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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Tom Kerridge

Tom Kerridge’s budget recipes for peanut noodles and cheesy spaghetti

Tom Kerridge's curry vegetable noodles with a peanut sauce.
Tom Kerridge’s peanut vegetable noodles. Photograph: Ola O Smit/The Guardian. Food styling: Esther Clark. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins. Food assistant: Caitlin Macdonald.

Spring is full of vibrant, colourful veg, such as beetroot, carrots, rhubarb, rocket, spring onion and watercress. Today’s dishes are great for impressing vegetarian friends or family, or if you simply want a meat-free dish without feeling as if you’re missing out. If you don’t want to use tofu, swap it for crunchy veg, such as carrot, asparagus or spring cabbage, to create a contrasting texture for the noodles.

Peanut vegetable noodles (pictured top)

This is a must-try for those who say they hate tofu. It’s not the easiest protein to cook, but if you get it right, it’s a winner. Make sure you buy the firm variety, which has a lot of the water extracted, making it crisp up into a lovely, golden colour with a silky texture. Tofu is also renowned for not tasting of very much, but that’s where the peanut sauce here really comes into its own, while the curry powder takes things to another level.

Prep 10 min
Dry 15-20 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4

1 x 400g block firm tofu
3 nests egg noodles
tbsp smooth peanut butter
1 vegetable stock cube, crumbled2 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp medium curry powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
4 spring onions, white parts thickly sliced, green ends finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin strips
Soy sauce, to taste (optional)

Dice the tofu into small cubes, and put on a tray lined with kitchen paper. Put another sheet of kitchen paper on top, pat the pieces dry, and leave for 15-20 minutes.

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions – this usually involves pouring hot water straight from the kettle over the noodles in a bowl, and leaving them to stand for about 10 minutes. Reserve half a cup of the cooking water, then drain the noodles.

In a small bowl, make a paste by mixing the peanut butter, crumbled stock cube and reserved hot noodle water, then set aside.

Back to the now well-drained tofu. Mix the cornflour and curry powder in a small bowl, and season. Put the tofu in a bowl, scatter over the curry powder mixture and toss to coat evenly.

Put a tablespoon of oil in a large, nonstick pan on a medium-high heat and, when it’s hot, fry the tofu for two or three minutes, turning, until the outside of the cubes are golden and crisp all over. Transfer to a tray lined with kitchen roll to drain.

Return the pan to a medium-high heat, add another tablespoon of vegetable oil, then stir in the garlic, the spring onion whites and the carrot strips, and stir-fry for two to three minutes.

Add the peanut paste, stir well and stir-fry for two to three minutes more. Add the drained noodles, toss to coat in the sauce, then stir through the crisp tofu. Adjust the seasoning with a little soy sauce, if desired, then serve garnished with the sliced spring onion greens.

Creamy vegetable spaghetti

Tom Kerridge’s creamy vegetable spaghetti
Tom Kerridge’s creamy vegetable spaghetti. Photograph: Ola O Smit/The Guardian. Food styling: Esther Clark. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins. Food assistant: Caitlin Macdonald.

This easy, filling and affordable recipe can be ready on the table in just 15 minutes – perfect for when you have hungry mouths to feed. It’s also a great dish to double up to serve eight if you’re having friends and family over at the last minute. The addition of ribbons of veg such as carrot or courgette is a really easy way of getting your vegetable intake in and, once they’re coated in the rich, creamy, cheesy sauce, I guarantee the kids won’t even notice.

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g dried spaghetti
1 large courgette
1 large carrot
, peeled
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 garlic clove
, peeled and finely chopped
100g cream cheese
cheddar, grated

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook for 10-12 minutes, until al dente. Reserve 125ml of the cooking water, then drain the spaghetti in a colander.

Meanwhile, use a vegetable peeler to shave long strips along the length of both the courgette and the carrot, until you have a pile of ribbons for each.

Put the oil in a large, nonstick frying pan on a medium heat and, once it’s hot, add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the vegetable ribbons and cook, stirring regularly, for about three minutes, until they soften.

Pour the reserved pasta water into the pan, followed by the cream cheese and cheddar, then gently stir to combine, so the mixture warms through and the cheese melts. Add the drained spaghetti to the pan, toss to coat in the cheesy sauce, then season with freshly ground black pepper and serve.

Follow @FullTimeMeals for more filling, budget-friendly recipes from Tom Kerridge.

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