This naturally dairy-free recipe for Thai peanut noodles is a true staple. It uses everyday ingredients, is inexpensive and easy, and is extremely versatile. Not to mention it’s a delicious and family-friendly pasta dish that can suit a variety of dietary needs.
Make Dairy-Free Weeknights Easy with Thai Peanut Noodles
Years and years ago, Wildwood Foods, shared this wonderful recipe with us. They are still around making tofu, which is the featured protein in this easy dish. I’ve updated that old recipe with clearer instructions, nutrition facts, and more, and also have tips and options in the FAQs below.
How Can I Make these Thai Peanut Noodles Sesame Free?
The sesame oil adds both flavor and richness, but it isn’t essential. If you want to maintain the richness, substitute a neutral-tasting oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, or a nut oil (if you aren’t allergic to nuts). Since you aren’t cooking the sauce, it’s okay to use an oil with a low smoke point. If you want a lighter dish, skip the oil, and add a little more liquid if the noodles look too dry.
Do You Have a Soy-Free Option for this Recipe?
Of course! You can use coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce in the thai peanut sauce. Coconut aminos are a little less salty and a little sweeter than soy sauce, but the flavor still goes nicely in this recipe. Instead of tofu, you can use mushrooms. Shiitake, portobello, or button mushrooms are delicious options. If you don’t need a vegan recipe, meat can be substituted. Just be sure to use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce in the marinade, too.
Will these Thai Peanut Noodles go well with Chicken?
Yes! For a higher protein dish, you can add cooked sliced chicken, or you can use chicken in place of the tofu. Sliced or ground beef also goes well in Thai peanut noodles.
Do You Have a Creamier Version of this Recipe?
The peanut sauce is pretty creamy on its own. But if you want an even creamier finish, you can substitute regular or light coconut milk for the 1/4 cup water in the sauce. You could alternatively use 1/3 cup coconut milk in place of both the 1/4 cup water and the sesame oil. As mentioned, this is a versatile recipe!
Are these Thai Peanut Noodles Spicy?
No, this isn’t a spicy dish. As is, you will get just a little warmth from the fresh ginger. If you want a spicier meal, add a little sriracha or crushed red pepper to the sauce. I would start with 1 teaspoon sriracha or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, and add more to taste.
What Can I Substitute for the Ginger?
If you don’t have fresh ginger on hand, you can substitute 1/2 tablespoon crushed bottled ginger or about 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder. If you aren’t a fan of ginger, you can reduce or omit it.
Can I Substitute Jarred Garlic or Garlic Powder?
You definitely can! Use about 1/2 tablespoon crushed or minced garlic or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder in place of the 3 garlic cloves.
Will White Vinegar Work in place of the Apple Cider Vinegar?
If possible, I would use rice vinegar instead. White vinegar is a bit sharper in taste. You could also substitute lime juice for the vinegar for a different flavor twist.
Can I Substitute Other Pasta Noodles for the Rice Noodles?
In a pinch, just about any pasta will work, but I prefer to use long noodles. Some great options are soba noodles, ramen noodles, angel hair, linguine noodles, or plain old spaghetti noodles.
Special Diet Notes: Thai Peanut Noodles
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, plant-based, added sugar-free, and vegetarian. There is even a peanut-free option!
- 1 (14-ounce) package firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into ¼-inch slices
- 1 cup +1/4 cup water, divided
- ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
- ¼ cup smooth peanut butter (can sub sunflower seed butter for nut-free)
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger root
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 8 ounces dry rice noodles
- ½ cup chopped peanuts, for garnish (optional)
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves or green onions, for garnish (optional)
- 1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish (optional)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the 1 cup water and ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari. Add the tofu and toss to coat. Let it marinate for 10 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Transfer the tofu to a baking sheet in a single layer and bake it for 25 to 30 minutes, turning it once.
- Let the tofu cool, then cut the slices into cubes.
- Add the remaining ¼ cup water, peanut butter, remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic to your food processor or blender and puree to combine.
- Cook the noodles according to the package directions.
- Transfer the cooked noodles to a serving bowl. While the noodles are still hot, toss them with the tofu and sauce.
- Garnish the Thai peanut noodles with chopped peanuts, cilantro, and/or lime wedges, if desired. Optionally squeeze the lime over the noodles - it's delicious!