My peanut butter noodles are creamy, comforting, and ready in 15 minutes ~ this cozy vegan noodle bowl is the perfect weeknight meal!
My creamy peanut butter pasta is a cross between Nigella Lawson’s very ‘British’ dreamy creamy peanut butter pasta recipe and a classic Thai peanut noodles. My dish falls right down the middle retaining Nigella’s easy peasy comfort food factor while doubling down on the Asian roots of this recipe. It earns the title ‘weeknight’ because it can be made from start to first bite in 30 minutes or less.
China, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia all lay claim to peanut noodle dishes, each with its own flavor spin. The concept that ties them together is the combination of creamy peanut butter clinging to chewy, carby noodles. That’s delish in any language and makes quick work of dinner no matter where you live. Let’s dig in…
ingredients to pick up for peanut butter noodles
This dish is allllllmost pantry friendly, but I will make the case for fresh cilantro and scallions. Without that little pop of fresh green the noodles can seem a bit heavy.
- many if not most Asian noodles are made form wheat, so spaghetti works quite well. You can use any noodle you like, including chow mein, ramen, soba, or gluten free rice noodles. But I like the ‘chew’ factor you get with spaghetti.
- peanut butter
- I prefer smooth, but go with what you love. Jiff is best, imo!
- Chinese chili oil (aka chili crisp)
- it comes in a jar and has lots of Sichuan chili flakes in it.
- soy sauce
- toasted sesame oil
- this is an Asian condiment that has a nutty brown color and an incredible flavor.
- fresh cilantro
- chili flakes, optional
peanut butter noodles are spicy without being ‘hot’
It’s an important distinction ~ a dish can be infused with all sorts of powerful spices and still not produce the heat sensation in our mouths. That heat sensation in our food comes largely from capsacian, a component of chili peppers. In this recipe there are no chili peppers.
chili oils can be confusing
There are several different products, all called ‘chili oil’, so you have to look carefully and read labels. Chinese chili oil is made with Sichuan peppers, which aren’t peppers at all, but a berry. They are spicy without being overly hot! I highly recommend stocking your pantry with this stuff, it’s sometimes referred to as ‘chili crisp’ and can be found in large grocery stores, in Asian markets, and online. I make homemade chili oil with this recipe, but when I buy it I love Fly by Jing brand.
if you love these peanut butter noodles and want to vary them up
There are LOTS of additional ingredients you can add to this very basic recipe. To the sauce you might add: fresh lime juice, fish sauce, hoisin, fresh minced garlic or grated ginger. If you don’t love cilantro, try shredding some basil instead. And there are all kinds of easy veggies you can add from spinach and arugula, to zucchini, broccoli, or snow peas. A great trick is to add the veggies to the pasta for the last minute or so of cooking ~ they flash cook and there’s no extra pan to wash.
allergic to nuts?
Try this with Sunbutter® (sunflower nut paste) or tahini (sesame seed paste.)
Use gluten free spaghetti or rice noodles.
more noodles for dinner
- Vegan Dan Dan Noodles
- Dan Dan Noodles ~ Easy Weeknight Recipe
- Quick Chili Oil Noodles
- Beef and Broccoli Noodle Bowls
- Easy Bone Broth Noodle Bowl with Herbs
- 15 Noodle Bowl Recipes for the New Year
Peanut Butter Noodles
- 12 ounces spaghetti. Thin or thick spaghetti will work as well, but I prefer the regular size.
- Cook the spaghetti in lots of well salted water according to package directions until al dente. Taste a strand to check if it's done ~ it should be tender but still have a little 'bite' to it.
- While the pasta is cooking whisk together the sauce. Taste to adjust any of the ingredients. If you'd like more spice, add more chili oil.
- Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Return the drained pasta to the hot pan and toss with the sauce. Add a little cooking liquid as necessary to get a creamy sauce. Add the cilantro and scallions and give everything a final toss.
- Serve topped with chili flakes and peanuts.