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Zucchini Noodles In a Thick and Creamy Peanut Sauce

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A couple of months ago some of the ladies from my gym got together for a potluck.  One of my friends brought shrimp and pork spring rolls with a peanut dipping sauce.  I’d never tasted peanut sauce before, and was pleasantly surprised by both the taste and texture of the sauce.  The dipping sauce gave me the inspiration for this dish, a creamy peanut sauce that’s both sweet and savory, tossed with steamed zucchini noodles and diced chicken sauteed in sesame oil.

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You’ll need to plan ahead when making this recipe.  The zucchini will need to be sliced into noodles.  I have one of the more popular vegetable slicers, the Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer.  I used the blade of  the Paderno Vegetable Slicer with with 1/4-inch spacing to create the zucchini noodles for this recipe.  If you don’t have access to a vegetable spiralizer, you can use a julienne peeler to cut the noodles into strips, or try substituting the zucchini noodles with spaghetti squash, chopped cabbage (I know cabbage sounds weird, but it’s actually pretty tasty with this dish) or your other favorite noodle substitute.
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If you’ve ever cooked zucchini noodles and then added them to a dish, you’ve more than likely discovered that zucchini releases a lot of water when cooked, and the water causes any sauces that are a part of the dish to become watery.  One trick I’ve learned to reduce the amount of moisture involves tossing the (raw) zucchini noodles in salt, and then letting the excess moisture drain from the noodles for 35-45 minutes before cooking the noodles.  This initial step will allow you to experience the thick and creamy peanut sauce, as opposed to the peanut soup I ended up with several times while developing this recipe.
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Zucchini Noodles with diced Chicken in a Thick and Creamy Peanut Sauce

Servings: 2-3


Ingredients:

4 large zucchini, sliced using a 1/4 inch blade

1 ½ teaspoons sea salt

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 pound chicken, diced into 1 inch chunks

¾ cup chopped cilantro (tightly packed)

4-6 scallions, thinly sliced

 

 

For the Peanut Sauce:

½ cup coconut aminos

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

juice of 1 small lime (approximately 3 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon coconut sugar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons chili paste

1 teaspoon minced ginger

 

Directions:

  1. Place the zucchini noodles in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the sea salt over the noodles and toss to coat.  Then pour the zucchini noodles into a large colander to drain.  Allow the excess liquid to drain from the zucchini noodles for 35-45 minutes (zucchini retains a large amount of moisture, and the salt helps release the moisture from the zucchini.  Skipping this step will result in the sauce becoming watery from the excess moisture in the zucchini noodles).
  2. While the zucchini noodles are draining, add all of the peanut sauce ingredients into a small sauce pan.
  3. Heat the sauce pan over medium-high heat, stirring the sauce occasionally, until the peanut sauce thickens (approximately 4-5 minutes), then remove the sauce pan from heat.
  4. Pre-heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to the skillet.
  6. Add the diced chicken to the skillet and saute until the chicken is cooked  through (approximately 10-12 minutes).
  7. Once the zucchini noodles have finished draining, boil 1-2 inches of water in a large stock pot.
  8. Once the water has reached boiling, add a vegetable steamer basket to the stock pot, and then place the zucchini noodles in the steamer basket.  Cover the stock pot, and allow the zucchini noodles to cook for approximately 3 minutes.
  9. After three minutes, remove the large pot from heat and pour the zucchini noodles into a large colander to drain.
  10. Add the zucchini noodles, diced chicken, peanut sauce, cilantro and scallions into a large mixing bowl and toss to coat evenly.

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