The origins of the dish many Americans know as “cold peanut noodles” can be difficult to trace. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, chef and food writer, suspects that this take-out menu staple is an Americanized version of a dish from China’s Sichuan province called dan dan noodles. What we can say for sure is that the delightful balance of flavors in the dish—a little spicy, a little sweet, and a little salty—will have you savoring every last bite.
Our Plant-Based Version of a Take-Out Classic
For our cold peanut noodles recipe, we improved on the classic by upping the veggie content. In fact, even the noodles are made from vegetables! Shirataki noodles, a traditional Japanese food, may be the perfect food for individuals with food allergies or complex dietary restrictions. They’re naturally vegan … gluten-free … and carbohydrate-free. The noodles are formed from glucomannan starch extracted from Devil’s Tongue yams, then mixed with water and limewater to create a substance called konnyaku. Because glucommann starch is an indigestible fiber, the noodles are also naturally calorie-free. Shirataki noodles have surged in popularity in recent years, and can now be found in most grocery stores.
To keep our recipe entirely vegan and gluten-free, we opted to use liquid amino acids instead of soy sauce. The umami flavor of liquid amino acids makes them a perfect substitute for soy sauce, and they offer a dose of essential amino acids, too! For a sweetener, we used raw, organic blue agave syrup. If you prefer to use a different sweetener for health or taste-related reasons, feel free!
You will need the following ingredients to make our plant-based cold peanut noodles…
- 8 ounces shirataki noodles
- 2 large bell peppers
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- ½ cup chunky peanut butter (we recommend using natural peanut butter that contains as few extra ingredients as possible)
- 3 tablespoons liquid amino acids
- 3 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoon agave
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon warm water
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
- 8 scallions
- Sesame seeds to garnish
How to Make Plant-Based Cold Peanut Noodles
- Begin by cooking the shirataki noodles according to the package instructions. Set aside and let chill.
- Next, seed the cucumber, then slice
the cucumber and bell pepper into thin strips.
- Combine the peanut butter, amino acids, Sriracha, agave, lime juice, vinegar, sesame oil, and water in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly until well-blended.
- Add the noodles to the bowl, then add the cucumber, bell peppers, and bean sprouts.
- De-stem the cilantro, and add to the bowl with the noodles and vegetables.
- Toss to combine.
- Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and if you like spice, an extra dash of Sriracha.
This dish is best when eaten immediately, as the liquid in the vegetables will into the sauce over time, making it watery. We recommend portioning it accordingly—that is, make just what you need for one meal rather than planning to save any for later. This should be no problem, since this dish is so quick and easy to make whenever you’re craving another serving.