With the holidays coming I know you're feeling a little swamped (I certainly am) so here's a quick and simple delicious weeknight meal that's just a little bit out of the ordinary and won't break the bank either. Tender white meat chicken, carrots, scallions, crunchy peanuts and pasta all coated in a slightly spicy peanut butter/soy sauce mixture will bring a sigh of relief to that age-old Monday morning question, "What the heck am I going to make for dinner tonight?!!" If you're stuck in the mold that pasta needs to be covered in tomato sauce and cheese, I urge you to break free and give this a try. Not only does the whole thing come together in about half an hour, but it's extremely versatile--you could toss in other veggies you like or omit the chicken for an easy vegetarian meal. Plus, it's got that great slurpability factor! Now, I'm not saying you should abandon your favorite marinara, but every so often it's nice to change it up. After all, variety is the spice of life!
Easy Peanut Butter Chicken Pasta
Makes 4 large servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Scant 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
- 1 cup scallions, chopped
- 1 pound linguini or thin spaghetti (or any pasta you have on hand)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1. Whisk together the vinegar, 1/3 cup oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and set aside. Put a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions.
2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet until very hot. Cook the carrot for about 1 minutes, stirring. Add the chicken and scallions and cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes, until the chicken is entirely cooked through.
3. When the pasta is done, drain and toss it with the peanut butter mixture and the parsley in a large bowl. Toss the chicken in too and top with the peanuts. Serve immediately.
4. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days covered well and reheated.
Note: Recipe adapted from Good Cheap Eats by Jessica Fisher. I tinkered around with some of the proportions here and swapped the 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro for parsley and added the chopped peanuts, because, well...peanuts!