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We're celebrating Meatless Mondays with balanced, delicious meal plans. We hope you'll join us -- whether you're vegetarian all the time or just here and there.
Today: With a bit of sesame oil and a few minutes in front of a hot frying pan, you'll have a meal that's a spicy kick-off to the week ahead.
Okay, we admit it -- it looks like we're asking a lot of you with this menu. With a grocery list that includes Sichuan pepper and Tianjin preserved vegetable, you probably think we've forgotten that it's Monday.
But this is a menu that's all about options. Can't find preserved vegetables at your local grocery store? Leave them out. Feeding this dinner to little ones who can't handle heat? Omit the dried chiles and Sichuan pepper. This meal doesn't demand the precise measurements and perfect techniques you don't have patience for on a Monday evening. It doesn't even require you to turn on an oven. With a bit of sesame oil and a few minutes at a hot frying pan, you'll have a dinner that's a spicy start to your week.
4 ounces rice noodles
4 to 6 dried chiles (optional)
3/4 pound green beans
2 bell peppers
2 baby bok choy
1 handful snow peas
2 handfuls watercress
1/2 teaspoon whole Sichuan pepper (optional)
1 knob ginger (1 1/2 tablespoons sliced)
1 bunch scallions
2 tablespoons Sichuanese ya cai or Tianjin preserved vegetable (optional)
1 handful mint leaves
1 green jalapeño
You probably already have toasted sesame oil, canola oil, coarse salt, garlic, and peanuts in your kitchen, but if not, add those to list, as well.
1. Soften your rice noodles in near-boiling water for about 10 minutes. While they soak, prep your vegetables.
2. Drain the noodles into a serving dish, and then cook all the vegetables that will be going into your Pad Thai: garlic, peppers, bok choy, and snow peas. Season, transfer to the noodle dish, and fold in your watercress.
3. Put the frying pan back over high heat and cook your green beans. Once they're done, garnish your noodles, and serve.