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Sunflower butter sauce makes this noodles and vegetables lunch shine

(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post/Food styling by Gina Nistico for The Washington Post)
Vegetables and Noodles With Sunflower Butter Sauce
Total time:10 min
Servings:1 (makes about 1 1/2 cups sauce)
Total time:10 min
Servings:1 (makes about 1 1/2 cups sauce)

For this playful lunchbox, a savory sunflower butter sauce (think peanut sauce, but nut-free) is packed in a small bottle for squeezing as much (or as little) as you like onto the noodles and vegetables packed in a separate container. An empty honey bear or small ketchup bottle works perfectly, or you can purchase a small condiment container — just make sure it has a sealable lid.

How to get kids to eat a healthy lunch? Give them some control.

Vegetables and Noodles With Sunflower Butter Sauce

Refrigerate leftover sauce for up to 3 days.

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For the sauce

  • 3/4 cup (about 7 1/3 ounces) creamy sunflower butter (not unsweetened)
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 11/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons water
  • Sriracha, as needed

For the lunchbox

  • 1 cup cooked and chilled soba noodles or whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup blanched and chilled broccoli spears
  • 1/2 cup blanched and chilled snow peas
  • 1/4 cup cooked and chilled shelled edamame

Step 1

Make the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sunflower butter, vinegar, soy sauce and ginger until combined. Taste, and if desired, whisk in the honey until combined. Whisk in the water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, until the sauce is creamy and to the desired thickness. Stir in sriracha, to taste. You should get about 1 1/2 cups of sauce; you will need 4 to 5 tablespoons for the lunchbox. Refrigerate the leftover sauce until needed.

Step 2

Make the lunchbox: Add about a quarter of the sauce to a food-safe squeeze bottle with a secure lid. In a container with a lid, arrange the noodles, broccoli, snow peas and edamame. Place the sauce and the vegetable-noodle mixture in a cooler-style lunchbox with an ice pack. Right before eating, squeeze the sauce over the noodles and vegetables.

Nutrition Information

Per serving (1 lunchbox, using soba noodles and 4 tablespoons sauce)

Calories: 516; Total Fat: 29 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 527 mg; Carbohydrates: 50 g; Dietary Fiber: 7 g; Sugar: 12 g; Protein: 22 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From cookbook author and registered dietitian nutritionist Ellie Krieger.

Tested by Olga Massov; email questions to

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