Spicy Black Bean Noodle Bowls! Protein-packed black bean noodles are tossed with a zippy sesame peanut sauce and fresh seasonal vegetables for a delicious plant-based meal. Perfect for packed lunches or make-ahead dinners.
Is bean pasta a thing where you live? I would imagine that if it's gone mainstream in Sweden, somewhere not normally known for being head of the curve on food trends, then it must be.
Here in Stockholm it's on the shelf at the supermarket right next to the regular pasta, and comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and bean variants. Lentil fusilli! Chickpea penne! Edamame linguini! And of course, black bean spaghetti.
Does bean pasta taste like regular pasta? Well, no. Regular pasta is made from flour and bean pasta is made from beans, which is not the same. Beans do have a nice neutral taste that lends well to this kind of thing, but if you're trying to fool a picky eater - just like if you spiralize a zucchini and say it's spaghetti - you will not.
But bean noodles, and zucchini noodles for that matter, are delicious in their own right and deserve to be celebrated for what they are. Noodles made from beans, how awesome is that?! You can eat a big old bowl of bean noodles and you don't have to add anything for protein because the protein is in the noodles!
They're jam packed with dietary fiber, another thing that traditional pasta is sorely lacking. Bean noodles are naturally gluten free, which is a good thing for those who need to or want to avoid gluten. And they're fun! Live a little! Eat some bean noodles!
Black bean spaghetti lends itself particularly well to Asian flavours, and so I've made these sweet little noodle bowls with spicy sesame sauce and choose-your-own-adventure veggies. I went with lightly steamed broccoli, diced cucumber, radish matchsticks, spring onion, and cilantro.
Right, and the sauce. I'm of the opinion that having a few good sauces in your repertoire, and perhaps even in your refrigerator, makes everything better. Imagine if you had a batch of this spicy sesame sauce ready to go in your fridge. All you'd have to do is cook up some bean noodles (which takes less than 10 minutes), chop some veggies, and you'd have a very fine meal of your hands.
The sauce is made from ingredients you've probably already got on hand, like tahini and peanut butter and soy sauce, nothing fancy that requires a trip to a specialty store, and you can dial the spiciness up or down at your pleasure. It'll last about a week in your fridge if you want to do it in advance.
The bean noodles, too, can be cooked in advance, tossed in a bit of sesame oil, and kept in the fridge since this is a dish intended to be eaten cold anyways. And the veg, obvs, can also be prepped ahead of time, so you essentially end up with a noodle bowl salad bar in your fridge. How awesome are you?!
Last question: do these spicy sesame noodle bowls make for a fine packed lunch? Yes, yes they do. Those are my legit lunch boxes down below. I ate these noodle bowls for lunch four days in a row a few weeks back and each and every one was perfectly glorious.
Just layer everything into a container, tuck a little jar of sauce alongside, and you're in business. Your lunch will be the envy of your colleagues/ classmates/ office peeps. And as an added bonus you'll get to educate them about the amazingness of bean noodles, and, why yes, you can share the recipe, it comes from this awesome blog you follow... Right???
Hey Nutrition Lady, what's the deal with black beans?
Glad you asked! Black beans are a good source of folate, dietary fiber, protein, phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium and vitamin K. The protein-plus-fiber combination in black beans is one of the things that makes them special.
A one cup serving contains 15g of fiber (over half of the daily recommended intake), and 15g of protein. Much of the fiber is indigestible, which supports digestive health, particularly in the lower part of our digestive tract.
The protein-fiber combination is also key in stabilizing blood sugar levels, as both protein and fiber move through our digestive systems at a moderate pace. Black beans are also rich in soluble fiber, which is helpful for lowering blood cholesterol levels and supporting cardiovascular health.
Tips for Making Spicy Black Bean Noodle Bowls:
- These Black Bean Noodle Bowls are a great make-ahead meal!
- Cooked noodles will last for several days in your fridge - simply toss with a bit of sesame oil to avoid clumping and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.
- The sauce will also last for several days in your fridge. Perfect for meal prep!
- Don't do peanuts? No problem. You can replace the peanut butter in the sauce with almond butter or sunflower seed butter.
- Want to switch up the veggies? The world is your vegetarian oyster, my friends. Use what's in season, what you've got on hand, and what you love to eat.
- If you're packing these bowls for packed lunches or meal prepping them, leave the sauce off. Just tuck a little container of sauce alongside and drizzle on when you're ready to eat.
Other tasty bowls you might enjoy:
Black Bean Noodle Bowls with Spicy Sesame Sauce
For the sauce
- 2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoon tahini paste
- 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
- 3 ½ tablespoon liquid aminos I use Braggs or light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
- 1 medium clove garlic crushed or minced
- sambal oelek chili paste to taste
For the noodles
- 8 oz black bean spaghetti
- 1 head broccoli broken into bite-sized florets and lightly steamed
- 6 radishes chopped into matchsticks
- ½ medium long English cucumber diced
- 2 green onions finely sliced
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
To make the sauce:
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together sesame oil, tahini, peanut butter, liquid aminos, rice vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, crushed garlic. Add a bit of sambal oelek or other chili paste if using, to taste.
For the noodle bowls:
- Cook the black bean spaghetti according to the package instructions. Mine takes only about 8 minutes to cook.
- Rinse the noodles under cold water, and toss with a bit of sesame oil to avoid clumping.
- Portion the noodles into four bowls. top with broccoli florets, radish matchsticks, diced cucumber, green onion, and cilantro.
- Spoon sauce over the bowls, and toss to combine.
- Garnish with toasted sesame seeds if you like.
Sauce recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen