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Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles

Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles is one of the dishes I could eat every day and never get tired of it. It is a quick, easy, delicious vegetarian meal with tons of spicy Thai flavor. Keep a jar of this spicy peanut sauce in the fridge and put it on ev-er-y-thing!

low angle shot of a bowl of peanut sauce noodles with tofu and vegetables.

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This Thai Peanut Noodles recipe is vegetarian (can easily be made vegan, too). It is full of flavor, and it’s totally satisfying.

Tender, chewy rice noodles with stir-fried vegetables and tofu get a hearty drizzle of spicy peanut sauce for a quick and healthy vegetarian meal.

To make it, you’ll marinate tofu in a flavorful marinade, stir-fry a bunch of fresh vegetables and tofu, and then toss them with cooked noodles and a luscious peanut sauce. To make the homemade peanut sauce, simply stir together peanut butter, sweetener, chile paste or sriracha, sesame oil, soy sauce, and lime juice or lemon juice.

The delicious peanut sauce is the perfect foil for the chewy noodles. It can also be thinned out to use as a peanut dressing for salads or as a sauce for grilled meat, fish, or spring rolls.

ingredients needed to make peanut sauce noodles

What ingredients do you need to make peanut sauce noodles?

The ingredients for these Peanut Sauce Noodles and spicy peanut butter sauce are widely available in most supermarkets.

  • Tofu
  • Lemon juice or lime juice
  • Soy sauce (you can use regular soy sauce or low sodium soy sauce, fish sauce if not vegetarian, or coconut aminos)
  • Honey (use agave syrup, maple syrup, or vegan brown sugar if vegan)
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Sriracha, chili sauce, chili-garlic sauce, or chile paste
  • Rice stick noodles
  • Cooking oil
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Onion
  • Sesame oil
  • Bell pepper
  • Mushrooms
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lime wedges
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Green onions

What kind of rice noodles?

I make this peanut noodle recipe with the type of flat rice noodles that are about 1/8-inch thick. They’re usually called rice stick noodles. These are the type normally used to make Pad Thai. You can buy these in many supermarkets, Asian markets, or you can buy pad thai noodles online.

How do you make it?

This peanut sauce noodles recipe is really easy and quick to make. Pressing the excess water out of the tofu and marinating the tofu are easy, mostly hands-free steps, but they take up the most time. You can skip these steps if you are really in a rush. Better yet, do these steps ahead of time.

  1. Press the tofu to remove excess water. You can do this by laying slicing the block of tofu into slabs, arranging the slabs in a single layer on folded clean dish towel, and then topping with another clean dishtowel, a sheet pan, and something heavy on top to weigh it down. Or you can use a tofu press. You can also use my trick for freezing tofu, which is an easy way to remove excess water.
  2. Marinate the tofu for at least 15 minutes or as long as overnight.
  3. While the tofu is marinating, make the peanut sauce.
  4. Soak the noodles in hot water to soften them. Cook pasta if needed.
  5. Stir fry the tofu in a skillet until it is golden brown.
  6. Stir fry the vegetables until they are tender, then add the noodles and cook until they are heated through.
  7. Add the peanut sauce and toss to coat everything well.
  8. Serve immediately, garnished with chile flakes, sliced scallions, and a sqeeze of lime juice.
low angle shot of the peanut sauce noodles with a hand lifting noodles with chopsticks.

 

Tips for success

  • You can freeze and then thaw your tofu before marinating it. This will remove excess water so you can skip the pressing step. Check out this post on how to freeze tofu for instructions. Freezing changes the texture of tofu, making it even more absorbent so it will hold all the flavor of the marinade and sauce.
  • You can use a tofu press to remove the excess water from your tofu more quickly. I like this tofu press.
  • You can marinate the tofu for as long as 3 days. The longer you marinate it, the more flavor it will absorb.
  • If you like your peanut sauce more or less sweet, you can add more or less sweetener.
  • You can substitute brown sugar (make sure to use a vegan brand if you are vegan) or honey (if not vegan) for the agave syrup.

Peanut Sauce Noodles Frequently Asked Questions

Can it be made ahead?

You can make the peanut sauce and the noodles, tofu, and vegetables ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. It is best to store the noodles, tofu, and vegetables in one container and the peanut sauce in a separate container. Let the sauce come to room temperature before serving. Heat the noodles, tofu, and vegetables in the microwave or in a skillet on the stovetop and then toss them with the sauce just before serving.

How to store and reheat leftovers?

While it is best eaten hot out of the skillet, if you end up with leftovers, you can store them for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Reheat the dish in a skillet with a bit of oil or in the microwave.

Can you freeze it?

Yes. Freeze the dish in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

What other vegetables can I use?

This dish is super versatile. You can use just about any vegetables you happen to have in the refrigerator. Try adding broccoli, red bell peppers, yellow bell pepper, orange bell pepper, green bell pepper, shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, zucchini, snow peas, snap peas, green beans, or asparagus.

What other noodles can I use?

If you don’t have rice noodles like the kind used in pad thai, you can substitute other noodles. Use sturdy noodles that can stand up to the thick sauce and chunky vegetable-and-tofu mix. Soba noodles, chow fun, chow mein, ramen noodles, regular spaghetti, linguini, fettucine, or tagliatelle are all great choices. I would stay away from very thin to delicate noodles like rice vermicelli or angel hair pasta since the peanut butter sauce will be too heavy for them.
Whatever noodles you choose, cook them according to the package directions before adding them to the skillet with the veggies and tofu.

What can I use instead of sriracha?

You can use whatever chili sauce you like. I have made this spicy peanut sauce with plain chile paste like sambal oelek, chili garlic sauce, chile crisp, or chili oil. If you prefer a mild sauce, you can just leave the sriracha out altogether.

What vegan proteins can I add besides tofu?

Other great vegan protein choices include edamame, chickpeas, tempeh, or seitan.

Can I add meat if I’m not vegan?

Sure thing! You can saute sliced or diced pork, turkey, or beef or peeled and deveined shrimp in the skillet before cooking the vegetables. Remove the meat from the skillet and set aside before cooking the vegetables. Add the meat back to the skillet just before you add the sauce. You can also add sliced, hard-boiled eggs to the dish when you serve it.

Can I leave out the soy sauce?

Yes, you can replace the soy sauce with powdered vegetable stock or bouillon for added umami.

low angle shot of the dish with a hand lifting noodles with chopsticks.

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Yield: Serves 4

Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles

Overhead shot of a bowl of rice noodles with peanut sauce, tofu, and vegetables.

Tender, chewy rice noodles with stir-fried vegetables and tofu get a hearty drizzle of spicy peanut sauce for a quick and healthy vegetarian meal.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

For the tofu

  • 7 ounces firm tofu, pressed to remove excess water (see note) and cut in cubes
  • Juice of ½ lemon or lime
  • ½ cup soy sauce

For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce (see note for substitutions)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ cup warm water

For the noodles and veggies

  • 10 ounces flat rice noodles (ideally the kind used for Pad Thai. See note for substitutions)
  • 3 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 large bell pepper (any color), seeded and sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For garnish

  • Lime wedges
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 green onions or scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup crushed peanuts

Instructions

  1. Press the tofu. To get the excess water out of the tofu, you can use a tofu press or
  2. Marinate the tofu. In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce and lemon or lime juice. Toss gently to coat. Let marinate for about 15 minutes.
  3. Make the peanut sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, lemon or lime juice, peanut butter, sriracha, and water.
  4. Soak the rice noodles.  Put the noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand for about 5 minutes, until the noodles soften. Drain the noodles.
  5. Brown the tofu. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet or wok set over medium heat. Add the tofu, discarding the marinade, and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set transfer to a plate.
  6. Stir fry the vegetables. Heat the remaining oil in the wok over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms soften, about 3 more minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, onion, and bell pepper and cook for about 3 more minutes.
  7. Add the noodles and sauce. Add the drained noodles and then the peanut sauce. Stir to combine well and ensure that the noodles are well coated. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  8. Serve immediately, garnished with red pepper flakes, scallions, crushed peanuts, and lime wedges.  

Notes

1. To remove excess water from the tofu, you can slice the block of tofu into slabs, arrange the slabs in a single layer on folded clean dish towel, and then top with another clean dishtowel, a sheet pan, and something heavy on top to weigh it down. Or you can use a tofu press. You can also use my trick for freezing tofu, which is an easy way to remove excess water.

2. If you don't have sriracha, you can substitute whatever chili sauce you like such as a plain chile paste like sambal oelek, chili garlic sauce, chile crisp, or chili oil. If you prefer a mild sauce, you can just leave the sriracha out altogether.

3. If you don't want to use soy sauce, you can substitute coconut aminos or fish sauce (if not vegetarian).

4. If you want the dish to be vegan, substitute agave syrup, maple syrup, or vegan brown sugar for the honey.

5. If you don’t have rice noodles like the kind used in pad thai, you can substitute other noodles. Use sturdy noodles that can stand up to the thick sauce and chunky vegetable-and-tofu mix. Soba noodles, chow fun, chow mein, ramen noodles, regular spaghetti, linguini, fettucine, or tagliatelle are all great choices. I would stay away from very thin to delicate noodles like rice vermicelli or angel hair pasta since the peanut butter sauce will be too heavy for them.Whatever noodles you choose, cook them according to the package directions before adding them to the skillet with the veggies and tofu.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 677Total Fat 40gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 30gCholesterol 0mgSodium 3109mgCarbohydrates 65gFiber 10gSugar 25gProtein 25g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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By on August 20th, 2021

About Robin Donovan


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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1 thought on “Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles”

  1. Pretty much followed exactly as shown in recipe. Was very delicious. Husband is a ‘meat’ eater, but said didn’t miss it in this recipe. Will definitely make it again. Thank you

    Reply

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