Spicy Peanut Noodles
Spicy peanut noodles are an easy meatless and almost no-cook dinner, perfect for summer! These noodles are hearty and full of flavor and crunch in a savory and spicy peanut sauce.
When it’s so hot in the middle of summer, I love an easy dinner than I can whip up in under 20 minutes. These spicy noodles are so quick to throw together! They’re a great light, vegetarian/vegan dinner and are so refreshing when served cold.
I love how easy it is to customize this recipe based on whatever you have on hand! You’re going to love this fresh and easy take on takeout peanut noodles.
Cold Spicy Peanut Noodles: A 20-Minute Dinner
I’m sure you have those nights in the summer where it’s just too hot to cook (Hello, Texas!). That’s when I turn to these 20-minute cold spicy peanut noodles! They’re an absolute dinner life saver. They’re filling and hearty while still feeling light and refreshing.
One of the best parts about this recipe is that several components can be made in advance. You can make your spicy peanut sauce and keep it chilled for up to 5 days. You can also cook your wheat noodles and rinse them in cold water ahead of time, as well as chop all your veggies.
This is a recipe I turn to over and over again for an easy meatless weeknight dinner. You can add whatever veggies you have on hand, or add your favorite proteins for an even more filling meal.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Light and refreshing – I love serving spicy peanut noodles slightly chilled for a cool and refreshing dinner that won’t leave you feeling weighed down! The cool crunchy veggies and fresh herbs give this recipe lots of flavor without feeling heavy.
Customizable – This recipe is so easy to adapt! You can swap in different noodles, different veggies, and even add a protein for an even heartier dinner.
Hearty – While this recipe feels light, you’ll still feel sated! All the complex flavors make for a delicious and satisfying dinner. I always use hearty veggies here like edamame, cabbage, and carrots for crunch and because they’re filling veggies.
Quick – Did I mention that this recipe only takes 20 minutes? All you have to do is whip up your peanut sauce, cook your noodles, and chop some veggies and dinner is on the table! Spicy peanut noodles are perfect for those busy weeknights when you just don’t have the bandwidth for a complicated dinner.
How to Make Spicy Peanut Noodles
This recipe is so easy to whip up! It’s going to be a game changer for busy weeknights.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Peanut butter. Crunchy or smooth is fine here, use whatever you have!
- Red curry paste. Red curry paste gives this peanut sauce a hefty kick. Find Thai red curry paste in most well-stocked grocery stores, Asian markets, or on amazon here. NOTE: A lot of curry pastes contain shrimp paste, so be sure to check labels if you want to keep this strictly vegetarian or vegan.
- Coconut milk. I was inspired by the peanut sauce served with chicken satay for this recipe! The coconut milk adds richness and tons of flavor. Use canned coconut milk which can be found in the Asian aisle at most grocery stores.
- Sambal. Sambal is a chili garlic paste found in the Asian aisle at most grocery stores. You can swap in sriracha if that’s easier.
- Ginger. A little ginger grated into the sauce gives it a fresh and citrusy flavor. You could substitute some ground ginger if that’s what you have.
- Noodles. Fresh wheat noodles are best here! Reference the images below to see the brand I used. You’ll find them in the refrigerated section of any Asian market. You could swap in rice noodles or even spaghetti if necessary.
- Veggies. Use your favorites here! I used carrots, cabbage, edamame, and cucumber.
- Herbs. Chopped cilantro and green onion are a must here.
- Toppings. I top my spicy peanut noodles with chili oil, sesame seeds, and chopped peanuts. Serve with lots of limes on the side.
- Step one: Mix the ingredients for the peanut sauce together in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
- Step two: Cook your noodles according to package instructions, drain, and rinse with cold water. Toss with a bit of sesame oil to keep them from sticking.
- Step three: Chop all your veggies! You want everything in bite-sized pieces.
- Step four: Assemble your spicy peanut noodles! Divide the noodles into bowls and mix with your veggies. Drizzle peanut sauce on top and top as desired.
Best Noodles for Spicy Peanut Noodles
The best noodles for spicy peanut noodles are hands-down fresh wheat noodles! They have a wonderful chewy texture. You will find fresh noodles in the refrigerated section of any Asian market, as well as some well-stocked grocery stores. They are usually coated in corn starch to keep the noodles from sticking. Be sure to rinse them really, really well with cold water and toss with a little bit of sesame oil to keep them from sticking.
If you can’t find wheat noodles, here are some of my other favorites.
Rice vermicelli noodles. You can find dried rice vermicelli noodles in the Asian aisle of most well-stocked grocery stores. Opt for rice noodles vs the clear sweet potato noodles as those are very sticky and hard to store.
Soba/Ramen/Yakisoba noodles. Dried soba noodles are made with buckwheat and are very hearty! They’re great served chilled, like in this recipe. You can also use packages of instant ramen or yakisoba. Just cook the noodles according to package instructions and discard the broth seasoning packet (or save for another use).
Cantonese egg noodles. You’ll find dried cantonese (or ‘canton’) egg noodles packaged in little nests in the Asian aisle at many grocery stores. These work great and have a nice chewy texture. Just be sure to rinse them really well.
Spaghetti. In a pinch, you can use good old dried spaghetti but I urge you to get out of your comfort zone and try some new noodle types!
Customizing Spicy Peanut Noodles
This recipe is easy to customize based on whatever you have on hand!
Add a protein. I love meatless dinners, but if you’re looking to bulk this recipe up with a protein it’s so easy to do! Try adding my lemongrass grilled chicken, Thai turkey meatballs, or even crispy tofu or tempeh. The possibilities are endless!
Switch up the veggies. Use whatever you have on hand! Some great options are thinly sliced bell peppers, blanched bok choy, mushrooms, cucumbers, cabbage, edamame, carrots, zucchini, etc.
Make it low carb! Are you looking for a lower carb plant-based dinner? Try swapping in zoodles or spaghetti squash strands for a low-carb option.
Storing Spicy Peanut Noodles
This is one of those recipes where I recommend storing everything separately.
Toss your cooked noodles with a bit of oil and store in a ziplock bag for up to 5 days. Store your cooled peanut sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. If the sauce is a little thick, thin it with a bit of water until it’s thin enough to drizzle.
More Easy Weeknight Dinners to Try Now
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Spicy Peanut Noodles
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon sambal or sriracha
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 14 oz fresh wheat noodles
- 1 cup chopped cucumber
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and shredded
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1 1/2 cups frozen edamame
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
- chili oil, for topping
- Combine all the peanut sauce ingredients together in a small sauce pan. Warm over medium-low heat while whisking until the sugar has dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the wheat noodles according to package instructions. Fresh noodles usually only need 2-4 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse really well with cold water. Toss with a bit of sesame oil.
- Divide the noodles between bowls, mix in veggies, and drizzle with peanut sauce. Top with green onion, cilantro, chopped peanuts, and chili oil. Serve with limes on the side.