Happy National Noodle Month!

There’s a lot to celebrate about noodles. For one, they’re friendly to just about every diet: there are gluten free noodles, vegan noodles, noodles packed with protein, and noodles made from straight up vegetables (which is a great way to introduce younglings to veggies like carrots, zucchini, and squash). 

Noodles also cook fast making them an excellent weeknight choice. Noodle dishes make great leftovers too – many hot rice noodle dishes taste wonderful chilled the next day for lunch and Italian pasta dishes can be woken up in the microwave or oven and finished with a fresh sprinkle of parm.

Make these recipes any night of the week – they’ll only take you 30 minutes! And grab everything you need for a delicious National Noodle Month at your co-op. 

Rice Noodle Recipes

Rice noodles are the go-to in my kitchen as they’re gluten free and quick cooking (2-4 minutes). I always have tamari, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, chili garlic paste, and maple syrup on hand to whip up a quick sauce for the noodles to absorb. Add veg, optional protein, and sesame seeds on top for a great meal in 20 minutes. 

Note: If your noodles are coming out mushy, you are overcooking them. Set a timer and pay close attention when it goes off. If you’re still having trouble with mushy noodles, stop cooking by plunging them into an ice bath immediately.

Creamy Peanut Sesame Noodles

  • 1 tablespoon avocado or neutral oil
  • ⅓ cup peanuts
  • ¼ cup creamy unsalted peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sweet white miso paste
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened full fat coconut milk (no gums!)
  • 8 oz. pad thai rice noodles 
  • Crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Lime wedges 

Heat avocado oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add peanuts and a pinch of salt. Cook until peanuts become golden brown, stirring frequently. Transfer to a heat-safe bowl to cool. Reserve the skillet. 

Combine peanut butter, maple syrup, tamari, lime juice, and miso in a small bowl. Use a whisk to get this mixture as smooth as possible. Set aside. 

Heat water in a medium or large pot. Once boiling, add rice noodles and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 2 minutes, strain through a colander and rinse with cold water. 

While the water is boiling, heat coconut milk over low heat in the skillet you used to fry the peanuts. After a few minutes, stir in the peanut butter mixture. Stir until smooth. Be careful not to overcook the sauce. Add the noodles to the sauce when they’re done. Cook noodles in the sauce for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Just before serving, top with fried peanuts, green onions, and lime wedges.

Cold Sesame Noodles

  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 small shallots, very thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds 
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • ½-3 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce 
  • 8 oz. pad thai rice noodles
  • 2 cups mixed red, yellow, and orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • Small Persian cucumber, very thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh Thai or regular basil, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced

Add sesame oil, garlic, shallots, and bay leaf to a skillet over medium heat. Cook until the garlic and shallot are golden and crispy, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the sesame seeds and ginger, stirring all the while, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a heat safe bowl. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and tamari. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then cool in the fridge. 

Heat water in a medium or large pot. Once boiling, add rice noodles and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 4 minutes, strain through a colander and rinse with cold water for a minute or two to arrest cooking. 

Combine sesame oil mixture, noodles, and all the veggies. Toss until veggies are well coated. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Ginger Cilantro Take Out Noodles

  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1-3 tablespoons chili garlic paste or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 16 oz. thin rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1 cup)

Begin heating a large pot of water for the rice noodles. Once boiling, add the noodles and cook for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, strain through a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside. 

In the meantime, combine tamari, rice vinegar, maple syrup, chili garlic paste, lime juice, and fish sauce. Set aside. 

Heat sesame oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minutes, stirring all the while. Your kitchen should fill with the smell of ginger and garlic, yum. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Pour in the sauce. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, then add noodles. Stir until the noodles are evenly coated in sauce. After 2 minutes they should look dry as they’ve absorbed the sauce. 

Finally, toss with sesame seeds and cilantro just before serving.

Pasta Recipes

These noodles take a little longer to cook – 7-11 minutes. The trick to weeknight pasta is pairing noodles with a sauce that takes around the same amount of time to prepare. 

For those that can’t do gluten or want a little more oomph from their pasta, choose noodles made from lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, brown rice, etc. 

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

  • 1 16-ounce package linguine or spaghetti noodles
  • 1 1/2 cup full fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Optional: 1 anchovy
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • freshly ground black pepper 

Cook pasta to al dente in salted water according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, and drain the linguine in a colander.

Mix together the ricotta, reserved pasta liquid, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt, and anchovy in a serving bowl. Toss with the warm pasta, top with grated Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Wild Mushroom Linguine

  • 12 ounces linguine noodles
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cremini, shiitake or morel mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Put on a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta, and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat, and add the mushrooms. Stir until the mushrooms are softened, lightly browned and nearly dry, about four minutes. Add the garlic and lemon zest and stir for about a minute.

Add the half and half and bring to a boil; reduce heat so it won’t boil over, but let it simmer vigorously for two minutes to thicken slightly. Stir in the parmesan until melted, then remove from heat. Add the drained pasta, parsley, salt and pepper to the pan, and use tongs to turn in the sauce until well mixed. Serve immediately.

Baked Ravioli

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme or oregano
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound store-bought fresh ravioli of your choice
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

(This one will take a little longer than 30, but a good chunk is oven time so you can catch up on dishes, studying or doing nothing!)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Add thyme and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Toss sauce with ravioli. Pour pasta into an 8×8 inch baking dish, and sprinkle with cheeses. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

Macaroni and Cheese Recipes

Would it really be National Noodle Month without a few Mac and Cheese recipes?

Vegetarian Chorizo Mac and Cheese

  • 1 box of your favorite stove-top macaroni and cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 package vegetarian chorizo, casing removed and crumbled
  • 1 small can of mild or hot green chiles
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Toppings (optional): diced tomatoes, diced red onion, sour cream, sliced black olives

Cook macaroni noodles according to box instructions. 

In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onions and peppers. Sauté for 1 minute and add soy chorizo. Sauté for 6 minutes. Add noodles and cheese sauce. Stir. Add green chiles and cilantro and stir again. Finish with additional toppings if using. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pound dried small pasta shells
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Place the squash, milk, water, and salt in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.

Use a blender to purée the milk and squash into a smooth sauce. Stir in the pepper and nutmeg. Add the cooked pasta, cheddar, Parmesan, and fontina cheese, and stir until the pasta is evenly combined and the cheeses are melted. If the cheese needs a little help melting, return to a pot over low heat and stir until the cheese is appropriately melty.

Bacon Mac and Cheese

  • 16 oz. cavatappi or noodle shape of choice
  • 6 oz. Red Witch cheese, grated
  • 10 oz. Gruyere, Emmental or other Swiss melting cheese
  • 16 oz. white cheddar, grated
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 3 pieces of fully cooked bacon (or more), diced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • Parmigiano Reggiano to taste
  • 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (or panko breadcrumbs)
  • Olive oil
(This one will take a little longer than 30, but a good chunk is oven time so you can catch up on dishes, studying or doing nothing!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set aside 1/2 cup of the Red Witch and cheddar cheeses. Cook noodles until al dente according to package instructions.

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk until well incorporated. Add the milk, slowly, whisking constantly. Keep whisking for about 5 minutes until the sauce boils and thickens. Then add the half and half and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and add bacon, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and the cheese you did not set aside earlier. Stir together until well mixed.

Combine sauce and cooked noodles and stir. Top with the 1/2 cup of reserved cheesed. Grate some Parmigiano Reggiano on top, to taste. Toss breadcrumbs with a little olive oil and sprinkle over the mac and cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly.

Not Pasta Recipes

Don’t worry, I will not pretend that “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) are the equivalent of starchy, comforting grain-based noodles. That being said, vegetable noodles definitely have a place in my kitchen. Doing lots of 3rd grade field trips and kids cooking classes has also taught me little ones are a smidge more inclined to munch on raw zucchini if it’s in fun noodle form.

You can purchase frozen carrot and zucchini noodles or make veggie noodles yourself with the right equipment. My $20 “spiralizer” has been working great for years. You can also get thin, wide noodles by using a vegetable peeler.

Carrot Noodle Salad

  • 2 large carrots, spiralized (about 4 cups carrot noodles)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup raisins (Optional: rehydrate by soaking in 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar mixed with water enough to cover for 15-30 minutes)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon harissa
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped

In a large bowl, combine carrot noodles, chickpeas, and raisins.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, harissa, cardamom, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Pour over carrot noodle mixture and toss until everything is coated with dressing and spices.
Top with feta cheese, toasted walnuts and parsley.

To make this a meal, fill out with Aidell’s Spinach and Feta Chicken Sausage or a side of lemon garlic couscous. 

Zoodles with Lentil Bolognese

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 pinch sea salt or to taste
  • 26 ounces of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup dry split red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium zucchini, rinsed and both ends sliced off
  • Optional: cheese or nutritional yeast for topping

    Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, shallot, and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute, stirring frequently, until slightly softened and fragrant. Turn down heat if browning. Add carrots and a pinch of salt and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes more, then add marinara sauce and stir to coat.

    Add red pepper flake, basil, oregano, coconut sugar, water, and lentils. Increase heat slightly and bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low/medium-low, cover, and continue cooking until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally, about 17-20 minutes. Add a bit more water if mixture gets too thick. Once lentils are cooked, taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

    While the sauce is cooking, spiralize your zucchini into noodles. Serve bolognese over zoodles. Sprinkle with cheese or nutritional yeast if using.