This rainbow peanut noodles recipe is made with colorful fresh veggies, your choice of noodles, and the most irresistible peanut sauce. Delicious served warm or cold!
If you’ve never tried my rainbow peanut noodles before, it’s time! ♡
I’ve been making this Thai-inspired peanut noodles recipe for nearly a decade now. And while the gorgeous rainbow of colorful veggies here always make this dish a showstopper at gatherings, there’s no denying that everyone falls in love with these noodles for one simple reason — that insanely irresistible peanut sauce. It’s perfectly balanced with the most delicious blend of sweet, savory, (slightly) spicy, tangy, nutty flavors and has this magical way of convincing even the pickiest eaters to enjoy a wide array of veggies.
I’m also a big fan this recipe because it’s easy to make and endlessly flexible. Serve these peanut noodles hot or cold, as a side dish or entrée, with or without meat, using whatever favorite noodles and veggies that you happen to have on hand. If you feel like adding in a protein, I’ve found that shrimp, chicken, steak and tofu mix in especially well here. I’m also especially partial to using these noodles for weekday lunch meal prep, making a big batch over the weekend and then portioning the extras into tuppers for the week ahead. And I’m telling you — the flavors in this sauce just get better and better as the week goes on.
I’ve updated the notes below to include new options for how to customize the noodles for gluten or, yes, even peanut allergies. Plus I’ve also added in suggestions for other fun ingredients (mango! Thai basil! fried garlic!) that you’re welcome to toss in too.
So round up your favorite colorful veggies and let’s make some peanut noodles together!
Rainbow Peanut Noodles Ingredients
Here are some brief notes about the ingredients you will need to make this rainbow peanut noodles recipe:
Noodles: I usually make this recipe with whole wheat spaghetti or soba noodles, but rice noodles, ramen noodles, or just about any other type of noodles that you love best will work here.
Rainbow veggies: For the photos here, we used a mix of bell peppers (red and yellow), carrots, red cabbage and scallions. But this recipe is very flexible when it comes to veggies, so please see notes below about potential other veggies that you’re welcome to toss in too!
Peanut sauce: Made with a mix of natural creamy peanut butter, low-sodium soy sauce, lime juice, toasted sesame oil, honey, chili garlic sauce, fresh ginger and garlic. See notes below about ingredient substitution options if needed for this sauce.
Cilantro: I love loading this recipe up with lots of fresh cilantro. But if you are averse to the flavor of cilantro, you are welcome to leave it out (in which case I would recommend adding in some Thai basil if you have some).
Toppings: I love serving these noodles topped with finely chopped peanuts, extra cilantro and green onions, lime wedges, and/or toasted sesame seeds. Plus if you happen to have any crispy fried garlic on hand, it’s fabulous sprinkled on top too.
Here are a few ways that you’re welcome to customize this rainbow peanut noodle recipe to your liking:
Add a protein: Add your choice of cooked chicken, shrimp, steak, pork, scallops, or tofu.
Add mango: Add diced or thinly sliced mango to the noodles along with the veggies.
Add Thai basil: If you happen to have any fresh Thai basil on hand, it’s an absolutely delicious addition to this recipe too.
Add different veggies: Add any other raw veggies that might go well here, such as avocado, bean sprouts, broccoli, radishes, red onions, snap peas, or zucchini.
Make it spicy: Increase the amount of chili garlic sauce to taste or feel free to toss in some thinly sliced or diced fresh chiles (such as Thai bird chiles, serrano peppers, etc).
Make it gluten-free: Use your preferred variety of gluten-free noodles and gluten-free tamari (in place of soy sauce).
Make it peanut-free: Use almond butter or sunbutter in place of the peanut butter.
Make the peanut sauce.Whisk together all ingredients in a small mixing bowl until combined. Taste and sweeten with additional honey if desired.
Cook the pasta.Cook the pasta in a large stockpot of salted boiling water until just barely al dente. (Try to avoid overcooking the noodles.) Transfer 1/2 cup of the starchy hot water to the peanut sauce. Reserve an additional 1/2 cup of the starchy water and set it aside for later. Drain the pasta, then return it to the large stockpot.
Toss.Add the scallions, bell peppers, carrots, cabbage, cilantro, peanuts and peanut sauce to the pot. Toss gently until everything is coated evenly in the sauce. If the sauce seems too dry, add in some of the reserved starchy water and toss to combine.
Serve.Serve warm, garnished with your favorite toppings.