Zucchini and Cucumber Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce and Fresh Peaches

Zucchini and Cucumber Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce and Fresh Peaches - Yup, it's Vegan

This zucchini and cucumber noodle salad is officially the first recipe posted to my blog that was prepared & photographed in my new kitchen! I know I’m not alone when I say that moving can be tremendously physically and mentally draining for me. But we are so happy to be settled in here at our new place! We had lived near the college campus where J is doing his graduate program, but the whole college vibe was increasingly not a great fit for us, nor was it convenient for my commute. So we finally got our butts in gear and found something that suited us a little better. Still in Baltimore, just a different neighborhood (with several vegan-friendly restaurants!)

The most exciting part, of course, is that we’re done with apartment living (for now)… we have a rowhouse! With a MUCH bigger kitchen, a garden, and a fenced in backyard area with a grill (thank you, landlord for leaving the grill for us!) FYI, rowhouses are a classic architectural feature of Baltimore. They are single-family homes that are completely attached to each other. I think they are one of my favorite things about this city. (You can learn more about rowhouses here if you’re interested.) I think the type we are living in is either a ‘daylight rowhouse’ or a ‘porchfront house’. The sort of shared front porches mean we actually interact with our neighbors! Hopefully they enjoy vegan baked goods :)

So, after moving, I was excited to get back to cooking from the CSA. I am totally backlogged right now because we didn’t do much cooking for nearly an entire week while we dealt with all of the logistics and got our kitchen unpacked. Here’s what we got last week:

Radishes with greens
Sugar snap peas
Onions
Curly kale
Purslane (an edible weed with a deliciously weird salty flavor)
Pattypan squash
Zucchini
Yellow “cheddar” cauliflower (hey, I didn’t name it)

And this past Saturday we got:

Curly kale
Kohlrabi with greens
Purple basil
Collard greens
Enough bell peppers to fill a bucket (counts for 2 items)
Garlic
Japanese eggplant

Today’s recipe is another way to incorporate sweet, juicy summer peaches into a savory dish, and to make a meal without having to turn on the oven or stove! I used my vegetable spiralizer to make noodles out of cucumbers and zucchini. (Below the recipe are tips for doing this without a spiralizer.) I tossed in fresh sliced peaches, onions, and bell pepper strips. It took all of 2 minutes to whisk together this super easy peanut dressing and sprinkle sesame seeds to finish. To make this a more filling meal, I added some cooked mung beans when I packed up my lunch to bring to work.

Zucchini and Cucumber Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce and Fresh Peaches - Yup, it's Vegan

Mixing together zucchini and cucumber is the perfect compromise. Raw zucchini noodles have a really nice texture, but taste like nothing. Cucumber noodles have that crisp, refreshing flavor, but a little softer texture. Together they have everything you need for a killer raw “noodle” salad. With bell peppers and peaches in their prime right now, every bite is bursting with juicy deliciousness. I am already craving this again.

Zucchini and Cucumber Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce and Fresh Peaches

A crisp and refreshing raw vegetable noodle salad with zucchini, cucumber, sweet summer peaches, juicy bell pepper strips, and a nearly-instant peanut sauce. See note below the recipe for how to make without a spiralizer!

Ingredients

    For the instant peanut sauce:
  • 2 tb. creamy natural peanut butter (only peanuts)
  • 1/2 tb. coconut sugar or brown sugar (more to taste)
  • 1/2 tb. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tb. sriracha
  • 1 tb. water
  • For the zucchini and cucumber noodle salad:
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into noodles using a spiralizer
  • 2 medium cucumbers, cut into noodles using a spiralizer
  • 2 small or 1 large bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 large fresh peach, thinly sliced (large slices in the pictures are for decoration!)
  • 1/4 of a medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • instant peanut sauce (see above)
  • sesame seeds and green onions, for garnish

Instructions

    For the instant peanut sauce:
  1. Whisk together the peanut butter, coconut sugar, rice wine vinegar, tamari, and sriracha until a smooth paste forms. Add more sugar if desired. Add the water and whisk in until the dressing is smooth.
  2. For the salad:
  3. Sprinkle the spiralized zucchini and cucumbers generously with salt, and set in a colander to drain off some of the liquid, for 10 minutes or longer.
  4. Rinse off the salt from the noodles and gently pat dry with a towel. Gently toss together with the bell pepper, peach, and onion.
  5. Fold in the peanut sauce. Serve immediately, garnished with sesame seeds and green onions if desired. For saving leftovers, keep the sauce and noodles separate until just before eating them.
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I was lucky enough to receive my spiralizer as a gift. But I can completely understand not wanting to purchase a (sorta) single-function kitchen tool. I will say that I love the spiralizer and use it almost weekly. But I found a couple of ways to make this zucchini cucumber noodle salad without that particular gadget.

Oh She Glows shares that you can use a julienne peeler to make “noodle” strips.

Reviving Traditions shows how to make noodles with the shredder Kitchenaid attachment.

Top with Cinnamon discovered zucchini noodles made with a cheese grater. (Don’t toss that thing when you go vegan!!)

Zucchini and Cucumber Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce and Fresh Peaches - Yup, it's Vegan

Shared on Virtual Vegan Potluck. P.S… I love eggplant, but I have had a really bad success rate with preparing it in my own kitchen. If you have any awesome Japanese eggplant recipes, I would love to hear what they are! Have a great week!

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Copycat Chipotle Sofritas Recipe (Spicy Adobo Braised Shredded Tofu)

With the introduction of Chipotle sofritas, vegans around the USA rejoiced. For anyone not familiar, Chipotle is a fast food chain that serves burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, and salads. The customer chooses a protein and then chooses from a selection of beans, veggies, salsa, and other toppings. Previously, the vegan option was to skip the proteins altogether and of course, pass on the optional cheese and sour cream.

Copycat Chipotle Sofritas (Spicy Adobo Braised Shredded Tofu) - Yup, it's Vegan

When sofritas, the first dedicated vegetarian/vegan protein option, was rolled in at Chipotle’s West Coast locations, I waited with bated breath for it to reach me here on the East Coast. Spicy shredded tofu, braised with fresh spices in adobo sauce? Sign me up, right? I’m happy to say that, at least for me, sofritas totally lived up to my expectations when it finally got to Baltimore. Spicy, juicy, and full of flavor, it was a great addition to my vegan burrito. So why make a copycat sofritas at home when the real thing is so good?

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Date Caramel Mocha Bars

Date Caramel Mocha Bars - Yup, it's Vegan

A day of delicious summer foods just feels complete with a slice of something chilled and chocolatey (that, or some watermelon with a sprinkle of salt)! Alternatively, do as I did and have a couple of these date caramel mocha bars as a post-workout recovery food.

In all seriousness… date caramel is a wonderful thing. For anyone who hasn’t encountered it before, it’s just softened dates, pureed with a splash of nondairy milk and a bit of fat (in this case, I used coconut butter). The rich, molasses-like notes of the dates are reminiscent of a cooked caramel, but without any of the sugar and without any cooking! Of course, I did use a makeshift double boiler here to melt the chocolate, but that’s quick and easy.

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Warm Caramelized Onion & Kale Dip

Warm Vegan Caramelized Onion & Kale Dip - Yup, it's Vegan

This warm caramelized onion & kale dip was one of those random fridge clean-out meals for us, but it turned out to be really tasty, so I decided to share. It’s modeled after my classic hot spinach artichoke dip, but with summer produce and more complex flavor. I love foods that teeter on the edge of being bitter. Thanks to the kale, this dip hits that sweet spot. We served it with tortilla chips, but I also think it would be nice with pita chips, or toasted slices of bread.

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Creamy Vegan Cucumber Salad with Chickpeas and Fresh Dill

Vegan Cucumber Salad with Chickpeas and Fresh Dill - Yup, it's Vegan

A vegan cucumber salad isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but classic recipes are classic for a reason! I do happen to be particularly fond of this version, because it’s both refreshing and filling at the same time. Chickpeas have a slightly briny undertone that really sings when combined with dill.

To bring all of these fresh, summer flavors together we need a killer dressing. I used a silky vegan “mayonnaise” made from cashews, pine nuts, a touch of brown rice syrup, and fresh lemon juice. Combined with a pureed cucumber to keep it light, and seasoned with just a pinch of salt and pepper, it lets the flavors of the salad shine.

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