According to cookbook author Hetty Liu McKinnon, these peanut butter noodles have “a depth of flavor and dimension that belies what a fast, easy, flexible, and mindless (and thus brilliant) solution it is when time and energy are limited.”
Her peanut butter noodles recipe can be thought of as a formula: “a nutty, full-bodied base thinned out with a mix of something acidic to cut through the richness, something sweet for balance, and something salty for a jolt of umami.” It’s simple to adjust to what you have on hand, as well as to accommodate allergies and gluten-free eaters.
Is there anyone in the house who dislikes peanut sauce? Make use of tahini. Are you out of maple syrup? It is perfectly acceptable to use sugar or honey as a sweetener. Noodles can be practically any Asian variation (try quick ramen, udon noodles, rice vermicelli, or soba noodles), but spaghetti also works. (Prepare whatever you want according to the package directions.) The vegetables are also adaptable. Crunchy cucumbers and green onions are delicious, but thinly sliced snap peas and carrots, or shredded cabbage, would all work well.
This recipe is equally delicious eaten immediately for a weekday dinner as it is packed for the next day’s lunch—keep the cooked noodles, peanut butter sauce, and chopped peanut garnish separate in the refrigerator. Also, have chile oil, sriracha, and sesame oil on hand, as well as cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, and lime wedges for squeezing, so everyone can customize their bowl whenever they’re ready to eat.
If you want a meaty peanut butter noodle dish, try Chris Morocco’s version, which includes fried pork, sautéed collard greens, and rice noodles.
12 oz. dried wheat noodles (such as thin udon) Kosher salt
½ cup chunky or creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
4 tsp. pure maple syrup or honey
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 small garlic clove, finely grated Freshly ground black pepper
4 small Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
2 scallions, finely chopped
⅓ cup salted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Raw sesame oil or chili oil (for serving)
Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender. Drain and rinse under cold running water; set aside.
Whisk peanut butter, vinegar, maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, and ¼ cup warm water in a large bowl until smooth. Dressing should be the consistency of heavy cream; if too thick, add a little more water as needed. Season with salt and pepper. If noodles are sticking together, rinse briefly to separate; drain well. Transfer to bowl with dressing; toss to coat. Add cucumbers and scallions and season well with salt and pepper.
Divide noodles among bowls; top with peanuts and drizzle with oil.
What are Peanut Butter Noodles with Cucumbers?
Peanut Butter Noodles with Cucumbers is a savory and simple dish made up of cooked noodles, a creamy peanut butter sauce, and fresh cucumber slices. The creamy peanut sauce complements the refreshing bite of cucumbers in this classic recipe, which delivers a mix of textures and flavors.
How do I make Peanut Butter Noodles with Cucumbers?
To make Peanut Butter Noodles with Cucumbers, you’ll need cooked noodles (such as spaghetti or soba noodles), a peanut butter sauce made from peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, and optional ingredients like sesame oil, honey, or red pepper flakes. Toss the cooked noodles with the peanut sauce and top with sliced cucumbers for a refreshing crunch.
Can I make Peanut Butter Noodles with Cucumbers ahead of time?
While Peanut Butter Noodles with Cucumbers are best when served fresh, you can prepare some components in advance. Cook the noodles and make the peanut butter sauce ahead of time, then store them separately in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, toss the noodles with the sauce and add the fresh cucumber slices.
Can I add other vegetables or protein to Peanut Butter Noodles with Cucumbers?
Absolutely! Peanut Butter Noodles with Cucumbers can be customized to your liking. Feel free to add other vegetables such as shredded carrots, bell peppers, or snap peas for added color and texture. You can also add cooked chicken, shrimp, tofu, or edamame for extra protein and to make it a more substantial meal.