These Easy Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles with Crispy Tofu are vegan and easily gluten-free. They’re ready in 30 minutes and are oh so satisfying!Jump to Recipe
These Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles with Crispy Tofu are deceptively simple and come together in 30 minutes or less. This East Asian-inspired dish is completely vegan and easily gluten-free. It’s super flavorful and satisfying with minimal work. Toss some steamed broccoli or seared baby bok choy on top and you’ve got yourself an easy weeknight dinner (plus leftovers for lunch!).
Origins of Peanut Sauce
Peanut sauce has its roots in Indonesia, where it’s traditionally made with peanuts ground with a mortar and pestle. The sauce is often put on dishes like Satay or Gado-Gado. More recently, its use has expanded worldwide and is now commonly found in many cuisines. For an in-depth look at the history of peanut sauce, jump on over to Wikipedia. For an authentic satay sauce recipe, try Temple of Thai.
Ingredients for Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles
Rice Noodles: Thai Kitchen rice noodles are my favorite.
Peanut Butter: Make sure you’re using the all-natural kind with just peanuts and salt for ingredients!
Soy Sauce or Tamari: I recommend the lower sodium soy sauce if you can find it. Use Tamari to keep things gluten-free!
Milk of Choice: I use unsweetened almond milk because it’s what I keep on hand. Oat milk or coconut milk would be lovely too.
Rice Vinegar: One of my favorite ingredients for brightening up any Asian-inspired dish.
Sriracha: Customize the amount to your ideal spiciness level. Some sriracha brands are spicier than others as well.
Toasted Sesame Oil: Adds so much depth of flavor!
Maple Syrup: Just a tablespoon to sweeten things up a bit.
Ginger: We’ll want to use fresh ginger here. Sometimes I’m lazy and buy the pre-minced ginger in the jar, but the real deal is better.
Garlic: To round everything out and provide delicious flavor.
Ingredients for Crispy Tofu
Tofu: Double check to be sure you’re buying the extra-firm variety!
Cornstarch or Arrowroot Starch: Either will work! I prefer cornstarch because it makes the tofu super crispy.
Soy Sauce or Tamari: More soy sauce for more umami flavor! Again, be sure to use Tamari to keep things gluten-free.
Garlic Powder and Ground Ginger: Tofu is so great at absorbing whatever flavor it’s in, so we’re gonna give it a good dose of garlic and ginger.
Neutral Oil: Avocado, canola, vegetable, etc. Just a tablespoon to sauté the tofu in!
How to Press Tofu
This is an optional step, as I’ve tested things both ways and the tofu is yummy no matter what. However, if you want a firmer, crispier tofu experience, I recommend pressing it if you have the time. I have a tofu press and it’s a cheap kitchen tool that’s made my life so much easier. However, I will provide instructions for those of you that don’t have one, as I know that life too.
- With a Tofu Press: Gently pat the block of tofu dry with a tea towel and then place in the press, following product directions. You’ll want to make sure to press the tofu for at least 30 minutes.
- Without a Tofu Press: Wrap the block of tofu in a tea towel, place on a large cutting board or plate, and put something heavy on top of it such as a heavy-bottomed pot or pan. Press for at least 30 minutes.
More Tips & Tricks for Peanut Butter Noodles
- When assembling the peanut sauce, add the peanut butter last so it doesn’t have time to settle at the bottom of the container. This ensures every ingredient is well-combined.
- If I’m making a sauce in the blender, I often peel the garlic cloves and toss them in there whole. Just make sure you run the blender for at least 30 seconds to make sure it’s well-combined.
- I love to serve these noodles with broccoli or bok choy to make this a veggie-powered meal!
I hope you love these Easy Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles with Tofu! If you give this recipe a try, be sure to leave a rating and review. It encourages others to make the recipe and it means so much to me. You can also find me on Pinterest and Instagram. I always love hearing from you!
More Amazing Vegan Dinners
- Vegan Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower Soup
- Three Bean Walnut Pumpkin Chili (Vegan!)
- Vegan Kale Caesar Pasta with Crispy Chickpeas
Easy Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles with Crispy Tofu
- Blender or Food Processor (Optional)
- Tofu Press (Super Optional)
For the Tofu:
- 1 14 oz block extra firm tofu
- 2 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot starch
- ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp neutral oil (such as vegetable, canola, or avocado oil)
For the Peanut Sauce:
- ½ cup peanut butter (any nut or seed butter works!)
- ⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- ⅓ cup plant-based milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond milk)
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1-2 tbsp sriracha hot sauce (depending on how spicy you like it!)
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 8 oz rice noodles
- cilantro or green onions for serving optional
- OPTIONAL: Press your tofu! You can do this two ways. If you have a tofu press, gently pat the block of tofu dry with a tea towel and place in the press, following product directions. Press for at least 30 minutes. If you don't have a tofu press, no worries! Simply wrap the block of tofu in a tea towel, place on a large cutting board or plate, and put something heavy on top of it such as a heavy-bottomed pot or pan. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes. This step is optional. If you're short on time, you can skip and simply pat the block of tofu with a tea towel to remove excess moisture.
- Whisk cornstarch, soy sauce, garlic powder, and ground ginger in a large bowl until combined. Cut pressed or unpressed tofu into ½-1 inch cubes and add to large bowl. Toss to combine until sauce is covering every cube. Let sit and marinate for 5-10 minutes.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add tofu to frying pan in a single layer. Sauté, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to make sure every part of the tofu cooks evenly. The tofu will be done when it's browned and crispy on all sides, about 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make rice noodles according to package directions.
- While tofu and rice noodles are cooking, put all peanut sauce ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds-1 minute until emulsified and well-combined. Alternatively, you could put all ingredients in a mason jar and shake until well-combined. Pro Tip: Add the peanut butter last so it doesn't stick to the bottom of whatever container you're using!
- Assemble! Toss cooked rice noodles in peanut sauce, portion into individual bowls, and top with tofu and cilantro or green onions if desired. I also like to add steamed broccoli or seared bok choy sometimes. Leftovers should be stored in refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Photography by Hope Agresti