Miso Peanut Pasta Salad

May 29, 2014


Author Notes: This is not your average macaroni salad. mrslarkin

Food52 Review: WHO: Mrslarkin is a pastry chef from Pound Ridge, NY, where she sells her baked goods at regional farmers markets.
WHAT: A picnic-worthy pasta salad that subs mayonnaise for peanut sauce.
HOW: Combine peanut butter with miso until creamy, then add some spice with vinegar and chili garlic sauce, and finish with honey and sesame oil to take the edge off the sauce. Toss with elbow pasta, scallions, watermelon radish, carrots, broccoli florets, and chopped cilantro. Serve with chopped peanuts.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The combination of peanut butter, miso, and vinegar results in a creamy sauce that will have you licking your bowl. And while many Asian-inspired peanut butter dishes are heavy, this one is light enough to serve as a side or pack for a barbecue. Bonus points: This pasta salad won't spoil before the party's over.
The Editors

Serves: 6 or more
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 15 min

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole-wheat elbow pasta, or your favorite shape
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I used natural unsweetened, which is more gritty, but use what you like)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon white miso
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, or rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce, plus more to taste (get a jar of the Huy Fong and stash it in the fridge -- it's ridiculously good)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or less, if using sweetened peanut butter)
  • 4 dashes sesame oil, plus more to taste
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 large watermelon radish, cut into 2-inch sticks
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch sticks
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, blanched or lightly steamed, chopped
  • 8 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped, legs and all, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, for garnish

Directions

  1. Cook pasta to al dente. Reserve about a cup of the pasta water for the sauce and set aside. Drain pasta. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, place peanut butter, miso, vinegar, chili garlic sauce, ginger, garlic, honey, and sesame oil. Add pasta water in 1/8-cup increments and stir until you reach a smooth, sauce-like consistency. It should be loose, but not watery, so add the water slowly. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Pour half of the sauce over the pasta and mix well. Reserving a bit of each vegetable and herb for garnishing, toss the remaining vegetables, cilantro, and sauce into the pasta, and mix well. Taste for seasoning.
  4. Garnish with reserved vegetables, cilantro, and peanuts. Serve at room temperature.

More Great Recipes:
Salad|Pasta Salad|Pasta|Asian|Peanut|Peanut Butter|Sesame Oil|Vinegar|Miso|Cilantro|Honey|Spring

Reviews (19) Questions (0)

19 Reviews

Marsha G. July 5, 2018
This was all right. It is def not your typical pasta salad because of the Asian flavor profile. It also has a mild amount of heat. It makes a ton. I had to make a couple of subs: sambal oelek for the chili garlic sauce and three European radishes for the watermelon radish. I had to salt the final product a little, just one sprinkle did the trick. Another thing that makes this pasta salad uncommon is that it tastes BETTER when it's warmed slightly, like 45 seconds in the microwave. <br /><br />Please check out my food blog at www.what-marsha-eats.tumblr.com.
 
Cheryl July 29, 2017
This was loved by all! I might have made the sauce too thin (but not watery), so will watch that in the future. I used 1 Tbsp. agave instead of honey. Used my newly-found method of putting raw garlic in dishes: grating it on microplane (I would try 2 cloves next time). Upped the ginger to about 1/3 c. minced and upped the cilantro to about 1/3 c. minced. Used about 2 c.+ broccoli florets and added in 3/4 of a large red pepper. Couldn't find watermelon radish, so I just used 3 plain old radishes. Next time I will experiment with 1 T. of the chili garlic sauce; I couldn't find the recommended brand. A little bit of salt and all was good to go!
 
eljay June 13, 2017
I made this according to the recipe and found it needed a real flavor boost-- a little too tame for me. I suggest adding more ginger, a few dashes of hot oil, the juice of a lime, additional cilantro and some sesame sticks for added crunch. Without these additions, this is only a 3 out of 5 star recipe.
 
Sabine G. April 28, 2017
holy.crap. Why am I just discovering this? Where did I go so wrong in life? Now that I've made it- I feel better about life. It's SO good.
 
Nicole June 16, 2016
This looks yummy! I'm new to using miso - would using a darker miso change the taste drastically?
 
Author Comment
mrslarkin June 16, 2016
Hi Nicole. It's not a large amount of miso, so a darker miso would probably work well.
 
Jellojmf March 13, 2016
Can I make this a day ahead or better on the same day?
 
Author Comment
mrslarkin March 16, 2016
Yes, you can make it ahead.
 
Lizzie D. August 16, 2015
This is one of those "OMG, I can't stop eating this!" recipes. It calls for three of my favorite edibles—miso, honey (for me, a vegan one made from apples), and peanut butter. The dressing nicely complements the corn pasta I used. Thank you so much for posting the recipe.
 
Author Comment
mrslarkin August 17, 2015
Yay, Lizzie! Glad you liked it.
 
Jellojmf March 13, 2016
Hi mrs. Larkin,<br />What can I use to substitute for the miso as I cant find anywhere? How far in advance can i make this also?
 
Author Comment
mrslarkin March 20, 2016
Hi jello, sorry just saw this. You can omit the miso. Or use tahini instead. Or marmite. Or a little soy sauce.
 
Molly August 10, 2015
I made this on Friday night and it was so delicious. I ended up using about 1/2 cup of the pasta water for the sauce, added 2 more cloves of garlic, and subbed powdered ginger for fresh because i didn't have any on hand. I would absolutely make it again!
 
Author Comment
mrslarkin August 10, 2015
I'm so glad you liked it, Molly! Thanks for letting me know.
 
drbabs August 5, 2015
Congratulations, Liz!
 
Author Comment
mrslarkin August 10, 2015
Thank you, Barbara!!
 
Andreakat February 21, 2015
This looks so good. Can;t wait to try it. I might put some sliced green onion in too. Yummy!!
 
luvcookbooks February 16, 2015
Oh my!! And congratulations!
 
Midge June 1, 2014
YUM.