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We love beef lo mein just as much as the next person, but you don’t need to lean on meat to make a game-changing bowl. The hot chili noodles with kale chips from Kat Ashmore’s new cookbook, Big Bites: Wholesome, Comforting Recipes That Are Big on Flavor, Nourishment and Fun, are delicious proof.
“In this 20-minute recipe, rice noodles are tossed with a sizzling chili oil that coats each strand with slippery, savory perfection, then topped with crispy kale chips that wilt slightly under the weight of the pasta,” writes Ashmore. “There is an incredible Asian market about half an hour away from me that I like to visit every other month to stock up on my favorite Asian ingredients, like sambal oelek chile paste, rice wine vinegar, noodles and, of course, soy sauce. But you can find these ingredients at most grocery stores now.”
Once your pantry is stocked, get to work on the kale chips. Feel free to prepare a double (or triple) batch ahead, so you have leftovers for snacking after dinner. As for the rice noodles, they’re naturally gluten free. If you want the whole dish to follow suit, substitute tamari for soy sauce.
Excerpted from BIG BITES: Wholesome, Comforting Recipes That Are Big on Flavor, Nourishment, and Fun by Kat Ashmore. Copyright © 2024 by Kat Ashmore. Photo copyright © 2024 by Christine Han photography. Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
6 cups packed curly kale
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
14 ounces dried rice noodles
3 garlic cloves, grated
2 tablespoons sambal oelek (or any garlic chili sauce)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons neutral oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced, for serving
1. Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
2. Remove the kale ribs and discard. Rinse and pat the kale leaves dry and tear them into 2-inch pieces. In a large bowl, toss the kale, ½ teaspoon of salt and olive oil to coat. Divide the mixture evenly between two rimmed baking sheets and roast, tossing the kale with a spatula and rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the kale is crisp and browned, 12 to 14 minutes.
3. While the kale chips are cooking, boil the noodles in a large pot of heavily salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse them immediately under cold running water. Shake off any residual water and set the noodles aside.
4. To make the sauce, whisk together the garlic, sambal oelek, sesame oil, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar in a bowl large enough to fit the noodles and kale.
5. Heat the neutral oil in a small pan until tiny bubbles appear, then immediately pour it over the sauce in the large bowl and whisk them together quickly.
6. Add the noodles and the kale to the bowl and mix well. Serve them in bowls topped with the sliced scallions.