I’m not really someone who believe things just magically fall into place. I’ve always wanted that outlook, because it sounds nice, but as my mom so concisely puts it, “Oh Katie, you’ve always been my cynic.” This attitude is largely why I was fairly suspicious when a publisher contacted me out of the blue about a month ago. She told me she wanted to publish a cookbook on protein-dense vegetarian food, and was drawn to the recipes, photos, and sentiment throughout my site.
I felt very flattered (obviously), but also like it was too good to be true. Most food bloggers will tell you that writing a cookbook is a dream, and I had intended to pursue it in the future, but I expected to really have to work for it. I saw myself writing a cookbook, and then going from publisher to publisher trying to sell it. I saw disappointment, frustration, and a need for perseverance.
Surprise! It was the real deal, the publisher is wonderful, and I received an offer last week to write a cookbook for release in September. I’m working with a nutritionist to develop 65 new high-protein vegetarian recipes, which will range from breakfast to snacks to dinner to dessert. The book will also include 10 popular high-protein recipes from my blog (this, this, and this will need to make an appearance).
Apart from being SOFREAKINGEXCITED that I just had to blurt out the news, I also wanted to share this information because there’s a possibility that my posts will be a bit less frequent over the next few months. I need to deliver my manuscript by mid-February, while still working 40+ hours per week and trying to keep some semblance of a social life. It’s a wonderfully blessed and lucky kind of busy, but busy it will be.
Aaaaanywho, let’s get to the good stuff, shall we? I happily devoured this stir fry four days in a row, which my easily-bored palate rarely allows, and on the fifth day my lunch felt sad and lonely without the finger-licking good dish. The peanut butter sauce has a wonderfully rich, spicy, and lightly sweet flavor that cloaks the rice noodles and bright veggies. The whole meal can come together in 20 minutes, so perhaps I just need to make it again…like tonight…like as soon as I get home from work, and then not share a single noodle with The Beast. Mwahahaha…I’m a bit stingy with my Thai.
- 8 ounces brown rice noodles (white would work as well)
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 1 chopped red bell pepper
- 2 cups chopped radicchio
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1-1½ cups peanut sauce, recipe follows
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped peanuts
- Fresh cilantro (for garnish)
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 6 tablespoons (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons honey (substitute agave nectar for vegan option)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛-1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the rice noodles according to package directions, but remove them from the water 1-2 minutes early. They will finish cooking as they're sautéed with the vegetables and sauce.
- While the noodles cook, you can get the sauce ready, and start cooking the ingredients. Combine all of the peanut sauce ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Bring to a low boil, and continue to whisk for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook for 1-2 minutes, until starting to get soft. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chopped red bell pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes until tender. Pour in the radicchio and bean sprouts, and cook for a minute.
- Add the cooked noodles and sauce to the pan, stir, and cook for another 2 minutes, until everything is well incorporated.
- Divide the mixture between 4 bowls. Top each bowl with 1 tablespoon of crushed peanuts and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
- If you're not eating right away, reheat left overs in the microwave with 1-2 tablespoons of water.
I used Jif Natural for the sauce, and that may be considered somewhat blasphemous as far as authenticity goes. Feel free to use a natural peanut butter without added salt and sugar, but keep in mind that you’ll want to add extra salt/honey to the sauce. This recipe is easily adaptable in that you can adjust the spices, vegetables, and level of sauce to your liking. Make it your own, but be prepared to make it frequently!