Skip the takeout tonight and try making my quick, easy, vegan, and gluten-free Peanut Sauce Noodles instead! Ready in just 15 minutes, these saucy spicy noodles are perfect for loading up with lots of veggies for a satisfyingly healthy meal. As a bonus, you can prepare this meal ahead of time!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
My Peanut Sauce Noodles are a veggie-loaded delight that is perfect for eating for lunch or dinner. This flavorful recipe is also:
- Gluten-free and vegan, making it the perfect dish to serve to any crowd.
- Easy to customize any way you like! Swap in or add more veggies, add crunch with nuts and seeds, or pump up the protein with tofu or tempeh. Read on below for even more variations on these tasty peanut noodles.
- Super fast & easy. The whole recipe comes together in just 15 minutes!
- This sauce is boss. A drizzle of this delicious peanut sauce adds a ton of flavor to salads or bowls. It is also great for dipping grilled veggie kebabs or spring rolls. Add some to any meal you like - it's sure to make your daily vegetable intake fun and delicious!
Ingredients & Substitutions
All it takes are a handful of ingredients and seasonings to make this quick and zippy vegan peanut noodle recipe. Here's everything you'll need:
- Peanut butter - Use smooth, natural peanut butter (without any added sugar) to get the best results. The peanut butter at the top of a new jar is generally the smoothest and easiest to work with. You’re welcome to replace peanut butter with another nut or seed butter, but note that this will affect the overall flavor. I recommend cashew butter and tahini as substitutes.
- Tamari - There's nothing like fermented soy for a little umami flavor and saltiness. Swap it with soy sauce if you don’t need the recipe to be gluten-free; I like to use the low-sodium kind. If you are soy free, try using coconut aminos instead.
- Sriracha - A touch of heat in the sauce balances the flavors without being overwhelming. If you love heat like we do, feel free to add a little more sriracha or some sambal oelek to make spicy peanut butter noodles.
- Maple syrup - This is my favorite liquid sweetener, but it can be replaced with agave nectar, cane or coconut sugar.
- Citrus - The acidity from lime juice, rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar is needed to round out the rest of the ingredients. To get the most juice from your limes (fresh is always best), give them a firm roll on the countertop for about 10-15 seconds before juicing.
- Garlic and ginger - Use fresh if you have it - you'll get more flavor out of it if you do. For a quick shortcut, try using the refrigerated tubes of ginger paste, or frozen cubes of minced garlic and ginger. Granulated garlic powder and ginger powder will work in a pinch.
- Onion powder - This adds a bit of savoriness to the sauce, all without having to mince onions. Fewer tears = happier me!
- Hot water - The sauce starts out quite thick, but the addition of hot water helps to smooth it all out. Make sure it is quite hot for best results.
How To Make Spicy Peanut Sauce Noodles
This cold peanut noodle salad is a low-maintenance dish you can whip together in just a few minutes. Simply cook the noodles, make the peanut sauce, and throw it all together in a bowl! Here’s how it’s done, step by step:
Step 1 - Cook the noodles: Follow the directions on the package to cook your noodles to a perfect al dente. Afterward, rinse them under cold water.
Step 2 - Make the peanut sauce: Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a bowl until creamy and uniform.
Step 3 - Assemble the noodle bowl: Add the noodles, veggies, and peanut sauce together in a large bowl and mix until the sauce is incorporated.
Step 4 - Add Toppings & Serve: Dish the peanut noodles into individual bowls, garnish with plenty of the yummy toppings of your choice, and enjoy! You can also get a jump on meal prep by packing it away for your weekday lunches.
Optional Variations and Toppings
Here at VNutrition, I encourage everyone to customize all their meals as much as they like! While I love this healthy peanut noodle bowl as written, there are tons of ways to switch things up.
Here are some ideas to get you started - feel free to add as many or as few of these topping ideas as you please:
- Julienned Vegetables: Carrots, broccoli, cabbage, red peppers, vegetable slaw, pre-chopped bagged veggies (I like to get these at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s), cucumber, frozen mixed vegetables, or corn.
- Protein: Tofu Crumbles, Grilled Tofu Steaks, marinated tofu, tempeh crumbles, soy curls, Chili Garlic Tofu, edamame, or Teriyaki Tempeh.
- Nuts: Roasted peanuts, cashews or any other nuts you have at home add satisfying crunch and heart healthy fats. For nut-free, use pumpkin, sunflower, or sesame seeds.
- Garnishes: Green onions, cilantro, and lime wedges.
You can also feel free to make the peanut butter noodle sauce a bit spicier by adding more sriracha, sambal oelek, or red pepper flakes.
With a recipe as simple as these peanut noodles, I have a feeling you're going to be just fine. That said, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve:
- Use an immersion blender on your natural nut butter. One of the primary impediments my clients have to eating natural peanut butter is the pesky oil separation that occurs. To cut down on your arm work, blend the nut butter with your immersion blender until uniform and store the jar in the fridge - the fat will remain more emulsified at cooler temps.
- Gluten-free noodles are best prepared right before serving, as they can become a little hard the longer they sit. If you do end up with leftover gf noodles, just heat them up to soften them - they'll be super tasty.
- Salt your pasta water. You only get one shot at seasoning the pasta, so take advantage while you can.
- Mandolines are your friends. If you are a big fan of a variety of veggies on your noodle bowls, I highly suggest investing in a mandoline. It will make turning all those carrots, cukes, and cabbage into matchsticks a breeze.
- Don't overlook the slaw section at the grocery store. If you're looking for a super quick way to get a lot of veggies on your peanut noodles, look in the refrigerated part of the produce section. Bagged slaws are a huge time saver!
Frequently Asked Questions
To make this recipe ahead of time, keep the prepared peanut sauce in a sealed jar and the chopped veggies, tofu, or tempeh in airtight containers in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, simply cook the noodles of your choice and mix everything together in a bowl.
You can also prepare this for weekly lunches. Make the noodle bowls as normal, place individual servings in airtight containers, and store them in the fridge for 3 or 4 days. It’s an easy lunch on the go!
If you're using gluten-free noodles, they will probably taste best when heated since gluten-free noodles can get a bit hard after refrigeration.
You have the freedom to use any type of noodle you love or already have at home in this recipe.
If you want to keep it gluten-free, I recommend using chickpea spaghetti, protein spaghetti, buckwheat noodles, soba noodles, glass noodles, brown rice pasta, or rice noodles.
Otherwise, you can use any type you have at home. Make these cold peanut noodles from long pasta (like spaghetti, fettucini or vermicelli), vegetable spiralized "noodles" (from zucchini, butternut squash, or spaghetti squash), or even ramen noodles.
Rice noodles are usually made from just rice flour and water, making them egg-free, vegan, and gluten-free! Always be sure to check the package just in case.
The smooth kind of peanut butter is best to use in these cold peanut noodles. It creates the creamy texture needed to coat the pasta.
If you only have chunky peanut butter, this recipe will still work, but your sauce will be chunkier rather than smooth.
I also always use peanut butter that’s natural without any added ingredients like salt, sugar, or perhaps worst of all, hydrogenated oils.
Assembled bowls will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week, though the storage time of the vegetables will vary. For example, tender greens like fresh cilantro will wilt more easily than hearty cabbage or carrots.
If you are making these noodle bowls as part of your meal prep for the week, I recommend tossing the noodles and only the most hearty veggies or protein with the sauce before divvying them up into grab-and-go containers. Sprinkle with cilantro, green onions, or other tender veggies before serving.
The peanut sauce itself will last up to 1 week in the fridge. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month.
If you make this recipe and LOVE IT, please give it 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐!
Vegan Peanut Noodles
- 8 oz spaghetti or other long noodles of choice (see notes)
- ½ cup carrots shredded
- ½ cup cabbage shredded
- 1 red pepper sliced thinly
- ½ cup smooth peanut butter + 1 TB
- 2 tablespoon low sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sriracha or samal oelek
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon lime juice or rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic grated or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated or ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅓ cup hot water + more if needed
- 3 green onions/scallions sliced
- protein of choice such as peanuts, tofu or tempeh (see post for more options)
- lime wedges (optional)
- Cook noodles according to package directions then rinse with cold water.
- While noodles are cooking, mix sauce ingredients together.
- Add noodles, veggies, and peanut sauce together in a large bowl and mix until sauce is incorporated.
- Transfer to serving bowls and top with desired toppings such as your protein of choice, green onions and lime wedges.
PLEASE NOTE: Nutritional information data is computer generated and only an estimate so it should be used only as a guide.
Mary Ellen Valverde MS, CNS, LDN is a Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist who empowers vegans to feel confident in creating sustainable habits that align with their values and health goals. She shares easy gluten-free plant-powered food to nourish your body + satisfy your tastebuds. Mary Ellen's recipes and nutrition info have been featured on Yahoo News, Parade, VegNews, LIVESTRONG, Dr. Axe, Greatist, LIVEKINDLY, Brit+Co, Well+Good, and more.