I’m always looking for quick and easy lunch or dinner ideas – especially ones that use ingredients I already have on hand. I spend a lot of time cooking for the camera (and for my family), but when it comes to myself, I often reach for something simple and satisfying.
And since I’m firmly entrenched in camp #nocarbsleftbehind, that usually means pasta.
There’s no shortage of pasta in my house. My smallest child could live on it if I let her (hmmm…I wonder where she gets that from?), and my oldest is pretty sure ramen is a food group. (That knowledge will serve her well during her college years!)
On a recent trip to Walmart, I found these A-Sha instant Mandarin noodles, which I prefer over regular ramen. Being a flat noodle, these have more surface space for my delicious peanut sauce to cling to while still being highly slurpable (an important factor, according to both my kids).
I find the sauce mixes in ramen to be way too salty for me, so I usually toss them and make my own homemade version instead. I like that I can control the salt and add my own favorite flavor profiles.
This spicy peanut sauce uses six ingredients that you’ve likely got in your pantry and fridge (or can easily substitute with whatever you do have on hand) and takes just minutes to make. The recipe below is based on my level of spice enjoyment, but you can increase or decrease the amount of hot sauce depending on your heat tolerance.
I love how low-maintenance this dish is. It comes together so quickly that it’s become a staple for me on busy days when I don’t have time to make anything elaborate or when I just don’t feel like cooking all that much. The sauce can keep in the fridge for a few days, so you can even batch-make it ahead of time and just add some to freshly-cooked noodles whenever you want.
15-Minute Spicy Peanut Noodles
- 2 packages ramen-style wheat noodles
- 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
- 1-2 tsp Hot sauce of choice (sriracha, chili crisp, sambal oelek, etc)
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup reserved cooked pasta water
- 1 green onion, diced (optional, for garnish)
- 1 tsp crushed peanuts (optional, for garnish)
- Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooked pasta water.
- In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, hot sauce, sugar and half the reserved pasta water, and whisk until fully combined. If the sauce is too thick or the peanut butter won't fully blend, add the remaining pasta water and keep whisking until a creamy sauce forms.
- Toss the noodles in the sauce until fully coated. Garnish with green onion and peanuts and top with extra chili sauce if desired.