Meatless Monday the Vegan Way

It takes creativity to keep Meatless Monday meals fresh and exciting, but Chloe’s Kitchen, the debut cookbook by vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli (of “Cupcake Wars” fame), makes it easy, fun and oh so delicious.

For the past three months, my sister and I have been taking turns preparing and sharing Chloe’s comfort food vegan recipes.  Not a single dish has been a disappointment, which is quite a feat for any cookbook.  Chloe’s blueberry pancakes are filling and moist without any oil or fat.  Cashews instead of cream make the fettuccine alfredo melt-in-your-mouth fabulous.  The Indian buffet trio, especially the chana masala dish, tastes like a meal at an authentic high-end Indian restaurant. The coconut and chocolate chip yoga cookies are a tasty afternoon pick-me-up snack.  Seriously, I could go on and on.

But similar to Chloe, my favorite recipe in the book – and the one I’ve been coming back to frequently – is the peanutty perfection noodles.  The dish is spicy and sweet, and the carrots and peanuts add a nice crunch to the overall creamy recipe.  It’s great to make for a night in with the girls or to impress a date.  And I can safely say this is hands-down one of my boyfriend’s favorite meals.

Try it out tonight and you’ll begin to see flavorful vegan cooking in a whole new light.  Who knows, you may never want to go back to your old ways!

Peanutty Perfection Noodles
Serves 4-6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1 pound brown rice noodles
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup water
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup peanut butter, chunky or creamy
1 tbsp. chili-garlic sauce
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
½ cup peanuts, roughly chopped for garnish
2 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Recipe Instructions
Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add brown rice noodles and cook accordingly to package instructions.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Return noodles to pot.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining coconut milk, water, maple syrup, soy sauce, peanut butter, chili-garlic sauce, ginger and garlic in a medium saucepan. Let cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until sauce comes together and thickens. Remove from heat and mix in lime juice and sesame oil.

Toss hot noodles with the sauce, scallions and carrots. Garnish with peanuts and cilantro and serve. Any leftovers can be served warm or cold the next day for a delicious lunch.

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