Cold peanut noodles pop with the flavors of peanut butter, tamari, and brown rice vinegar. With plenty of crisp, cool vegetables & a handful of nuts, you get a complete meal in one bowl.
Top with cubed tofu or vegan chick’n strips for an additional satiating punch of protein.
Ready in just 20 minutes! Vegan & gluten-free optional.
There’s no doubt about it, peanut sauce makes everything more delicious.
Whenever it’s served as a dipping sauce with tofu satay, I always crave more and more.
I keep going back for just one more bite, because I need to snag another taste of that nutty sauce with the flavors of tamari, brown rice vinegar, sriracha, and sesame oil.
If you have similar peanut sauce adoration, do I have the recipe for you.
With cold peanut noodles, every bite is loaded with that creamy, nutty flavor.
The sauce envelops the noodles and vegetables, leaving you with nothing but mmmmmm.
In addition to whole wheat pasta, this meal-in-a-bowl is packed with carrots, radishes, bell peppers, onions, and cilantro.
You get your veggies, protein, and carbs all in one spot.
For an extra hit of protein, finish with baked tofu or vegan chick’n strips.
It’s ideal for potlucks, picnics, and cookouts.
It also works great for quick & easy lunches. Just make it on Sunday, and enjoy it throughout the week.
Going on a road-trip? Pop this in the cooler for a substantive & flavorful meal to enjoy along the way.
What type of noodles should I use?
Usually recipes for a cold noodle salad like this one use long noodles like linguine, spaghetti, or long rice noodles.
However, I prefer to use a shorter pasta for my cold noodle salads – like fusilli or penne.
It’s a lot easier to scoop short noodles from a bowl at potlucks & picnics, when there may be a lot of people pulling from it, including kids.
Long noodles have a way of wrapping up in themselves and sticking together.
And it can be hard to take just the amount that you want.
But short noodles are easy to scoop.
Of course, if you’d prefer to use long noodles instead, go for it!
What kind of peanut butter should I use for the sauce?
I always prefer crunchy peanut butter to smooth. I like having that extra crunch in the bites.
But obviously a creamy peanut butter is going to give you a smoother sauce. So really, there’s no wrong answer here.
The only thing is to be sure to use a natural peanut butter that only has one or two ingredients – peanuts and salt.
Some more mainstream peanut butters add a bunch of sugar, which can throw off the taste of the dressing.
I’m not keen on added sweetener in my sauce. But if you like it sweeter, you can add a drizzle of maple or agave syrup without the peanut butter itself going overboard.
Step by step instructions
(For complete ingredient amounts, keep scrolling to the recipe box at the bottom of this post.)
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain & set aside.
Put the following sliced vegetables into a large mixing bowl:
- Yellow onion
- Red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
In another smaller bowl, make the peanut sauce by combining:
- Peanut butter
- Brown rice vinegar
- Sesame oil
Add the pasta to the mixing bowl with the vegetables.
Pour on the peanut sauce & combine.
Add a handful of peanuts – whole or coarsely chopped.
Serve right away. Or put it into the refrigerator in a covered container to serve later.
Make it your own
You can easily make these cold peanut noodles your own by varying the ingredients to suit your preferences or pantry.
- Use a different type of noodle – including rice noodles or spiralized vegetables for a gluten-free option.
- Use a different type of nut butter like cashew, almond, or pistachio. Then top the noodles with the same type of nut or sesame seeds.
- Add a small drizzle of maple or agave syrup into the sauce for sweetness.
- Add about a teaspoon of freshly zested ginger.
- Replace any of the vegetables with equal amounts of shredded cabbage, edamame, sliced green onions, sugar snap peas, or broccoli cut into thin matchsticks.
- Top with cubed teriyaki-style tofu or vegan chick’n strips.
Cold peanut noodles
- 8 ounces whole wheat fusilli pasta or penne
- 4 radishes thinly sliced
- 2 small carrots thinly sliced
- ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
- ½ bell pepper red, yellow, or orange, chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 6 to 7 Tablespoons peanut butter natural
- 2 Tablespoons tamari
- 2 Tablespoons brown rice vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon sriracha or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
- Handful peanuts whole or coarsely chopped
- Cubed baked tofu or vegan chick'n strips (Optional toppings)
- Cook whole wheat fusilli pasta or penne according to package instructions. Drain & allow the noodles to cool for a few minutes.
- While the noodles are cooking & cooling, make the rest of the salad. Put the sliced radishes, carrots, chopped yellow onion, bell pepper, garlic, and cilantro into a big mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In another bowl, combine 6 Tablespoons peanut butter, tamari, brown rice vinegar, water, sriracha, and sesame oil with a fork or whisk. The sauce should have the texture of a thick ranch dressing. Peanut butters vary in their viscosity. So if your sauce is too thin, add the remaining Tablespoon of peanut butter, and fully combine it with the sauce.
- Put the noodles into the mixing bowl with the vegetables. Top the noodles and vegetables with the peanut sauce, using a serving spoon to get everything fully combined. Top with a handful of peanuts.
- Serve right away or put it into the refrigerator in a covered container until serving time. Stir the peanut noodle salad before serving, and top with cubed baked tofu or vegan chick'n strips (optional).