sesame zoodles

Jump right to the sesame zoodles recipe—it looks more complicated than it is because of the ingredients, relax—or the sesame zoodles steps, or just keep reading to find out how I got there.

sesame zoodles

A bizarre thing has happened to me. Me, carb lover extraordinaire, now sees a big bowl of noodles and thinks….shrug.

Maybe it’s aging. Maybe it’s not having my own kitchen for 2 months and eating out every damn day, and going at one point almost an entire week without, as Queen Victoria would say, A Successful Movement. Well, the movie version of her said that.

sesame zoodles help successful movements
I feel ya, Vic

Now meanwhile, what I missed the most in 8 weeks of traveling was having my own kitchen. We did not have an AirBnB this time, but stayed with a family to up the immersion level (we’ve just returned from 8 weeks studying Spanish in South America). But I don’t like cooking in someone else’s kitchen, using their invariably crappy knives and cutting boards, and sharing the not-so-spotless fridge and stovetop. So what I looked forward to more than anything was cooking.

Then again, I didn’t want to think very much. If you follow my instagram (and if you don’t, I’d be deeply grateful if you would: @nanlechou), you have seen me downright rhapsodic lately about Tieghan over at Half Baked Harvest. Tieghan is a wonderful cook and photographer, and she prints her weekly menus in a really delightful post called “Nine Favorite Things,” which is more like 50. So I’ve been making her stuff, mostly verbatim, except for this dish, because…well, it’s mostly noodles. I also wasn’t crazy about ground chicken, because I prefer meatballs to little floaty ground chicken crumbles.

But please, if you like, cook Tieghan’s version. Here’s the link to her recipe for Better than Take-out Szechuan Noodles.

Sesame Zoodles: The Adaptation

This was a super easy adapation. I kept Tieghan’s sesame oil, which is kind of genius; I also had plenty left over to roast some veggies the next day. You can see the sauce in the main pic above; I didn’t think to get a solo shot of it.

I made the zoodles and threw in a carrot.

You can buy these already spiraled, but wow, they’re kind of pricey. The spiralizer was a gift from my late and deeply missed brother-in-law, Larry Cobler, so when I cook with it I think of him and that is delightful.

I have been planning to do a meatball post forever, and finally, whoomp, here it is. For these, I used (of course) ground chicken, a mix of panko and uncooked oats for the bread, soaking those in a mix of about 1/1 ratio of soy sauce and sake. I also added a bunch of parsley and dill. Cilantro would have been awesome, but I didn’t have any, and lately I’m truly digging the subtlety of dill in combo with Asian flavors. There’s also a chopped up kale leaf and some cabbage in the veggie mix.

sesame zoodles

Finally I added an egg and some salt and mixed it all up.

sesame zoodles meatball mix

For the sauce, I liked Tieghan’s idea of saucing the noodles with a mix of honey, soy sauce, and vinegar. But for me, sesame noodles have to have some kind of nut butter, because that’s how the take-out versions are in New York, where I learned to love them. So, as you’ll see in the recipe below, I just sort of screwed around and did my own thing.

The result was super yummy, filling without feeling heavy, and—gasp—actually completely paleo other than the grains (which a die hard paleo could leave out or replace with cooked quinoa).

So here they are: Sesame Zoodles fit for any hungry, hungry hippo on your list. Enjoy with a little green tea or a light rosé. Spring DOES eventually show up. This may help you remember that.

sesame zoodles with chicken meatballs

Sesame Zoodles with Chicken Meatballs: The Recipe


Print Recipe
Sesame Zoodles with Chicken Meatballs
Super healthy, low carb and paleo, these zoodles cook very briefly in a soy/ginger/sesame sauce, then get topped with chicken meatballs loaded with herbs.
sesame zoodles
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Rating: 0
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Rate this recipe!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Meatballs
Chili Oil
Sauce and Vegetables
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Meatballs
Chili Oil
Sauce and Vegetables
sesame zoodles
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400º. Soak the panko or oatmeal in the mixture of soy sauce and rice wine; if using cooked quinoa, soak it in half the amount. While soaking, chop all herbs and vegetables. Add them to the soaked mixture, break in one egg, add the salt, and mix. Add the ground meat, gently mixing with either a fork or your hands. Form into balls and place on a parchment lined baking, then bake for 18 minutes.
  2. While meatballs bake, make zoodles and carrot noodles. Trim as needed so you don't have insanely long noodles. Set aside. Chop all garlic and ginger for the oil.
  3. Heat the peanut oil over medium-low heat; do not overheat! Add the garlic and ginger and gently simmer for 3 minutes, then add the sesame seeds and simmer 2 more minutes. At the last minute, add the chili flakes. Be careful! If the oil is too hot, they will smoke like crazy and you will inhale it and it hurts. Not that this has ever happened to moi.....
  4. Finally, mix all sauce ingredients except for the nut butter, then whisk in the nut butter. Shred cabbage and kale.
  5. Heat a large saute pan on the stove over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of chili oil to skillet. As soon as oil is hot, add the veggie noodles and shredded cabbage and/or kale. Saute about a minute, then pour in the sauce. Reduce heat to medium and gently stir the mixture for about 3 or 4 minutes.
  6. Serve topped with meatballs and drizzled with a little more of the chili oil. Sprinkle with more herbs if desired.
Recipe Notes

This recipe was inspired by Better than Take-out Szechuan Noodles by Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.

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