Spicy Pineapple Cucumber Salad

This Spicy Pineapple Cucumber Salad is the perfect mix of salty, sweet, and spicy, making it an addictive summer treat.

The post Spicy Pineapple Cucumber Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’ve been totally obsessed with the salty-sweet-spicy flavor combo lately. Ever since I fell victim to a Facebook ad selling some chili-coated sour patch kids (yes, they were awesome). So I was totally delighted when I decided to throw together the gochujang in the back of my fridge with some pineapple from my freezer, and a fresh cucumber, and it tasted exactly like the chili gummies! But like, with actual fruit and vegetables instead of candy. Haha! Needless to say, this Spicy Pineapple Cucumber Salad is a HIT.

Close up overhead view of a bowl of spicy pineapple cucumber salad

What is Gochujang?

Gochujang is a centuries-old Korean chili paste made with chili peppers, rice, soybeans, and salt (check this article for a really extensive history and detail of this awesome sauce). It has a salty-spicy-umami flavor that kind of reminds me of a spicy version of miso. The flavor profile is so unique and so delicious, and I couldn’t be happier about the fact that it’s really trending in the U.S. right now because that means it’s fairly easy to find in major grocery stores. My local Kroger store has about five or six different brands on the shelf!

P.S. Gochujang stays good in the fridge for a really long time, so don’t worry about needing to use up the whole container right away. Here are some other recipes I’ve made using gochujang, if you need some inspiration.

Fresh or Frozen Pineapple?

I used frozen pineapple this time around because I had it on hand, but fresh would work just as well. Canned pineapple (in juice, NOT syrup) might work in a pinch, but it tends to be a lot sweeter and not quite as bright in flavor as fresh or frozen, so it’s definitely not my first choice for this recipe.

Substitutions

This particular flavor combination has a lot of flexibility, so I think there is a lot of room for substitution. Here are some ideas:

  • Pineapple: You can use mango, cantaloupe, or even watermelon in place of the pineapple.
  • Cilantro: If you can’t do cilantro, you can either leave it out or try adding some green onion for a little fresh kick.
  • Gochujang: If you can’t find gochujang, Tajín seasoning actually makes a really good substitute. It has a really similar salty-spicy flavor profile. It is a powder instead of a paste, but will mix into the dressing all the same. Use about 1 tsp Tajín and add more to your liking.

What to Serve with Spicy Pineapple Cucumber Salad

This tasty salad would make a great side dish to something like Coconut Chicken Strips, Baked Ginger Salmon, Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls, or Easy Orange Chicken.

Side view of spicy pineapple cucumber salad in a bowl
Overhead view of Spicy Pineapple Cucumber Salad in a bowl

Spicy Pineapple Cucumber Salad

This Spicy Pineapple Cucumber Salad is the perfect mix of salty, sweet, and spicy, making it an addictive summer treat.
Total Cost $4.41 recipe / $1.10 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 1.25 cups each
Calories 75kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber (3 cups chopped) $1.25
  • 1/2 lb. frozen pineapple chunks (2 cups) $2.46
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro $0.20
  • 1.5 tsp gochujang $0.12
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar $0.37
  • 1 Tbsp sugar $0.01

Instructions

  • Thaw the pineapple chunks and chop the cucumber into pieces roughly the same size as the pineapple chunks. Roughly chop the cilantro.
  • Prepare the dressing by whisking together the gochujang, rice vinegar, and sugar until dissolved.
  • Combine the cucumber, pineapple, cilantro, and dressing in a bowl. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat. Stir the salad just before eating to redistribute the dressing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 104mg | Fiber: 2g

How to Make Spicy Pineapple Cucumber Salad – Step by Step Photos

Cucumber, pineapple and cilantro in a bowl

Thaw ½ lb. (about 2 cups) pineapple chunks. Chop one cucumber (about 3 cups) into pieces roughly the same size as the pineapple. Roughly chop about ½ cup cilantro. Place the pineapple, cucumber, and cilantro in a bowl.

Gochujang dressing in a bowl

In a bowl, stir together 1.5 tsp gochujang, 3 Tbsp rice vinegar, and 1 Tbsp sugar until everything is dissolved.

Dressing being poured over cucumbers and pineapple

Pour that “awesome sauce” over the pineapple, cucumber, and cilantro in the bowl, then give it a good stir.

Finished spicy pineapple cucumber salad in a bowl

You can either eat your salad immediately or let it marinate for a while. The salad will stay good in the fridge for 2-3 days, but the fruit and vegetables will get softer the longer they marinate. Make sure to give it a good stir each time just before serving to redistribute the dressing!

front view of a bowl full of spicy pineapple cucumber salad

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General Tso’s Cauliflower

We shared a recipe for General Tso’s tofu stir-fry years ago and it’s become a fan-favorite. We wanted to try our hands at a cauliflower version and — spoiler alert — it worked extremely well!
Cauliflower florets are tossed in a spicy, gingery sauce t…

General Tso’s Cauliflower

We shared a recipe for General Tso’s tofu stir-fry years ago and it’s become a fan-favorite. We wanted to try our hands at a cauliflower version and — spoiler alert — it worked extremely well!

Cauliflower florets are tossed in a spicy, gingery sauce then baked until crispy in the oven. Perfect for enjoying as a snack or side or serving with grains and veggies for a flavorful meal. Just 10 ingredients required and naturally vegan and gluten-free.

General Tso’s Cauliflower from Minimalist Baker →

Creamy Coleslaw Recipe

Creamy Coleslaw Recipe
Make this creamy coleslaw recipe for your next potluck, picnic, or backyard bbq. Made with a crisp coleslaw mix and a sweet yet tangy homemade dressing, this classic coleslaw hits the spot! Why You’ll Love This Recipe Coles…

A white bowl with creamy homemade coleslaw and a silver spoon on the right side of the bowl.

Creamy Coleslaw Recipe

Make this creamy coleslaw recipe for your next potluck, picnic, or backyard bbq. Made with a crisp coleslaw mix and a sweet yet tangy homemade dressing, this classic coleslaw hits the spot! Why You’ll Love This Recipe Coleslaw can elicit some serious love or hate feelings in a lot of people. When it’s done well […]

READ: Creamy Coleslaw Recipe

Vegan Sushi Bowls with Ginger Marinated Tofu

All the flavor and texture of sushi without the hassle of making the rolls. These vegan sushi bowls are perfect for a build-your-own weeknight bowl or to make ahead and enjoy throughout the week. Just 10 ingredients required, naturally plant-based and …

Vegan Sushi Bowls with Ginger Marinated Tofu

All the flavor and texture of sushi without the hassle of making the rolls. These vegan sushi bowls are perfect for a build-your-own weeknight bowl or to make ahead and enjoy throughout the week. Just 10 ingredients required, naturally plant-based and gluten-free, and SO satisfying. Let us show you how it’s done!

Recipe Inspiration

These vegan sushi bowls are inspired by the flavors of sushi, but with a plant-based spin made into bowl form.

Vegan Sushi Bowls with Ginger Marinated Tofu from Minimalist Baker →

Carrot Ginger Dressing

Recently, while pondering what recipes would be helpful for our readers (and admittedly, ourselves), we were drawn to the idea of more sauces. They add SO much flavor, are quick and easy to make, and are incredibly versatile and perfect for turning ran…

Carrot Ginger Dressing

Recently, while pondering what recipes would be helpful for our readers (and admittedly, ourselves), we were drawn to the idea of more sauces. They add SO much flavor, are quick and easy to make, and are incredibly versatile and perfect for turning random leftover ingredients into delicious meals. And from this desire, this Japanese-inspired carrot ginger dressing was born!

Made with 8 simple ingredients, this lightly sweetened, tangy dressing is perfect for adding to salads, bowls, rice, and beyond.

Carrot Ginger Dressing from Minimalist Baker →

Sticky Ginger Chicken Wings

Wow. Just, WOW. These Sticky Ginger Chicken Wings are just the right amount of salty, sweet, and spicy with a fresh little zing thanks to the ginger. The sticky gooey sauce is so good that you won’t even care when it gets all over your face and fingers. …but maybe keep some wet naps close […]

The post Sticky Ginger Chicken Wings appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Wow. Just, WOW. These Sticky Ginger Chicken Wings are just the right amount of salty, sweet, and spicy with a fresh little zing thanks to the ginger. The sticky gooey sauce is so good that you won’t even care when it gets all over your face and fingers. …but maybe keep some wet naps close by. ;) 

Originally posted 8-29-2010, updated 3-8-2021

Overhead view of a bowl full of sticky ginger chicken wings

Baked Instead of Fried

Restaurant chicken wings are usually fried, but I have an irrational fear (or maybe it’s a rational fear) of deep-frying, so I make my wings in the oven. Sometimes I’ll bake the wings coated in cornstarch to get a nice crispy skin (see my Honey Mustard Wings), but this time I baked my wings right in the soy ginger sauce so the sauce would reduce and turn into a sticky glaze as the wings baked—no need for a second pot. It’s super easy and there’s no danger of fryer grease splashing or causing third-degree burns (or at least that’s what plays out in my head every time I think about deep-frying). 

What Kind of Baking Dish is Best?

I used an 8″x11″ glass casserole dish to bake my wings. I suggest glass or ceramic because they conduct heat a little more evenly than metal, which may cause the sauce to burn a bit more on the edges. If you want to double the batch, just use a larger dish, like a 9″x13″, or one that allows you to spread the chicken wings in a single layer.

What to Serve with Sticky Ginger Chicken Wings

Since these wings are so sticky sweet, I would suggest adding a vegetable-heavy side, like this Crunchy Cabbage Salad, or Sesame Cucumber Salad. And then if you want to also add a starch, try something simple like Sesame Rice or Garlic Noodles.

Close up side view of a bowl full of sticky ginger chicken wings

Overhead view of a bowl full of sticky ginger chicken wings

Sticky Ginger Chicken Wings

These sticky ginger chicken wings are sweet, spicy, and salty all in one bite. They're totally addictive and finger-licking delicious!
Total Cost $8.56 recipe / $4.28 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 2 about 6 pieces each
Calories 1129.25kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. chicken wings or drummettes 6.58
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1/4 cup honey $0.66
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce $0.12
  • 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce $0.13
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil $0.24
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar $0.13
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger $0.30
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.20

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place the chicken wings in a glass or ceramic baking dish so that they're in a single layer. Drizzle the cooking oil over top, then toss the wings to coat in the oil. Transfer the wings to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • While the wings are baking, prepare the sticky ginger sauce. Combine the honey, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, minced garlic, and grated ginger in a bowl.
  • After the wings have baked for 15 minutes, pour the sauce over the wings, then toss to coat. Return the wings to the oven and bake for an additional 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced into a sticky glaze and deepened in color. Baking time may vary slightly, so keep an eye on the sauce toward the end of the baking time.
  • Top with sliced green onions and serve!

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 1129.25kcal | Carbohydrates: 38.05g | Protein: 81.95g | Fat: 72.05g | Sodium: 1409.5mg | Fiber: 0.75g

How to Make Sticky Ginger Chicken Wings – Step By Step Photos

Raw chicken wings in a casserole dish being drizzled with cooking oil

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place 2 lbs. chicken wings and/or drummettes in a casserole dish so they’re in a single layer. Drizzle 1 Tbsp cooking oil over top and then toss to coat in the oil. Place the wings in the preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes.

Sticky ginger sauce ingredients in a bowl

While the wings are beginning to cook, prepare the sticky ginger sauce. In a bowl, stir together ¼ cup honey, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce, 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger.

Sauce being poured over wings

After the wings have cooked for 15 minutes, pour the prepared sauce over top and stir to coat. Return the wings to the oven.

Finished sticky ginger chicken wings in the casserole dish

Continue to cook the chicken wings for about 45 minutes more, stirring every 15 minutes or so, or until the sauce has reduced into a sticky glaze and turned deep brown in color. Baking time may vary slightly, so keep an eye on the sauce toward the end of the baking time.

Finished sticky ginger chicken wings topped with sliced green onions

Top with sliced green onions, then serve! Enjoy that sticky-sweet-salty-spicy goodness!

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Sesame Ginger Dressing

This Sesame Ginger Dressing is probably one of the most addictive homemade dressings I’ve ever made. It’s sweet, salty, tangy, and has a super “zingy” fresh ginger bite. It’s one of those dressings that you’ll just want to keep dipping your spoon into. The type of dressing that will make you want to eat a […]

The post Sesame Ginger Dressing appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This Sesame Ginger Dressing is probably one of the most addictive homemade dressings I’ve ever made. It’s sweet, salty, tangy, and has a super “zingy” fresh ginger bite. It’s one of those dressings that you’ll just want to keep dipping your spoon into. The type of dressing that will make you want to eat a salad just to serve as a vehicle for the delicious dressing (that’s not exactly a bad thing). But, if you’re like me, you’ll probably just end up drizzling it over everything!

Originally posted 2-5-2012, updated 7-23-2020.

Sesame ginger dressing in a wooden bowl, garnished with sesame seeds, a spoon in the middle of the bowl.

What is Tahini?

Tahini is a paste made out of ground sesame seeds. Think of it like peanut butter, but made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts! It’s one of the base ingredients for this dressing and can not be substituted in this recipe. The tahini not only adds sesame flavor to the recipe, but it also helps thicken the dressing. You can usually find tahini in the grocery store either near the peanut butter, or near the middle-eastern ingredients in the international aisle. 

Can I Substitute the Rice Vinegar?

I don’t suggest substituting the rice vinegar in this recipe. Rice vinegar has a uniquely mild flavor and acidity compared to other vinegars, which keeps it from overpowering the other flavors. While you might be able to use another type of vinegar, you’d probably also need to adjust the amount or the ratio of other ingredients to compensate for the increased acidity. 

How Long Does This Sesame Ginger Dressing Last?

Because this dressing uses fresh ginger and garlic, I suggest keeping it stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. But it tastes so good that hopefully you’ll finish it off before then!

How to Use Sesame Ginger Dressing

This dressing goes great over crunchy salads, like my Crunchy Cabbage Salad, but it can also be poured over cold noodle salads, used to dip egg rolls or dumplings, or poured over rice bowls. The sky’s the limit and I’m sure once you’ll taste it you’ll want it on everything!

Sesame ginger dressing being poured over crunchy cabbage salad from a mason jar

 
A wooden bowl filled with sesame ginger dressing next to a knob of fresh ginger

Sesame Ginger Dressing

This homemade sesame ginger dressing will drench your favorite salad with a sweet, salty, and nutty flavor, and a fresh gingery bite!
Total Cost $2.03 recipe / $0.20 sesrving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 10 2 Tbsp each
Calories 132.33kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger $0.30
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil* $0.32
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar $0.53
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce $0.12
  • 3 Tbsp honey $0.36
  • 1 Tbsp tahini $0.19
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil $0.05

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and grate the ginger (I use a small-holed cheese grater)
  • Add the minced garlic, grated ginger, oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, tahini, and toasted sesame oil to a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Serve over salad or as a dipping sauce.

Notes

*Any neutral-flavored salad oil, like peanut, canola, safflower, grapeseed, or sesame (untoasted) will work fine for this dressing.
If your dressing is too thick for pouring, simply stir in a tablespoon or two of water to loosen it up.

Nutrition

Serving: 2Tbsp | Calories: 132.33kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.98g | Protein: 0.59g | Fat: 12.27g | Sodium: 177.95mg | Fiber: 0.2g

How to Make Sesame Ginger Dressing – Step by Step Photos

garlic press with two cloves of garlic, and fresh ginger with a microplane

Begin by mincing two cloves of garlic and grating about 1 Tbsp of fresh ginger. I like to use my garlic press to easily mince the garlic and a small-holed cheese grater to easily grate the ginger. Ginger grates easier if it’s frozen (the little hairs don’t clog the grater). I don’t even bother peeling it, I just make sure the peel is very clean.

minced garlic and grated ginger

And that’s what it looks like once the garlic is minced and ginger grated (for everyone who is visual, like me).

Rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and tahini

Here are three of the most important ingredients in this dressing: rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and tahini. Toasted sesame oil has a much stronger nutty flavor than regular (or un-toasted) sesame oil. You can usually find it near other Asian ingredients in the international aisle. 

Dressing ingredients in the blender

Add the 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 Tbsp grated ginger, ½ cup neutral salad oil, ¼ cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 3 Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp tahini, and ½ tsp toasted sesame oil to a blender. Any neutral-flavored salad oil, like peanut, canola, grapeseed, sesame (un-toasted), or safflower will work fine.

Blended dressing on a spoon in the blender

Blend until the dressing is smooth and creamy. If your dressing ends up being really thick and you’d like it a little more pourable, simply stir in a tablespoon or two of water.

A wooden bowl filled with sesame ginger dressing next to a knob of fresh ginger

Enjoy the sesame ginger dressing poured over your favorite salad, or as a dipping sauce!

The post Sesame Ginger Dressing appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Sesame Cucumber Salad

This salad is one of the very first recipes I ever posted on Budget Bytes. Like, way back when I was still taking photos with my pre-smart-phone era phone. Yikes! Because this Sesame Cucumber Salad is still one of my favorite dishes and my favorite way to use up all those delicious and inexpensive summer […]

The post Sesame Cucumber Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This salad is one of the very first recipes I ever posted on Budget Bytes. Like, way back when I was still taking photos with my pre-smart-phone era phone. Yikes! Because this Sesame Cucumber Salad is still one of my favorite dishes and my favorite way to use up all those delicious and inexpensive summer cucumbers, I had to repost it and give it the proper attention it needs. So, if this Sesame Cucumber recipe is new to you, I hope it becomes one of your go-to fav’s as it has for me. It will serve you well!

Originally posted July 2019, updated 7-9-2020.

A bowl of Sesame Cucumber Salad from above, chopsticks on the side

Do I Have to Use Rice Vinegar?

I strongly urge you not to substitute the rice vinegar in this recipe. Rice vinegar has a uniquely mild flavor and acidity that is just perfect for this recipe. While people have substituted the rice vinegar with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, I find them both a bit too strong for this recipe. Also, be mindful not to use “seasoned” rice vinegar, which has other ingredients added and tastes quite different.

Where Do You Find Rice Vinegar?

Rice vinegar is fairly inexpensive, can be found in the Asian section of most major grocery stores, and will stay good in your pantry for just about forever. If you make Budget Bytes recipes on the regular, I promise it will get used again! In fact, here is a direct link to all the recipes on my website that use Rice Vinegar.

What is Toasted Sesame Oil?

The other key ingredient in this cucumber salad is toasted sesame oil. Unlike regular sesame oil, toasted sesame oil has a very strong nutty flavor and a little bit can really add a LOT of flavor to any dish. You can find toasted sesame oil in the international aisle of most major grocery stores, or Asian grocery stores. It may not say “toasted” on the label, but you’ll know it is toasted by the deep walnut color. Untoasted sesame oil is a light straw color, like canola oil.

How Long Does This Salad Last?

This salad does get kind of limp in the refrigerator fairly quickly, but it’s still insanely good once the cucumbers soften. They’re almost like pickled cucumber slices at that point. They’ve been marinating in the spicy-sweet vinegar solution and are just totally delicious! I enjoy this salad for about 2-3 days after making it (if I don’t eat it all sooner). If you like your cucumbers to stay crunchy, try cutting them into chunks instead of thin slices.

Side view of a bowl of sesame cucumber salad, chopsticks picking up one slice of cucumber

 
Side view of a bowl of sesame cucumber salad, chopsticks picking up one slice of cucumber

Sesame Cucumber Salad

Sesame Cucumber Salad is light, refreshing, and vibrant in flavor. It's the perfect summer side dish or companion to any Southeast Asian inspired meal.
Total Cost $2.44 recipe / $0.41 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 62.82kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

DRESSING

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar $0.70
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil $0.05
  • 1/4 crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 2 large cucumbers $1.38
  • 3 green onions $0.13
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts $0.12

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, and salt. Set the dressing aside.
  • Peel and slice the cucumber using your favorite method (see photos below for my technique). Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl.
  • Chop the peanuts into smaller pieces. Slice the green onions.
  • Add the peanuts, green onions, and dressing to the sliced cucumbers. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Give the salad a brief stir before serving to redistribute the dressing and flavors.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 62.82kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.63g | Protein: 1.87g | Fat: 3.1g | Sodium: 199.82mg | Fiber: 1.4g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Overhead view of a bowl full of sesame cucumber salad

How to Make Sesame Cucumber Salad – Step by Step Photos

Spicy vinegar dressing in a bowl

Start by making the dressing. In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp salt. Set the dressing aside.

Bottle of toasted sesame oil and a bottle of rice vinegar

Here is the toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar that I used. The sesame oil is from Aldi and the rice vinegar is from Kroger.

Two cucumbers, one half peeled

Peel and slice two large cucumbers however you like. I like to remove strips of the peel to create a cool striped effect once they’re sliced. If you don’t like cucumber seeds, you can slice the cucumber lengthwise before slicing into rounds and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds in the center.

Two cucumbers, one mostly sliced

I prefer thin slices so that there is more surface area to come into contact with the dressing. The thinner slices will become soft and wobbly after storing them in the dressing, but I kind of like that, too. If you prefer them to stay crunchy longer, you’ll want to do thicker slices. 

Sliced green onion and chopped peanuts

Roughly chop 1/4 cup peanuts and slice 3 green onions.

Dressing being poured over cucumbers, green onion, and peanuts

Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl, add the sliced green onion and chopped peanuts, then pour the dressing over top.

Finished sesame cucumber salad in the bowl

Finally, stir it all up and you’re ready to eat! Serve it immediately or refrigerate for later.

Side view of a bowl full of sesame cucumber salad, chopsticks on the side

The flavors do get really good as it sits in the fridge, although the cucumbers get softer (some people don’t like that–I kind of do!). Either way, this Thai Cucumber Salad is super refreshing and delicious. It always has been and always will be my favorite!

The post Sesame Cucumber Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Quick Soba Noodles

Need a quick noodle fix? These simple soba noodles are fast and full of flavor: perfect as an Asian style side dish or easy dinner. Need a quick noodle fix? Try these simple soba noodles! Soba are a Japanese buckwheat noodle, and they’re perfect as a component for a fast and easy dinner. Done in about 15 minutes, they’re covered in a zingy sauce of soy, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and honey and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. Throw them in a bowl and top with an egg or sauteed shrimp, and you’ve got dinner! Because they’re so fast, Alex and I have been relying on them as a crutch for quick weeknight meals. They’re also a great side dish for Asian-style meals like Teriyaki Salmon or Shrimp and Broccoli. Here’s what you need to know about soba! Types of soba noodles Soba are a traditional Japanese buckwheat noodle. They’re easy to find at your local grocery, either in the noodles section or near the Japanese ingredients. Because they’re made with buckwheat flour, most soba are naturally gluten-free. However, some brands also have wheat flour in them: so make sure to check the package if you eat gluten free. There […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Need a quick noodle fix? These simple soba noodles are fast and full of flavor: perfect as an Asian style side dish or easy dinner.

Soba noodles

Need a quick noodle fix? Try these simple soba noodles! Soba are a Japanese buckwheat noodle, and they’re perfect as a component for a fast and easy dinner. Done in about 15 minutes, they’re covered in a zingy sauce of soy, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and honey and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. Throw them in a bowl and top with an egg or sauteed shrimp, and you’ve got dinner! Because they’re so fast, Alex and I have been relying on them as a crutch for quick weeknight meals. They’re also a great side dish for Asian-style meals like Teriyaki Salmon or Shrimp and Broccoli. Here’s what you need to know about soba!

Types of soba noodles

Soba are a traditional Japanese buckwheat noodle. They’re easy to find at your local grocery, either in the noodles section or near the Japanese ingredients. Because they’re made with buckwheat flour, most soba are naturally gluten-free. However, some brands also have wheat flour in them: so make sure to check the package if you eat gluten free.

There is a lot of variation in soba noodle brands! Alex and I have tested dozens, and we find that every brand of soba is different. Some are very thin and tend to break, so we try to look for soba that are thicker and hold up better. Make sure to experiment a bit to find the brand of soba that you like best.

Soba noodles

What’s in this soba noodles recipe?

This soba noodles recipe is fast and easy to make, and most of the ingredients are pantry staples! It’s essentially a pantry meal aside from the green onion. So you can leave out the green onions if you don’t have them on hand! Here’s what’s in this soba noodles recipe:

  • Soba noodles
  • Soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • Toasted sesame oil: make sure it is toasted, not regular! Toasted sesame oil is intended for flavoring, whereas regular sesame oil is neutral in flavor
  • Rice vinegar
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Miso: optional but adds great flavor (see below)
  • Garlic
  • Green onions (optional)
  • Sesame seeds (optional; if you use them toast them!)
Soba noodles with sesame seeds

Rinse your soba to remove starch!

Here’s an important note about cooking soba noodles: rinse them after they’re done cooking! Rinsing pasta is not required for something like Italian spaghetti or penne. But for soba, rinsing is necessary to remove starch the builds up during cooking.

If you don’t rinse, here’s what happens: the soba becomes very gummy and mushy. It also absorbs the sauce and becomes dry instead of saucy. So please: rinse your soba after cooking! You’ll notice a big difference.

A secret ingredient: miso

This soba noodles recipe contains a little secret ingredient: miso! If you’ve never cooked with it, we highly recommend getting a container for your fridge (and it lasts for months). Miso is a Japanese fermented soybean paste that’s full of nutrients and savory flavor (or, umami). Umami is the so called “fifth flavor” after sour, salty, sweet, and bitter. It adds incredible flavor to any dish!

You can find miso at most major grocery stores near the other Japanese ingredients. There are many different types of miso, all with different flavors: red, yellow, and brown. Alex and I used brown miso here, which contributed to the dark color of these noodles.

Since we cook mostly plant based, Alex and I tend to use it to get a meaty or cheesy flavor in recipes. It’s great in Easy Miso Ramen, and even works to substitute Parmesan flavor in our Vegan Pesto!

Sesame soba noodles

Why to toast sesame seeds

For the best flavor, garnish these soba noodles with toasted sesame seeds! Of course, you can just use straight up sesame seeds. But toasting your sesame seeds in a pan heightens the nutty flavor considerably. It’s almost like using salt on food: it brings out the existing flavor and takes it to new heights! It only takes 3 minutes to toast sesame seeds, and you can store leftovers in a sealed container for months. Go to How to Toast Sesame Seeds.

Make it a meal!

Now for the fun part: how to make these soba noodles into a meal! You can serve them as part of an easy dinner main dish, or a side to an Asian style entree. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Top with an egg. The easiest way to make it dinner! Top with a fried egg or soft boiled egg. Dinner, solved!
  • Top with tofu. This Pan fried tofu is our favorite method for weeknights. Or try Marinaded tofu, which requires little hands on effort and can be stored in the fridge.
  • Top with shrimp. Try this quick and healthy Sauteed shrimp! To stick with Asian flavors, use plain sesame oil for cooking and substitute the lemon for a drizzle of rice vinegar and soy sauce at the end.
  • Add edamame. This quick Asian style side is so simple! Try with Easy Edamame or Spicy Edamame.
  • Serve with a stir fry! Try it with our Easy Stir Fry Vegetables!
  • Serve as a side dish to shrimp or salmon. Try it with Teriyaki Salmon or Shrimp and Broccoli.
Soba noodles recipe

This soba noodles recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Soba noodles

Quick Soba Noodles


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Need a quick noodle fix? These simple soba noodles are fast and full of flavor: perfect as an Asian style side dish or easy dinner.


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces soba noodles
  • 1/4 cup regular soy sauce (or substitute tamari or coconut aminos)
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon miso (optional; we used dark miso)
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 4 green onions
  • Sriracha, to taste (optional)
  • Toasted sesame seeds*
  • To make it a meal: Fried egg or soft boiled egg, Pan fried tofu or Marinaded tofu, or Sauteed shrimp

Instructions

  1. Cook the noodles: Cook the soba noodles according to the package instructions: it should take about 4 to 5 minutes. Important: when the noodles are done cooking, rinse them under cool running water in a strainer, tossing them to remove the starch. Then shake off excess water. If you’d like the noodles to be warm when serving, run them under warm water for a few seconds; you can also serve room temperature or cold. (If you skip this step, the noodles soak up the sauce and become too dry.)
  2. Whisk the sauce: Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey or maple syrup, miso (if using), and grated garlic.
  3. Slice the onions: Thinly slice the green onions on the bias (diagonally), using both white and dark green parts.
  4. Combine and serve: Return the rinsed and shaken dry noodles to the pan or a bowl; stir in the sauce and green onions. Place in serving bowls, top with sesame seeds and serve. 

Notes

*Toasting the sesame seeds really brings out the nutty flavor! It takes only 3 minutes and you can taste the difference. Store toasted sesame seeds for months in a sealed container in the pantry.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Japanese

Keywords: Soba noodles

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Broccoli Stir Fry

This broccoli stir fry makes this green vegetable taste irresistible! Serve it as a tasty side dish, or add a protein and you’ve got dinner. Want to make broccoli taste irresistible? Try this broccoli stir fry! This healthy green veggie is covered in a sauce that’s so flavorful, you’ll forget that it’s good for you. Really, Alex and I couldn’t stop sneaking bites out of the pan (that’s how tasty it is). The broccoli is accessorized with a few other veggies, garlic and ginger, and an incredibly savory sauce. There’s so much flavor going on, it’s one of the best ways to eat your colorful veggies. You can serve it two ways: as a side dish, or add a protein and serve with rice, and you’ve got dinner! What’s in this broccoli stir fry? This broccoli stir fry stars not only broccoli, but three more of the best vegetables you can eat. It’s whole food plant based (WFPB) and full of all the nutrients those colorful veggies bring. Here’s what you’ll find in this recipe: Broccoli (including broccolini if you can find it: see below!) Orange pepper Red onion Portobello mushrooms Garlic & ginger Stir fry sauce with mirin, rice […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This broccoli stir fry makes this green vegetable taste irresistible! Serve it as a tasty side dish, or add a protein and you’ve got dinner.

Broccoli stir fry

Want to make broccoli taste irresistible? Try this broccoli stir fry! This healthy green veggie is covered in a sauce that’s so flavorful, you’ll forget that it’s good for you. Really, Alex and I couldn’t stop sneaking bites out of the pan (that’s how tasty it is). The broccoli is accessorized with a few other veggies, garlic and ginger, and an incredibly savory sauce. There’s so much flavor going on, it’s one of the best ways to eat your colorful veggies. You can serve it two ways: as a side dish, or add a protein and serve with rice, and you’ve got dinner!

Broccoli stir fry

What’s in this broccoli stir fry?

This broccoli stir fry stars not only broccoli, but three more of the best vegetables you can eat. It’s whole food plant based (WFPB) and full of all the nutrients those colorful veggies bring. Here’s what you’ll find in this recipe:

The most time involved in the recipe is chopping all the vegetables! It will take a few minutes to complete, but don’t worry: all that chopping is worth it. Once you’re done chopping, the cooking is a breeze: you’ll stir fry the veggies for about 6 to 7 minutes, then add the garlic and ginger for 1 minute more. Then remove the heat, add the sauce, and you’re done!

Broccolini

Add broccolini if you can find it!

What’s broccolini? While it looks like baby broccoli, it’s actually not! Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. The cross combines the long stems of Chinese broccoli with the florets of broccoli, and has a milder flavor than broccoli. Fun fact: Did you know broccolini was invented in 1993? And here I was thinking it was an elegant Italian ingredient that had hundreds of years of history. Nope, it’s not even 20 years old.

Broccolini is more of a specialty ingredient, so it’s not carried in all grocery stores. It’s usually by the broccoli, so look for a very small bunch of broccoli with long stems. The bunch will feel small, and that’s ok: you’re using it for a fun texture contrast and its elegant look. What if you can’t find it? Substitute 1 more head standard broccoli into this dish.

Broccoli stir fry

Idea 1: Broccoli stir fry as a side dish

This broccoli stir fry we designed to work in two ways: as a side dish, or as a main dish when served with a protein! What meals would it work with as a side dish? Here are a few ideas:

Idea 2: Make it into a main dish

If you wanted a broccoli stir fry that makes a main dish, this recipe works too! Because it doesn’t have any filling protein in it, you’ll need to add a protein. Here are some ideas:

  • Cashews: Throw 3/4 cup cashews into this stir fry when you add the broccoli. This makes a main dish of about 2 to 3 servings. To make it stretch further, make…
  • Marinaded Tofu: This easy marinaded tofu would be perfect to serve with the stir fry! We’d place each in a bowl separately served over rice (don’t mix together). You also go more free-form and eat it with Scrambled Tofu.
  • Sauteed Shrimp: Make this recipe but omit the Old Bay and cumin. Use sesame oil instead of olive oil to saute, and lime to brighten.
  • Serve with Rice: Serve each of the variations above with rice! We like brown rice because it has more fiber and nutrients. Try our White Rice, Brown Rice (the Fast Way), or Instant Pot Rice.
Broccoli

Broccoli nutrition

Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat! It’s a cruciferous vegetable, part of a veggie family that includes cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and kale. When you eat this broccoli stir fry, you’re loading yourself with good things. Here’s what’s great about broccoli:

  • It’s a great source of fiber. 1 cup of raw broccoli has 2.3 grams of fiber, or about 5 to 10% of your daily need. (Source)
  • It’s also high in protein for a green vegetable. 1 cup also has 3 grams protein. (Source) That’s a similar level to asparagus and potatoes.
  • It’s very high in Vitamin C. 1/2 cup has 70% your daily value of Vitamin C! Wow. (Source)
Broccoli stir fry

Other broccoli recipes

Finally: do you love broccoli? Outside of this broccoli stir fry, here are some of our favorite ways to eat it:

  • Best Steamed Broccoli Steamed broccoli is an easy, healthy side dish that turns out bright green and crisp tender every time. Add red onion and feta if you’d like!
  • Simple Sauteed Broccoli Make your broccoli taste amazing in just 10 minutes! This easy sauteed broccoli highlights its fresh flavor and comes out perfectly crisp tender.
  • Broccoli Cheese Wild Rice Casserole Enjoy your broccoli casserole style, with white cheddar cheese and chewy wild rice.

This broccoli stir fry recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

Print
Broccoli stir fry

Broccoli Stir Fry (Side or Main!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 as a side, 3 to 4 as a main with added protein

Description

This broccoli stir fry makes this green vegetable taste irresistible! Serve it as a tasty side dish, or add a protein and you’ve got dinner.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds (2 large heads) broccoli
  • 1 head broccolini (or 1 additional head of broccoli)
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, grated (about a 2-inch nub)
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (regular, not toasted)
  • Kosher salt
  • For the garnish: sliced green onion, sesame seeds (optional)
  • To serve as a main dish: Add 3/4 cup cashews with broccoli*, or make Marinaded Tofu or Sauteed Shrimp (with sesame oil and lime) and serve with rice

Instructions

  1. Chop the broccoli and broccolini into large florets (about 6 cups florets total). Chop the red onion into bite sized squares. Dice the pepper into bite sized squares. Remove the stems from the portobellos (if necessary), slice them into strips, then cut the larger pieces in half. Place all of the vegetables in a large bowl.
  2. Mince the garlic. Peel the ginger and grate it. Place them together in a small bowl.
  3. Stir together the mirin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and Sriracha in a small bowl.
  4. In a large skillet over high heat, and heat the oil. Add the broccoli, broccolini (if using), red onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms and cook 6 to 7 minutes until just starting to brown on edges, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the garlic and ginger cook for 1 minute more, until broccoli is crisp tender but still bright green. Turn off the heat and add sauce; stir until combined. Taste and add additional pinches salt as necessary. Serve immediately. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion (optional).

Notes

*Adding cashews would serve about 2 to 3 as a vegetarian main; adding tofu can stretch it to 4.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stir Fry
  • Cuisine: Asian

Keywords: Broccoli Stir Fry

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes