This Thai Peanut Noodle Salad? Dang it’s good. It’s easy to get in a rut of eating rice and roasted veggies for every meal when you eat mostly vegetables. But this knocked me right out of that rut.
Let’s digress for a moment. I haven’t shared much of my food journey with you guys yet, and plan to do a separate post about that soon. But, part of that story involves an eating disorder that ruled my life for years. During that time I would fantasize about eating peanut butter and not feeling horrible about about it afterwards. That fantasy has come true. I eat peanut butter every single day. Sometimes twice in a day. And I even put it on my noodles. Dream come true.
I’m not making light of this difficult period in my life, but truly rejoicing in the freedom that a plant-based diet has blessed me with. I was reflecting this morning about the fact that I haven’t looked at a nutrition label in years. I haven’t even given calories a thought since I started eating a mostly whole foods plant-based diet. Why? First, because whole foods (fruits and vegetables) generally don’t have nutrition labels. Second, because eating whole foods is so good for your body you can generally eat as much unprocessed food as you want without gaining weight. This includes peanut butter.
Speaking of peanut butter, let’s get back to this Thai peanut noodle salad.
How to make Thai Peanut Noodle Salad
Thai peanut noodle salad is not a new idea. There are variations of this floating all over the web, and for very good reasons. This salad is a perfect addition to your weeknight meal rotation since it is quick to make, full of nutrition and packed with flavor. This salad can be eaten cold or hot and easily doubles if you want to make extra for lunch tomorrow. Which you should.
You can make this using just one pot and one bowl. Start by boiling your noodles. While the noodles are cooking, whisk all the ingredients together for the dressing in a medium bowl. Drain your noodles. If you’re going to eat this cold, rinse the noodles with cold water and add them to the bowl with the peanut sauce. If you’re going to eat it warm, put the noodles back in the pot you boiled them in and dump the peanut sauce on top. In either case, stir the noodles and the sauce to thoroughly combine. Add the vegetables and stir gently to combine. Top with chopped peanuts and cilantro, if desired. Done! Seriously that simple.
Variations and dietary restrictions
The vegetables I give in the recipe are merely suggestions. You can use any vegetables you have in your fridge that need to be used up. Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower would all be welcome additions to this salad. Serve this on a bed of greens to add even more veggies to your meal.
You can easily make this salad nut-free by subbing tahini for the peanut butter and sesame seeds for the peanuts. If you have a nut and sesame allergy, sunflower butter and sunflower seeds are a good substitution.
For a grain free option swap the noodles for zucchini noodles.
And now you have a Thai salad that everyone can eat! Hooray!
Thai Peanut Noodle Salad
- 8 ounces rice noodles or gluten-free linguine
- 1/2 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 cup carrots about 2 medium, shredded
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup peanuts chopped
- Cilantro chopped for garnish, optional
For the peanut dressing:
- 6 tablespoons peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons sriracha or to taste
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon ginger finely minced (or ⅛ tsp ground ginger)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 4 tablespoons hot water or more to adjust consistency
- Cook noodles according to package directions. If you’re going to eat this cold, rinse the noodles with cold water. If you’re going to eat it warm, put the noodles back in the pot you boiled them in.
- While the noodles are cooking, combine all ingredients for the peanut dressing in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add more water as necessary to create a smooth, pourable sauce
- Add the peanut dressing to the noodles and stir to thoroughly coat the noodles. Add the bell pepper, carrots, onions and peanuts and stir gently to combine. Sprinkle with cilantro if desired.
- Serve hot or cold. If serving cold, refrigerate for at least one hour to chill and up to 2 days. If the noodles seem a little dry when you’re ready to eat, toss them with a little water. Enjoy!