Spiralized sweet potato noodles, with crunchy stir-fried veg and spicy chilli, smothered in a creamy satay sauce, and lifted with a hit of lime juice. Fresh, creamy, zingy, and packed full of flavour – plus they’re vegan, gluten-free and grain-free!
I admit I am very late to the game with the whole spiralizer thing, but the idea of ‘courgetti’ put me off for a long time. As a side dish or salad I could get on board, but it seems a deeply inadequate substitute for pasta. When I finally relented and bought a spiralizer it was incapable of spiralizing anything other than courgettes, so my initial foray into the world of vegetable spirals was very short-lived.
My curiosity was reignited recently when I was looking into ideas for grain-free mains, and came across a recipe using sweet potato noodles. Sweet potatoes are a starchy root vegetable, so have a higher carb content than many other vegetables, but are more nutritious than cereals. So if you struggle with grains or processed food, or just want an easy way to get some more nutrients in your meals, these are a great alternative that will actually fill you up and are also super tasty. Spirals with substance.
There are a plethora of spiralizers on the market, ranging from small hand-held devices to contraptions reminiscent of a French revolution guillotine set-up. The hand-held ones are inexpensive and work well for very soft vegetables (e.g. courgettes) but rarely manage anything more challenging such as sweet potato, butternut squash or beetroot. I bought an upright one for about £20 – it’s compact and stores away easily, and while there’s a bit of a knack to angling the vegetable it does create lovely spirals. If you don’t have a spiralizer and don’t want to shell out, you could use a julienne peeler if you’re willing to put in a bit of elbow grease, but your noodles will be thinner and you’ll need to be very careful that they don’t disintegrate when cooked.
How to make sweet potato noodles
As is often the case with stir-fried dishes, it’s best to get everything chopped and prepared before you start cooking. I start by spiralizing the sweet potato – you can peel them if you like but I prefer to scrub them clean but keep the skin on. If you can get sweet potatoes that are relatively straight and narrow this will make life easier, otherwise you may need to chop them into a more cylindrical formation. Once spiralized, set aside while you chop the rest of the vegetables.
Garlic, ginger, chilli and spring onions form the base of the stir fry. Garlic and ginger are pretty essential (although you could leave one or the other out, at a push), but if you don’t have a fresh chilli, you could add some chilli flakes to the satay sauce instead. I like spring onions for this dish because of their mild flavour, and I hold the greens parts back to add right at the end for some extra texture. However you could use a small white or red onion, or a couple of shallots. For the other vegetables you can substitute as you please – I used kale, red pepper, and carrot, but cabbage, broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, or anything along those lines would also work well. Use what you have!
The sauce is really easy to whip up. You’ll need a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter (I used smooth but chunky will do). Be mindful of any added extras in your peanut butter, such as sugar and salt, as you may want to adjust the seasoning accordingly. Whisk the rest of the ingredients one by one until you have a smooth paste. You get a bit of freshness and zing from the lime juice, some saltiness from the tamari and a hint of sweetness from the agave syrup. If you aren’t gluten-free then you can always use soya sauce instead of tamari, or if you are avoiding soya you can replace this with coconut aminos. I only add a very small amount of agave (you could also use maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or soft light brown sugar), because there’s sweetness in the noodles, and a sauce that’s more on the salty, zingy side will help balance this out. Finally, whisk in the salt and a couple of tablespoons of water.
Now to the cooking! I use a non-stick frying pan for the noodles and a wok for the vegetables, combining everything at the end. If your wok has excellent non-stick qualities (which mine does not), you could always cook the noodles in this first and then the vegetables, to save on washing up. Pour a little oil over your noodles and mix with your hands so they are evenly coated, then bung in whatever non-stick cooking vessel you have, over a medium heat. Stir-fry for 4–5 minutes until they are just starting to soften and lose a little colour. They should still have some bite – if you overcook them they will just turn to mush so err on the side of caution.
For the vegetables, heat some oil in a wok and add the spring onion whites, chilli, and ginger. Stir-fry for 30 seconds then add the garlic, pepper and carrots (or whatever non-leafy vegetables you are using). Stir-fry for a couple of minutes then add the kale (or whatever leafy vegetables you are using), and continue to stir-fry until the kale has wilted. Pour in the sauce, add the noodles and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute until everything is coated and hot through, then finally add the spring onion greens.
Serve immediately, with a lime wedge and a sprinkling of salted peanuts and coriander, and marvel at the creamy, salty, spicy, zingy, sweet, crunchy and vitamin-packed bowl in front of you.
Please let me know if you give this a try! Any comments are really appreciated. You can comment below or find me on Instagram and Twitter @greedybearbakes.
Sweet Potato Noodles With Peanut, Chilli, and Lime
Spiralized sweet potato noodles, with crunchy stir-fried veg and spicy chilli, smothered in a creamy peanut and lime satay sauce
Vegan, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Soya-free option
For the stir-fry:
- 350g (about 1 large) sweet potato
- 2–3 spring onions
- 1 cm fresh ginger
- 1 red chilli (de-seeded if you prefer less heat)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 medium carrot*
- 1 red pepper*
- 100g (1½ cups) kale*
- 2 tbsp oil for frying
For the sauce:
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- Juice of ½ lime (reserve the other half for wedges to serve)
- 1 tbsp tamari (or soya sauce if not gluten-free, or coconut aminos if soya-free)
- 1 tsp agave syrup (sub maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or soft light brown sugar)
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- 2 tbsp water
For the garnish (optional):
- 30g (3 tbsp) salted peanuts
- small bunch of coriander
- tamari to serve
- 2 lime wedges
- Prepare the vegetables and sauce prior to cooking. Scrub the sweet potato(es) and spiralize them according to your spiralizers’ instructions (alternatively you could julienne them but this is a lot of work!). Finely slice 2–3 spring onions, separating the white parts from the green. Finely chop/grate the ginger and garlic and finely slice the chilli. Cut the carrot and pepper into thin strips and roughly chop the kale.
- For the sauce, add 2 tbsp peanut butter to a small bowl, whisk in the juice of ½ a lime, then whisk in 1 tbsp tamari, 1 tsp agave and ¼ tsp salt. Lastly, whisk in 2 tbsp water to thin.
- If you have a non-stick wok, cook the noodles first, then set them aside and cook the vegetables. Otherwise cook the noodles in a non-stick frying pan and the vegetables in a wok. Pour 1 tbsp oil over the noodles and mix with your hands until they are evenly coated. Heat a non-stick pan over a medium heat and add the noodles. Cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the noodles are just starting to soften and lose a little colour, then remove from the heat. They should still have some bite – be careful not to overcook as they will turn to mush.
- For the vegetables, heat a wok on a high heat and add the remaining 1 tbsp oil. Fry the whites of the spring onions, the ginger, and chilli for 30 seconds, then add the garlic, carrots and peppers. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes, then add the kale, and cook until wilted (about 3 minutes). Stir in the sauce and the noodles and cook for another minute, until everything is coated with sauce and hot through. Finally stir in the spring onion greens.
- Serve immediately, sprinkled with salted peanuts and coriander, and with a lime wedge on the side.
*These are the vegetables I used, but you can use equivalent amount of whatever vegetables you have – broccoli, purple sprouting, mushrooms, cabbage, green beans, and beansprouts would all work well.