Quick Peanut Noodles

This peanut noodles recipe is made in less than 30 minutes! It’s a fast and easy plant based dinner starring crunchy veggies and a zesty peanut sauce.

Peanut Noodles recipe

Confession: Alex and I are naturally the type of people who start cooking when we’re hungry, not before. (Oops!) The artist sides of both of us cringe at the words “plan ahead”. Our practical, sensible selves have no problem planning for long-term financial security, but planning Thursday’s dinner on Monday? That’s downright impossible. If that’s you too (hands?), here’s a totally doable weeknight meal that’s done in less than 30 minutes: these quick peanut noodles!

Tips on making peanut noodles!

For weeknights, Alex and I try to pick meals that are fast and easy dinners. These peanut noodles can be made in under 30 minutes! This recipe was inspired by Napa cabbage and red pepper we bought at our local farmers market. Here are a few tips for making it!

  • Use toasted sesame oil in the peanut sauce! Make sure to use toasted sesame oil and not regular sesame oil. The toasted oil has a much nuttier flavor intended for sauces.
  • Use our trick to “cook” the veggies! Instead of dirtying another pan to cook the cabbage and peppers, use our favorite trick. Once the pasta is done, place the veggies in the strainer and then drain the pasta right on top. The heat from the boiling water “cooks” the veggies, making them perfectly tender! It’s a genius trick that we love to use in our recipes.
  • The garnish is essential. Topped with some fresh squeezed lime juice, cilantro, and crushed peanuts, this peanut noodle bowl was delightful!

Are soba noodles gluten free? What are gluten free substitutes?

This peanut noodles recipe is gluten-free if you make sure the soba noodles you buy don’t contain flour! Soba noodles are made of buckwheat flour which is gluten free. But many brands also include a little bit of all purpose flour in the noodles. Make sure to check the package ingredients! You also can use rice noodles for another gluten free option.

Quick peanut noodles with Napa cabbage

The keys to a great peanut sauce

These peanut noodles are made perfect with a really tasty peanut sauce! What’s in peanut sauce? The secret to this one are bringing in lots of flavors at once: rich, creamy, tangy, nutty, savory, sweet, and spicy. Here are the keys to the sauce:

  • Peanut butter (all natural) as a rich and creamy base
  • Rice vinegar for tang
  • Toasted sesame oil for a nutty undertone
  • Soy sauce (or liquid aminos for soy free) for savory, salty complexity
  • Maple syrup for a little sweet
  • Sriracha for a kick!

What is Napa cabbage?

This recipe calls for Napa cabbage:. What is it? Napa cabbage (also called Chinese cabbage) is light green and oblong-shaped. It has thick, crisp stems and frilly yellow-green leaves. It’s a cruciferous vegetable like other types of cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale.

Can you substitute green cabbage for Napa cabbage in this recipe? Well, not really. The Napa cabbage has a mild flavor and delicate texture that makes it uniquely suited for this recipe. Try to find Napa cabbage if you can! (Looking for more about cabbage? Here are all our Best Cabbage Recipes.)

This peanut noodles recipes is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free noodles.

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Quick Peanut Noodles (Under 30 Minutes!)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (27 votes, average: 4.26 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This peanut noodles recipe is made less than 30 minutes! It’s a fast and easy plant based dinner starring crunchy veggies and a zesty peanut sauce.


  • ½ pound Napa cabbage, shredded (4 to 5 cups)*
  • 1 red pepper
  • ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
  • 12 ounces soba noodles (look for 100% buckwheat noodles or rice noodles for a gluten-free option)
  • 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup crushed peanuts


  1. Shred the cabbage. Thinly slice the red pepper. Chop the cilantro and reserve for a garnish.
  2. Start a pot of water to boil.
  3. In a small saucepan, whisk together the peanut butter, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, and Sriracha sauce. Cook the sauce over low heat until it is warm and slightly thickened.
  4. When the water is boiling, cook noodles according to package directions.
  5. Meanwhile, place the red pepper in a colander over sink. When the noodles are cooked, drain them over the red pepper in the colander to slightly cook the peppers. Transfer noodles, peppers, and cabbage to a serving bowl, add the sauce, and toss until combined.
  6. To serve, garnish with chopped cilantro, fresh squeezed lime juice (a must!), and a generous helping of crushed peanuts.


*Napa cabbage is also called Chinese cabbage: it’s oblong-shaped and has thick, crisp stems and frilly yellow-green leaves. Do not substitute green or red cabbage in this Napa cabbage recipe! The Napa cabbage has a totally different texture and flavor.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian

Keywords: Soba Noodles, Soba, Vegetarian, Vegan, Cabbage, Red Pepper, Peanut Sauce, Peanut Noodles

Looking for more fast & easy dinner ideas?

We have lots more ideas for fast and easy dinners! Outside of these peanut noodles, here are a few more easy dinner ideas:

Last updated: January 2020

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    September 25, 2014 at 4:47 am

    I can’t get enough of soba noodles! These look lovely!

  • Reply
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    September 25, 2014 at 7:31 am

    I’m ALL for speedy meals, especially when veggies and peanut butter are involved! It’s only 7:30am but you’ve got me craving this hard right now!

  • Reply
    Vijay @ NoshOn.It
    September 25, 2014 at 9:14 am

    You guys seriously don’t know how much I love peanut noodles. I could eat them all day every day!

  • Reply
    Michelle @ Healthy Recipe Ecstasy
    September 25, 2014 at 9:43 am

    I HAVE to start cooking before I get hungry otherwise all hell breaks loose and I will end up eating anything and everything I can grab and stuff into my mouth. :) I love this recipe. Pinning now!

  • Reply
    September 25, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Wow, I really must try this it looks awesome. Me and my fiancée always try to plan ahead but then the inspiration comes over us and we still end up doing cooking something other, the food just seems to taste better than if we would have sticked to the original food plan!

  • Reply
    Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth
    September 25, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Noodle bowls are one of my favorite meals – easy to throw together and ohhhh so tasty. This looks delicious!

  • Reply
    September 25, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Hi, I live in Indianapolis and am wondering where you purchase roasted sesame oil. I have sesame oil but not roasted. I have never made peanut noodles but believe I am in for a treat and will use your recipe. Thanks.

    • Reply
      September 25, 2014 at 11:58 am

      Hi! We found the roasted sesame oil at Whole Foods… hope you enjoy!

  • Reply
    Mary @ The Kitchen Paper
    September 25, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Ohhh yum yum yum! I go crazy for any peanut noodles — this sounds absolutely perfect!

  • Reply
    Natalie | Paper & Birch
    September 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    My husband is obsessed with any recipe i make with peanuts or peanut butter in it, so I definitely gotta make this!

  • Reply
    Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life
    September 25, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    I am always starving so when I cook dinner I make sure to have a carrot or some cucumber to snack on while I’m cooking so that I don’t reach for the oh-so-easy to reach bag of open chocolate chips.
    This dinner looks perfect for the vegetarian and the omnivore in our house, and a perfect bowl for a light but filling dinner after our runs. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    jaime // the briny
    September 25, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    (pssst. I really love the towel you photographed the bowl on in the second picture!)

  • Reply
    September 26, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I was surprised how easy peanut sauce was to make when I first started making it! Noodles + peanut sauce + cabbage can never go wrong :)

  • Reply
    molly yeh
    September 27, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    mmmmmmmmmmmm i loooooooooooooooove peanut noodles. at all hours of the day. at all temperatures. during all seasons. get in my belly.

  • Reply
    Millie | Add A Little
    September 28, 2014 at 2:47 am

    I love peanut noodles and these are no exception – looks full of colour and flavour!

  • Reply
    September 28, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Ha, ha!! Totally related to your comments about the artistic gene lacking the dinner planning chromosome!

    I was wondering if you have a certain soba noodle brand you like? I once took a class on making them –and they did taste delicious–but since I share the same arty nature, I never seem to have the time when I always wait until I am starved to cook!


  • Reply
    September 28, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    I love a good peanut sauce and this one sounds like it’ll be well worth making. Looking forward to trying it. Most peanut sauce recipes I’ve found leave a lot to be desired.

  • Reply
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen
    September 30, 2014 at 10:02 am

    I love soba noodles and peanut sauce! This is one of my favorite go to dinners….so easy to throw together and so, so tasty!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    October 1, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Yep this was pretty awesome. I’m feeling under the weather but I was already planning to make this tonight. And it happens to be the perfect sick food because it came together so fast and the flavors were amazing, really comforting. Love the idea of straining the pasta over the bell peppers too – it cooks them just enough. Wonderful recipe you guys!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Good recipe! Its a keeper. When we make it again, we’ll double or quadruple the veggies, and decrease the vinegar.

    • Reply
      January 13, 2019 at 9:22 pm

      Thank you so much for making it!

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