A Naturally Frugal Dinner for Four: Chicken Thighs with Spicy Peanut-Miso Sauce


Chicken in a Miso-Peanut SauceAlisa Cooks ~ Light and frugal, scrumptious music to so many foodie ears.

I'm not going to say that I prepared this dish perfectly, without any errors. That would be a lie.

The pan was too hot when everything merged, causing a rapid sizzle rather than a subtle simmer … and, in my hunger, I did a very shabby job in plating and serving, resulting in a dinner that didn't look half as good as it tasted. But, I can tell you that the sauce is delicious, the chicken is great, and fortunately, it is a hard dish to ruin.

This recipe appeared in the November edition of Cooking Light magazine, and the second I saw it, I knew I would be making it this week. Chicken thighs were on sale for $.79 a lb, my CSA delivered loads of onions and sweet bell peppers, I had all of the sauce components simply waiting on hand in my cupboard and refrigerator, and even when coupled with some broccoli (crowns on sale for $.77 a lb!) and rice (does it get much cheaper than that?), I knew I had the perfect delicious entry for our first Naturally Frugal Challenge!

No, I can't win the challenge (since I am one of the cofounders), but I sure can enter! The first challenge is called our "holiday kick-off." No, I suppose a miso-peanut sauce may not be part of a traditional holiday meal, at least not in the U.S. However, it is meals like this (quick, easy, and Asian-inspired) that have become "traditional" in my home. Plus, I believe this meal-for-4 easily clocks in at under $10, side dishes and all!

What about you? Do you have a Naturally Frugal Meal to share? Yes, prizes are involved!

Spicy Miso-Peanut Chicken

This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light, November 2010. It is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free and Wheat-Free. You can make it Soy-Free by using a chickpea (or other soy-free) miso, and Peanut-Free and Nut-Free by using sunflower butter. The sauce itself is Vegan / Vegetarian (when using agave nectar), so feel free to swap the chicken for tofu or a meat alternative of your choosing!

  • 3 Tablespoons Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Light / White Miso
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey or Agave Nectar
  • 2 Teaspoons Red Curry Paste
  • 2 Crushed Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Cup Hot Water
  • 8 Chicken Thighs, bone in, with skin
  • 2 Tablespoons Avocado Oil, Olive Oil, or Coconut Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Small to Medium Sweet Bell Peppers (orange, red, or yellow), diced
  • 1 Medium Onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons Dry White Wine
  • 2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
  • To Serve: Cooked Brown or White Rice and Veggies (I steamed some broccoli in the steamer basket of my rice cooker as the rice cooked)

In a bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, miso, honey, curry paste, garlic, and water. Set aside.

Alisa's Lazy Chicken Method: Season chicken thighs with a little salt and pepper. Place them in a crockpot on low for about two to four hours (in a single layer if possible), or until they are wonderfully, fall off the bone cooked.

Cooking Light's Stove Top Chicken Method: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and add it to the skillet, cooking to a golden brown (about 4 minutes per side). Transfer the chicken to a plate, and drain the fat, but since you just used up the oil, you will need to leave about 2 tablespoons of the fat in the skillet to cook your veggies.

With the skillet still set over medium-high heat, add the peppers and onions, and cook until the onions are soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the white wine, return the chicken to the skillet, and pour the peanut-miso sauce over all. Simmer the chicken, partially covered, for about 20 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can add a little more water. During the last minute of cooking, add in the green onions.

Plate the chicken with rice and steamed broccoli (or veggie of your choice), and spoon any remaining peanut sauce w/ onions and peppers over top.

Makes 4 dinners

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Deborah Bigda on

    If you cook the chicken in a crockpot, do you just add all the other ingredients on top of the chicken in the crock pot and cook for the 2-4 hour period or must use switch over to the stove top at some point?

    • Hi Deborah, my crockpot method is just for cooking the chicken, not for the whole recipe. You could certainly trial cooking it with the other ingredients, too, but I can’t guarantee the results, and I am not sure if you would need to change the cook time, liquid, etc. I would need to test to verify. But if you do try it, it would be great to hear your results!

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