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Sesame sauce — a vegan option for noodles


A common supper at the abbey is pasta and vegetables. The default pasta sauce probably (I’m ashamed to say) is parmesan and cream. But variety is nice, and parmesan and cream make a pretty heavy sauce.

I’m still working on refining this recipe, but here’s a working version with some ideas for improvement.

Toasted sesame sauce

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon pepper sauce (such as harissa sauce)
4 cloves of garlic

1 to 2 tablespoons peanut butter

Combine the sugar and vinegar in a small skillet. Simmer it until it starts to thicken. Pour it into a small bowl and set it aside.

Sautée the garlic lightly in the sesame oil. Add the soy sauce and harissa sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Add the peanut butter to the vinegar mixture. Stir it until it thickens.

Add the peanut butter and vinegar mixture to the contents of the skillet. Stir and simmer. It doesn’t have to mix perfectly. A sauce that’s slightly broken is just fine.

Peanut butter makes a great thickener for sauces — soups, too, for that matter. Vary the amount of peanut butter to get the thickness that you want. If 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil is a little strong on the sesame for you, then substitute olive oil for some of the sesame oil. Any vinegar will do. Obviously rice vinegar gives it a bit more of an Asian flair. Harissa sauce is available at some grocery stores, including Whole Foods. In a pinch, use ketchup and a dash of hot sauce! Don’t hesitate to use more than a mere teaspoon if it suits your taste.

This recipe makes a modest amount of sauce. Double it or triple it as needed. Top it with nuts, if you like. Crushed roasted peanuts work great.

By the way, I use whole wheat linguini.

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