It was love at first sight.
We were pretty sure this recipe was going to be a winner when we first saw it in the submissions for our comfort food recipe contest, AMLI EATS. Well, we were 100-percent right. Joanna (JoJo) and her peanut noodle recipe would go on to snag the regional prize for the Chicago region.
Now, let’s talk food.
Gluten-free noodles are never an easy task—especially when you’re making them from scratch. What this recipe does right is it looks to the produce aisle. Rather than going through the hassle of using a noodle maker, Joanna here has us simply cooking the spaghetti squash and going at it with a fork once it’s ready. This is probably to quickest and best way to make your “noodles.” You could also peel the squash’s skin after cooking, flip it so the hollow cavity faces your cutting board, then julienne the squash length-wise into long, thin strips to make wider, longer, and heartier noodles. That, however, is not at all necessary.
The most exciting aspect of Joanna’s recipe is the peanut sauce. Also incredibly simple to make, it packs a lot of flavor in while using basic ingredients someone who regularly cooks probably has lying around anyway. Just mix it up in a bowl while the squash is cooking! Scroll down for the complete recipe.
Joanna won a gift card to Williams-Sonoma. Other winners received gift cards to Blue Apron and two grand-prize winners received a dinner party with a private chef and up to 10 of their friends. Find the winning recipe below, along with a short interview with Joanna. Stay tuned for our next contest this fall!
JoJo’s Gluten-free Peanut Noodles
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, ribboned
2 green onions, sliced thin (cut tops at angle and use for garnish)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ginger powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup all natural creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1/2 large lime, juice only (add more if desired to taste)
1 tbsp brown sugar (use more to taste if you use salted peanut butter)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
tops of green onions
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1/2 large lime, cut into 4 wedges
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Slice spaghetti squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place halves face down in a roasting pan and add just enough water to cover the bottom. Cook 30-45 minutes depending on size of squash. Remove from the oven and allow to cool as needed before handling. Scrape out insides with a fork to form “spaghetti” and leave in shells until ready to add to veggies in step 3.
2. Mix peanut sauce ingredients in a small bowl until consistent to make peanut sauce. (Note: may need to increase sugar/lime juice content to taste depending on saltiness of peanut butter and tamari). Set aside.
3. Place a large deep saucepan on the burner over medium heat with 1/2 tbsp of olive oil. Once oil is hot, add bell pepper, onion, green onion bottoms, and carrots and sautée until onion is slightly golden (5-6 minutes). Add minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Scoop spaghetti squash strands into the pan. Add peanut sauce mixture and combine throughly. Turn heat to low and cover while making eggs.
4. Add 1/2 tbsp of oil to another large saucepan and turn heat to medium (or make eggs in shifts if using a smaller saucepan). Crack eggs into pan separately and flip when egg whites are sufficiently set. Cook egg to preferred level; over-easy or over-medium recommended.
5. Plate spaghetti squash, peanut sauce and veggie mixture onto 4 plates. Add an egg onto each plate. Garnish with tops of green onion, crushed peanuts, and a wedge of lime.
Interview with the cook
1. How many days of the week do you typically cook?
I love cooking and I typically cook 3-5 nights in a given week. Since I started grad school part-time last fall in addition to working full-time, I have noticed the number of nights I am able to cook has come down a bit. Now, I focus on making things that are fast and easy to pack leftovers of, so I can take it on-the-go.
2. Who do you usually cook for?
I usually cook for myself and my boyfriend Ryan. And he often cooks with me too, which I really enjoy! I also recently started sharing my food and the places I like to eat on Instagram (ig: @jojosparkles_gfchicago). I am gluten and lactose intolerant, and there are many other foodies out there with allergies who I like sharing ideas with.
3. What was the inspiration for your AMLI EATS recipe? Is there a story behind it?
Honestly, it was something I cobbled together with the last things left in my fridge along with some typical staple ingredients. I had a lot of homework to do the night I made this and didn’t have time to go grocery shopping. When I searched my fridge I found a spaghetti squash, a few veggies, 3 eggs, and a jar of peanut butter. So I made it work! Ryan gave the dish great reviews, so I figured it was worth entering in the contest! 🙂
4. What is your favorite cuisine to cook? Why?
Risotto is hands down my favorite dish to cook – because I enjoy eating it so much. But most of the time, I’m not following recipes when I cook. I usually end up making some kind of starch (like rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, etc.) with seasoning and fresh herbs, along with roasted or sautéed vegetables. Keeping it simple with few ingredients really cuts down on the prep time, and lately I’m always trying to find ways to cook healthy food faster…and with fewer trips to the grocery store!
5. Where do you shop for ingredients? Are there any local stores that have great deals, produce, or other items you use to cook?
I love shopping at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods for specialty items since they carry a lot of allergy-friendly foods. I tend to buy most of my produce and snack-foods at Trader Joe’s.
6. What is the one thing you couldn’t do without in your kitchen?
My cast-iron skillet is a great and versatile tool to have in the kitchen since I can use it on the stove-top and in the oven. I have a lot of other gadgets like an immersion blender, crockpot, etc. but they’re not part of my typical cooking process. I keep things pretty simple when I cook!
7. What’s the best part about cooking at your AMLI apartment?
What’s not to love about cooking in my AMLI apartment? I love the granite countertops that give me plenty of prep space, big stove range and oven, and huge sink for cleaning out dishes when I’m done. I’ve lived in apartments before where cooking and cleaning were a hassle—so it’s nice that those pain points are gone and I can cook in a beautiful kitchen too!
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