Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad
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Today we’re making a delicious, gluten-free, vegan noodle salad with all the fixings, tossed in a creamy, spicy peanut sauce. It’s ideal for lunch, a low-key dinner, or an easy snack. And comes together in minutes. Once you’ve chopped your veggies and herbs, you’re pretty much done.
This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite fast-casual spots for lunch, Wow Bao! If you’ve never been, I recommend it! Any of my friends will tell you I’ve been obsessed with Wow Bao since I moved to Chicago, and their peanut noodle salad is one of my favorite lunchtime salads.
I’ve been trying to make my own food exclusively during the lockdown, so this was a perfect opportunity to try to recreate this deliciously spicy peanut noodle salad myself. Plus, a cool noodle salad is perfect as the weather is starting to really heat up!
This noodle salad is full of goodies — not only good flavor, but also good nutrition. It’s a naturally vegan and gluten-free recipe, and it’s high in protein and fiber. Most importantly, it tastes amazing. What’s not to love?
This recipe is completely plant-based! It’s great to be able to share a recipe I love that can fit so easily within a vegan lifestyle. As you’ll see in the ingredients below, the only ingredient that may not be fully vegan is your sweetener. You can use honey like I did, or opt for raw sugar, agave nectar, or a calorie-free sweetener depending on your preference.
To make this recipe I used Banza spaghetti. I am such a Banza convert! I don’t maintain a gluten-free diet, but what drew me to Banza is that it’s high in protein, high in fiber, and lower in carbs than regular wheat pasta. One 2-ounce serving has 23g of protein! The first time I tried it was to make a shrimp pasta dish, and I was hooked! The flavor and texture, while not exactly like wheat pasta, was delicious! It works especially well in dishes that really pack a flavor punch, like this one!
The best part about Banza is how easy it is to find. I usually buy it at Target, but I’ve seen it in most grocery stores and on Amazon.
This peanut noodle salad also features tamari, a Japanese soy-based sauce made from miso paste. It has a similar flavor to soy sauce, but its flavor is a bit more mellow. And best of all, Tamari is gluten free! You can find various brands of tamari near the soy sauce at most grocery stores and on Amazon.
Besides the Banza pasta, this recipe is full of flavor, crunchy vegetables, and the creaminess of peanut butter. To make this peanut noodle salad, you’ll need:
- Banza spaghetti made from chickpeas – my favorite gluten-free pasta!
- creamy peanut butter – the base for the peanut sauce and the source of so much of its flavor and richness.
- tamari – similar to soy sauce, but gluten free and with a richer flavor!
- lime juice – gives the salad that tangy taste that makes it so good.
- spicy brown mustard – helps to emulsify the dressing and adds some extra spice. I like Bertman’s Ball Park Mustard because it reminds me of home.
- Sriracha – the best way to add a little heat.
- toasted sesame oil – adds SO much flavor! Make sure you use toasted sesame oil for the best taste.
- garlic – makes any savory dish better.
- ginger root – a valuable ingredient in Asian cooking. Like sesame oil, ginger adds SO much to this dish and can’t be omitted!
- sugar, or any sweetener – to tone down the spice a bit and round out the flavors. I used honey.
Then comes the fun part — mixing in your veggies, herbs, and other toppings. I like to mix some in and leave the rest on top to serve the salad.
- peanuts – I love that crunch!
- green onions – may be my favorite savory ingredient. they make everything so good.
- cucumber – so good for you and perfect in this salad.
- cilantro – a great way to top everything off — perfect as a garnish and also as a boost of flavor.
- toasted sesame seeds – again, they should definitely be toasted, to maximize the depth of flavor!
- more Sriracha – because why not? This is a spicy peanut noodle salad, after all!
If you can chop veggies and boil water, you can make this salad and then feel like you’re having a delicious al fresco lunch in a trendy restaurant! Let me walk you through how to make it.
- Boil your pasta according to package directions. Banza recommends 8-10 minutes. I never go over 8 because you want the pasta to still be a bit al dente.
- Once the pasta is done, drain it in a colander while running cold water over it to stop the cooking process.
- In a large bowl, combine all of the dressing ingredients – peanut butter, tamari, vinegar, sweetener, garlic, ginger, mustard, sriracha, and sesame oil. Whisk well until smooth.
- Toss the spaghetti in the dressing to coat it well. Be a little gentle with the noodles — unlike wheat noodles, gluten free pasta is slightly less stretchy and sturdy.
- Add your toppings and serve!
I hope you enjoy this spicy peanut noodle salad recipe! If you’re looking for another cool summertime dish, you might also like my Spicy Shrimp Pasta Salad — although it’s not vegan or gluten-free, it does have the same creamy, spicy kick and it’s perfect for a summertime meal!
You may also like my White Bean Dip with Lemon and Pistachio. It’s vegan and gluten-free as well, and amazing! Garlicky, crunchy, smooth and savory — it’s the perfect appetizer or snack!
- 8 oz. Banza chickpea spaghetti – (one package)
- ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 tbsp tamari
- 3 tbsp fresh lime juice – (you can also substitute apple cider vinegar)
- 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
- 3 tbsp Sriracha – or to taste
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic – chopped,
- 1 tsp fresh ginger – chopped
- 1 tbsp sugar or sweetener of your choice – I used honey*
- Bring at least 8 cups of well-salted water to a boil, add spaghetti and boil for 8 minutes. Run cooked spaghetti under cold water to cool it down.
- Whisk together all remaining dressing ingredients until smooth; pour over cooled spaghetti and toss to coat. Chill until ready to serve.
- Just before serving, top with your choice of garnishes.