By Crystal Grobe
If you’re anything like me, you are trying to adjust to the cooler temperatures (okay, cold temperatures – it was 35 degrees walking into work yesterday). My body is craving food. Lots of it. As much as I want to eat pasta and pizza and other heavy dishes, I know it’s all about balance so I try to work in a few full flavored and veggie heavy meals each day so I can still indulge in those carb-heavy dishes.
Let’s be real though, veggies can be boring. Who wants to sit around eating cups of steamed broccoli and cauliflower as a “snack”? Not me. Although I did have a co-worker who did that once. Instead, I’ve found that julienned or spiralized vegetables can be fun. They are pretty versatile and can take on different flavors easily. I’ve served zucchini noodles with turkey marinara, pesto and ricotta, lemon and herbs, and of course peanut sauce. And you don’t even need a spiralizer – I used my $4 julienne peeler from the Asian grocery for a couple of years before I picked up this Paderno spiralizer on sale. Sure, it takes up space but it’s so quick to use and easy to clean.
As expected of a food blogger, I have a collection of recipe ideas that use veggie spirals and I have been playing around with different vegetable combinations. Peanut sauce works well with the crisp and clean flavor of the vegetables and it’s easy to play up or play down the spice level with a bit of sriracha or red pepper flakes.
For this recipe, I expanded my standard zucchini spiralizing to daikon radish (a large, white, Asian radish) and carrots, both in season and at the farmers market right now. Shredded chicken or tofu crumbles would be a fantastic addition or keep it as a side dish to accompany a soup or appetizer. If you’re super new to eating spiralized veggies, add a few cooked noodles for some familiarity. This works really well with kids too – just serve less noodles over time. Again, it’s all about balance.
Peanut Sauce & Veggie Spirals
1 medium sized daikon radish (about 1/2 – 3/4 lb), peeled and spiralized
4 medium carrots, peeled and spiralized
2 medium zucchini, peeled and spiralized
1 8 oz package of bean sprouts
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup minced cilantro (plus additional for garnish)
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Lime wedges, for serving
1 cup smooth peanut butter
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sriracha sauce (to taste)
2-4 tbsp water, as needed to thin
In a large bowl, combine the spiralized or julienned vegetables and add bean sprouts, green onions, and cilantro. Toss gently to combine and set aside.
To make the sauce, combine all sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until the sauce is smooth and creamy, adding more sriracha as desired. Remember, start with a little and add from there! Add water, tablespoon by tablespoon until it reaches a sauce-like consistency.
When ready to serve, portion out enough of the veggie mixture for 4 servings and drizzle with peanut sauce, gently tossing until lightly coated with sauce. Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with cilantro, sesame seeds and a lime wedge.
Leftover veggie spirals can be stored in the fridge separate from the peanut sauce. Toss before serving!