I love noodles, and I love peanut sauce. However trying to stick with a quasi-Paleo diet means eating no gluten and avoiding legumes, which knocks out a lot of noodle possibilities and also peanuts (which are legumes, not nuts). I’m not going to discuss why these common foods could be bad for you – there are ample articles on the subject out there if you are curious. (Such as this and this.)
Thankfully there are good – and even superior – options. Almond butter is one. There are several kinds of almond butter at my local grocery, but some of them are not easy to work with. You’ve seen the jars with the “butter” on the bottom and a huge layer of separated oil on top. It is hard work trying to stir that stuff back together! My favorite brand is Barney Butter, which is not only nicely blended (no-stir) and full of wholesome ingredients, it is certified gluten-free, peanut-free, and non-GMO. On top of that, it is creamy and delicious!
We really loved this dish with ground pork and a spicy, nutty sauce mixed with rice noodles. As with most stir-frys, it is important to get all your ingredients lined up and ready to go before you heat up that wok. (This is called mise en place, for the gourmet-types out there.)
- 1 pound ground pork (from pastured hogs)
- 1/2 large onion, sliced into strips
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/3 cup almond butter (I love Barney Butter)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tamari/soy sauce (gluten-free) or coconut aminos
- 1-2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce (to taste)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 8 ounces gluten-free rice noodles (type used for Pad Thai)
- 1/3 cup retained pasta water
- Optional serving suggestions: Cilantro, green onions, chopped roasted almonds, lime wedges
Soak rice noodles in hot water for 8-10 minutes, or as directed by package for stir-fry preparation. Reserve 1/3 cup of the water used to cook the noodles. Drain noodles and set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine almond butter with tamari, Sriracha, sesame oil, honey, ginger, fish sauce, and lime juice. Whisk until smooth and set aside. (Try not to eat it with a spoon.)
In a large wok or saute pan, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers, and stir-fry for a few minutes until crisp-tender. Place the vegetables in a bowl and set aside. Add the ground pork and garlic to the wok. Cook until pork is browned throughout. Drain excess fat from wok.
Return vegetables to the wok and toss with the ground pork. Add the drained rice noodles and stir fry for about 2 minutes until noodles are softened (al dente), but not mushy. Add the almond butter sauce and toss together so that the sauce is well distributed. If needed, add some (or all) of the reserved pasta water to dilute the sauce and bring the mixture to the desired consistency.
Serve garnished with cilantro, chopped green onions, or chopped nuts. Pass lime wedges. It is good warm or at room temperature. (Also good leftover – these photos were taken the next day.) Enjoy!
David Johansen has worn many hats since he burst into the music scene with the New York Dolls in the ’70s- punk rocker, lounge singer as Buster Poindexter, and now bluesman. On Harry Smiths, Johansen and his band lower the volume and increase the menace performing old time and string music classics with a bluesy touch. Highly recommended!
Once he split with the Dolls David enjoyed a solo career, and his second release, Here Comes the Night is a tight, high energy romp. On the title track or “Bohemian Love Pad” he shows he hasn’t lost that punky touch.