many people have a sensitivity to gluten but there are great options out there, like black-bean or corn-based noodles.  I love the pure soba noodles that are made from gluten-free buckwheat flour, but the ones that did NOT have whole wheat combined were $8.45 and that was awfully expensive for what might have been only 2-3 servings.  For my version I used Jerusalem artichoke pasta by DeBoles – very tasty, but not gluten-free FYI.  Another option is to spiralize zucchini if making for an at-home lo-carb meal – but for lunchbox they may get unappetizingly soggy — maybe not too bad since you won’t mix in the sauce until you are ready to eat.
  2. Chickpeas do offer extra fiber and protein and can make you feel fuller – BUT somepeople don’t like the grainy texture.  Either leave out the garbanzos or substitute with something else.  I used cannellini (white beans), which I have also used in a great Lemon Artichoke Dip (hummus.)
  3. Spiralizers are truly a great kitchen tool, BUT it’s one more piece of equipment to take out, clean and put away.  A vegetable peeler works quite well and you’d be needing one anyway.  After peeling out layers of carrot and cucumber, continue peeling for nice thin flat “noodles.”  By the way, just saw these cool peelers on Facebook and ordered them (I’m such a sucker for cool kitchen tools :- )
  4. Tempered Vegetables – the Raw Fusion Living philosophy combines the ultra-nutritious benefits of raw and living foods with the comfort and convenience of mainstream meals.  One of our techniques is called Tempering – which are lightly cooked vegetables that are flavor-enhanced yet are still essentially raw.  I added tempered broccoli to mine.  And FYI – check out the recipe on this page – this stuff tastes GREAT cold and makes a fantastic healthy snack!   Learn about tempering here.
Photo from Sweet Peas & Saffron

Choose a Variety of Vegetables – you can switch them up for variety because I’m sure your family is going to request these often!

Carrots, snow peas, snap peas, broccoli, zucchini, cucumbers, bok choy,  chinese cabbage, daikon, jicama, jalapenos,  are some ideas.

I am including a simple Asian Almond Sauce but also check out this Almond Miso Sauce that is a staple on our household.  Naturally you can substitute Peanut Butter or any nut butter or tahini.  Almond butter is a great option as it’s more alkaline, especially if you can get it raw.  Peanut butter probably should be left out for school lunches!

Lunchbox, bento or plastic containers with small sauce cups with lids will make these portable.

Note:  The one thing that I did discover is that when the pasta gets cold, it may need to be rinsed lightly so that it won’t stick together!

Ingredients:  (serves 2-3)
1 box of pasta (noodles are probably best shape)  – see recommendations above for gluten-free
1 can of cannellini beans (or your choice)
2 carrots, peeled into strips
1 small cucumber, peeled into strips
1/2 yellow, orange or red pepper cut into strips
3/4 cup tempered broccoli crowns
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2-3 chopped scallions
2 TB. sesame seeds (toasted or raw)
Directions: Boil water and make pasta according to box directions.  Rinse and drain well.  Section out the pasta and veggies in the container and put a few tablespoons of beans on one end.  Sprinkle scallions, chopped cilantro and sesame seeds over either before or after you toss with dressing.  If you wait to toss it all together (with fork or tongs) the veggies will stay crisper.

For Dressing:
3 TB. Tamari or Nama Shoyu (gluten-free soy sauce)  I often replace this with Coconut Liquid Aminos
juice from one lime
2 TB. rice vinegar
3 TB. smooth almond butter (raw or roasted)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder or 1 garlic clove crushed
1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 TB. maple syrup or honey
Optional:  1/4 tsp. ground ginger or fresh ground ginger (this really spices it up)
Directions:  Stir together all the ingredients with a fork or whisk.  Adjusting flavorings to taste.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Bet you’ll be looking forward to lunch!

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