I love peanut sauce and I firmly believe that anything slathered in peanut sauce automatically goes from good to great.
Including simple rice noodles and whatever vegetables are lingering in the crisper drawer.
Now that school has started and dinners need to happen quickly and easily, I’m all about five minute dinners.
Yes, this is a five minute meal. It’s also vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free if you’re keeping track.
Step one is to make the peanut sauce.
I’ve never understood why people find peanut sauce to be such an elusive condiment and am always taken aback when I see people obsess over how to make it because it’s one of the easiest and fastest sauce to make and it’s extremely customizable.
The four must-have ingredients I include are: peanut butter, sesame oil, agave (or honey) and a splash of something acidic like apple cider vinegar or the juice from half of an orange or lemon. I believe that telltale and unmistakeable peanut sauce taste comes from sesame oil and cannot be skipped.
After that, whether you add a ground ginger, a pinch of cayenne or chili flakes, salt and pepper, a dash of soy sauce, or anything else that strikes your fancy, is up to you.
For this sauce, I combined peanut butter, sesame oil, agave, apple cider vinegar, a pinch of ground ginger, and a couple twists of black pepper in a small bowl and stirred.
Step two is to cook the thin rice noodles, found in most major grocery stores in the Asian or Ethnic Foods aisles. Place the noodles in a microwave-safe bowl with one-quarter cup of water, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the noodles steam for about two minutes on high power.
To the cooked noodles, add any vegetables you enjoy or need to be used. I had carrots, red peppers, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and a couple handfuls of peanuts on hand, and that’s what I used.
You could steam the veggies before adding them to the mix, but I like the texture of them raw. Plus, the residual heat from the warm noodles has a little bit of carryover-cooking effect on the vegetables, softening them just a smidge; and the peanut sauce also softens and tenderizes them a touch. I always prefer raw or al dente to limp and prefer not cooking the vegetables.
Feel free to add additional protein such as tofu, tempeh, chicken, shrimp, pork, or beef.
Then just add the peanut sauce, toss, and serve.
This felt like a Thai restaurant meal without the pricetag, hassle, or added sodium, which I loathe.
Soft warm noodles contrasted with crunchy peanuts and crunchy fresh vegetables, all drenched in a savory-yet-sweet-and-tangy peanut sauce, made for lots of noodle-slurping up and members of the Clean Plate Club.
Scott and Skylar requested this every night for the rest of the month. You won’t hear me complaining if this is all l I had to do for dinner for the rest of the month since it’s so easy and fast.
I’ve since made more batches with other combinations of vegetables, and have served the leftovers as a cold salad straight from the refrigerator, up to three days later. The veggies are a little softer by day 3 but they hang on remarkably well.
Peanut sauce on noodles is like frosting on cake. Sometimes I make cake just so that I’m not just eating frosting by the spoonful.
Same idea with these noodles. I like to have a little food with my vat of peanut sauce every now and then.
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Peanut Noodles with Mixed Vegetables
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups thin rice noodles
- 1/2 cup carrots, roughly sliced
- 1/2 cup red bell peppers, roughly sliced
- 1/2 cup broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup peanuts
- 1/2 cup+ other vegetables, optional (baby corn, corn, water chestnuts, peas, sugar snap peas, peapods, scallions, green beans, asparagus)
- 1 cup diced protein, optional (tofu, tempeh, chicken, shrimp, pork, beef)
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter or homemade peanut butter
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, (apple cider or rice wine preferred, regular vinegar, orange juice, or lemon juice may be substituted)
- dash soy sauce, optional and to taste (I do not use it)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- salt and pepper, optional and to taste
- pinch cayenne pepper or chili powder, optional and to taste
- Peanut Noodles with Mixed Vegetables – Place rice noodles in a large microwave-safe bowl, add about 1/4 cup water, and cook on high powder until tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until soft; or cook according to package directions.
- Add the carrots, red peppers, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, peanuts, optional vegetables and protein; set bowl aside.
- Peanut Sauce – In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the peanut sauce and stir or whisk until smooth. Taste sauce and make flavor adjustments if desired.
- Pour sauce over noodles and vegetables and toss to coat evenly. Serve immediately; or cover the bowl, refrigerate, and serve chilled. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and serve chilled or reheat gently in the microwave before serving.
Fresh Vegan Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce (raw, vegan, GF) – The rolls are so easy to make at home and cost pennies to make rather than $7 bucks for a pair at the grocery store or a restaurant
Spiralized Zucchini Pasta with Peanut Sauce (raw, vegan, GF) – Similar concept but uses spiralized zucchini for the noodles rather than rice noodles. Zucchini noodles are surprisingly filling; much more so than rice noodles
Pan Seared Caribbean Citrus Mahi Mahi with Brown Rice Noodles – Scott loved this meal and the noodles
Caramelized Cinnamon Sugar Roasted Chickpea “Peanuts” (vegan, GF) – This is how to make ‘peanuts’ without using peanuts; or how to turn chickpeas into candy. A can of chickpeas disappears faster than ever before as you eat half the tray standing in front of the oven, just don’t burn your mouth
Homemade Peanut Butter – Peanut sauce made with homemade peanut butter is a special delicacy
Raw Pasta Salad with Creamy Lemon & Herb Dressing (raw, vegan, GF) – Using spiralized zucchini as the noodles and the dressing is bright, creamy, and really makes this salad pop
Peanut Sauce Baked Tofu (vegan, GF) – Peanut sauce makes a wonderful marinade for tofu, tempeh, or just about anything
Do you like peanut sauce?
If you have any favorite recipes for it or recipes incorporating it, link them up since I can’t get enough of the stuff.