Lunch Box: Make-Ahead Peanut Soba Noodles with Tofu and Pickled Bean Sprouts


[Photograph: Suzanne Lehrer]

Unless you are a robot, allergic to nuts, or hate fun, chances are you, like me, have a giant soft spot for peanut noodles.

I take the making of peanut noodles quite seriously: it's all about finding that perfect consistency for a deliciously slimy noodle, with that delicate balance between sauce and paste. The sauce should be thick enough to properly coat the noodles, but not not too thick that they stick to the roof of your mouth.

Being that this is a make-ahead, I made the sauce a little bit smoother, keeping in mind that it would congeal somewhat on the noodles, but in the best way possible. I spiked creamy peanut butter with sharp and tangy flavors—citrus, soy, fish sauce—which become more harmonious as they sit on the noodles overnight.

Sitting beside the noodles on your fridge shelf are crunchy bean sprouts and scallions, pickling away in a simple brine. If you've never pickled anything before, this isn't a Ball jar-style professional canning operation. Taking an extra two minutes to pickle the sprouts is well worth it; it'll cut through the richness of the peanut butter, and also probably prevent a peanut noodle-induced food coma. I'm not saying there's not still a risk though—I can promise you a pretty delicious bowl of noodles, but don't quote me on your ability to do, or think about, anything afterwards.

About the Author: Suzanne Lehrer is a writer and recipe developer in New York and a recipe editor for Cooking Channel. When not curating her budding hot sauce collection, she puts her French Culinary Institute education to good use in kitchens all around town. Find her on twitter @the_suzchef