If you stocked your pantry with loads of peanut butter, you might be getting tired of perpetual P.B.&J.s. Or in my case, peanut butter spread on banana slices and sprinkled with flaky sea salt. (Try it before you knock it.)
For something a little different, I offer an extremely simple riff on cold sesame noodles, made with peanut butter instead of sesame paste. Although it’s excellent cold and at room temperature, I like it best just after mixing, while the noodles are still a little warm. Make a batch and eat it whenever you’re hungry. Leftovers keep for several days in the fridge, though you might want to keep the optional veggies separate until serving.
To make it, boil up a pound of whatever noodles you have: rice noodles, spaghetti, ramen, soba, egg noodles — it’s all good.
While the noodles are cooking, make the dressing by whisking together ⅓ cup peanut butter with ¼ cup soy sauce and 3 tablespoons each toasted Asian sesame oil and rice vinegar (or some other mild vinegar — white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or lime juice all work nicely). Season this with a grated garlic clove and a grated inch-long piece of fresh ginger root, if you have it (or leave it out). Then, sweeten to taste with a tablespoon or so of brown sugar, honey or maple syrup.
If you want to add vegetables, slice up some cucumber, radish or celery — or anything crunchy, fennel or carrots would also work — and dress with a little sesame oil, rice or other vinegar, and salt.
Set the vegetables aside while you combine the dressing with the drained noodles, along with some chopped peanuts or sesame seeds if you like. Top with the veggies if using. You can garnish it with a handful of fresh cilantro, scallion greens or celery leaves, if you have them. But it’s good without the greens, too.
This is part of a weekday series in which Melissa Clark teaches you how to cook with pantry staples. (Other recipes in the series: Crunchy Pantry Popcorn. Vegetarian skillet chili. Dried beans. Baked oats. Canned tuna pasta. Any-vegetable soup. Pantry crumb cake.)