Exploding with flavor in every bite, these spicy peanut noodles with tofu are naturally gluten-free, vegan, and packed with protein. What a perfect recipe for your next meatless-Monday!
It's safe to say we've eaten our way through the majority of Southeast Asia. From our incredible travel experiences there, we become huge fans of Asian culture and cuisine. It's unfortunate to be confined due to the "Big C", so we've been having some serious wanderlust going on (exciting news coming soon on that front though).
While reminiscing, we decided to create our own version of various noodle dishes we've enjoyed. We took inspiration from traditional Pad Thai, but tweaked it to create a simple, but unbelievably delicious meal.
The major difference between peanut noodles and Bangkok's signature dish is the use of tamarind, fish sauce, and eggs. We decided to "veganize" it and use easy-to-find ingredients.
Our peanut noodles have such bright, vibrant flavors that are bound to impress anyone. After mixing in the creamy peanut butter sauce, each bite becomes rich with a touch of heat (or a lot if you can handle it).
You can adjust the spice level by adding more or less of the chilis or sriracha. Feeling a bit daring? Add a habanero or ghost pepper. Make these peanut noodles ahead of time for a vegan and gluten-free meal prep that will have people asking for the recipe.
🍲 Key ingredients
- Peanuts: an essential ingredient for this dish and a great way to add in some extra protein and healthy fats. Peanut butter creates a rich and creamy texture in the sauce, while crunchy roasted peanuts add another level of complexity to this dish. Despite their name, peanuts are actually a legume and closely related to beans, lentils, and soy (who knew?).
- Thai chilis: also known as Bird's eye chilis, Thai chilis are widely used across southern Asia. These babies contain 50,000-100,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), which is moderately spicy (to some). Thai chili peppers are an excellent way to bring a layer of heat to your meal while providing you with healthy amounts of Vitamin A and C.
- Tofu: this is a vegan's secret weapon to bump up the protein content of any meal! Surprisingly to many, tofu has a higher percentage of protein-to-calorie ratio than its meat counterparts. For those of you who really dislike the texture of tofu, ensure you buy extra-firm varieties and press out all the water.
- Rice noodles: made up of just ground rice and water, rice noodles are a perfect alternative to yellow egg noodles. They're naturally gluten-free and offer slightly lower carbohydrate content and calories than their yellow-looking cousin. We love using them in this recipe as they have a chewy, satisfying texture.
To begin, drain, press, and cube the tofu into bite-size pieces. Then, prep the rest of the stir fry ingredients by chopping the chilis, ginger, garlic, carrots, and bell peppers. Also, slice the green onions, chop the peanuts, and wash the bean sprouts.
To make the peanut sauce, simply mix the peanut butter, ginger, liquid aminos, maple syrup, rice vinegar, lime, hot sauce, and water together in a bowl.
In a large pot, bring some water to a boil. Once boiling, turn the burner off and add in your rice noodles. Stir, then cover them for about 5-6 minutes, or until the noodles are al dente.
Drain and rinse the noodles, then toss with a dash of sesame oil to prevent sticking. Set your noodles aside while you prepare the stir fry.
For the stir fry, heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add your tofu cubes in and sauté for a few minutes to brown it on all sides (use an oil guard if you have one as the sesame oil can splatter). Next, add in minced Thai chilis, garlic, and ginger. Sauté for another couple of minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant.
Once crispy, transfer the tofu and spices to the noodle pot, then add the julienned carrots and bell pepper to the skillet. Sauté the veggies for 4-5 minutes, or until tender. If things are looking a little dry, you can add a splash of water or oil.
Putting it Together
To assemble, mix the cooked veggies, tofu, and noodles together with the bean sprouts, green onions, and chopped peanuts in the large noodle pot. Add in the peanut sauce and cook over medium heat (tongs are handy for this part) for a few minutes, or until the sauce is incorporated and everything is hot.
Serve these spicy peanut noodles immediately with optional garnishes such as lime wedges, more bean sprouts, more sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, peanuts, and sriracha or sambal oelek!
This meal is of course best served immediately after cooking. But worry not. If you have leftovers, they'll keep in the fridge for about 3-4 days. When you're ready to eat, heat the noodles in a pot over low or the microwave. Serve with your preferred garnishes!
💭 Budget tips
We think everyone should be able to eat better for less, so here are a few tricks to make this recipe even more affordable:
- Purchase soy sauce instead of liquid aminos
- Replace the bell peppers or carrots with frozen veggies, or omit them altogether
- Use regular sugar instead of maple syrup to sweeten your sauce
🍴 Tasting notes
This dish is a staple in our household, and soon it will be in yours too. It's:
If you try this noodle dish, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Spicy Peanut Noodles With Tofu
- Chef knife
- Large frying pan
- Mixing bowl
- Large pot for noodles
- ⅔ cup natural peanut butter ($1.17)
- ½ tbsp ginger, finely minced ($0.02)
- 1 tbsp sambal oelek chili paste ($0.06)
- 1 tbsp sriracha hot sauce ($0.06)
- 5 tbsp liquid aminos ($0.90)
- 3 tbsp maple syrup ($0.44)
- 3 tbsp lime juice ($0.36)
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar ($0.22)
- ⅓ - ½ cup water to thin ($0.00)
- 2 tbsp sesame oil ($0.26)
- 1 brick brick extra-firm tofu, cubed ($1.42)
- 2 fresh Thai chilies, chopped ($0.23)
- ½ tbsp fresh ginger, minced ($0.02)
- 3 whole cloves garlic, minced ($0.12)
- 4 medium carrots, julienned ($0.56)
- 2 whole red bell peppers ($1.64)
- 1 cup green onions, sliced diagonally ($0.98)
- ½ cup roasted & salted peanuts, chopped ($0.32)
- 1 ½ cups bean sprouts ($0.40)
- 10 oz rice noodles, dry ($0.85)
For Serving optional
- Chopped roasted & salted peanuts
- Sliced green onions
- Chopped cilantro
- Lime wedges
- Sriracha or chili garlic sauce
- Bean sprouts
Prep & Peanut Sauce
- To begin, prep all stir fry ingredients by briefly pressing and cubing the tofu, mincing the chilis, ginger, and garlic, and julienning the carrots and bell peppers. Also, slice the green onions, chop the peanuts, and wash the bean sprouts.
- Mix all peanut sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl. Start with ⅓ cup of water, and add up to ½ cup depending on how dry or runny your peanut butter is. Once the consistency is pourable, but not too runny, set aside.
- In a large pot, bring enough water to cook the noodles to a boil. Once boiling, turn the burner off and add in rice noodles. Stir and cover, cooking for approximately 5-6 minutes, or until al dente.
- Drain and rinse the noodles. Then, toss with a dash of sesame oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
- Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add tofu cubes and sauté for about 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally to brown on all sides (use an oil guard, as the sesame oil can splatter). Next, add in minced Thai chilis, garlic, and ginger. Sauté for another 1-2 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant.
- Transfer tofu and spices to the pot the noodles were cooked in, then add the julienned carrots and bell pepper to the skillet. Add a splash of water if it's looking a little dry, and sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until tender.
Putting it Together
- Add cooked veggies and noodles back to the pot with the tofu. Mix in peanut sauce, bean sprouts, green onions, and chopped peanuts and cook over medium heat (tongs are great for this). Toss together for about 2-3 minutes, or until sauce is incorporated and everything is heated through.
- Serve immediately with optional garnishes such as lime wedges, more bean sprouts, more sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, peanuts, and sriracha or sambal oelek sauce.
- Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- You can easily adjust the spice level by adding more or less Thai chili peppers, sambal oelek, or sriracha.
- If you can't find fresh Thai chilis, replace them with 1-2 tsp dried red pepper flakes.
- Ensure you prep all of the stir fry ingredients beforehand to make the cooking process much easier!
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty mains, check out our:
- Teryaki tofu & vegetable stir fry for a perfect balance of salty and sweet.
- West African peanut stew, but only if you love creamy and delicious foods.
- Vegan poke bowl for a deconstructed take on sushi.
- Creamy ramen noodle bowl to slurp away the cold weather!
You can easily mix this meal with rice, soba noodles, or quinoa if you can't find rice noodles. You'll be able to find rice noodles at your local Oriental market if you have one nearby.
If you can't find sambal oelek at the grocery store, don't worry! You can omit it or simply add more spice by adding extra chilis, sriracha, or red pepper flakes.
Absolutely! the sauce will store for around 8-10 days in your fridge in an airtight container.