Easy Healthy Dinner: Peanut Chicken Zucchini Noodles

Mixing up weeknight dinners with this wildly flavorful and healthy Asian inspired peanut chicken and veggies dish!

Mixing up weeknight dinners with this wildly flavorful and healthy Asian inspired peanut chicken and veggies dish!! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I made a resolution this year to cook more creatively. Meaning, try fresh new flavors and dinners I wouldn’t usually make. So far, I’m hardcore losing. 2016 has seen a ton of chicken chili, cereal, more chicken chili, and leftover chicken chili. Don’t get me wrong, I love chicken chili and honey nut cheerios, but I desperately need to break free of this uneventful dinner situation.

Enter: simple, light, refreshing, ready in 40 minutes, wildly flavorful peanut chicken zucchini noodles. Nothing but pure protein, colorful veggies, and the most delectable and savory peanut sauce. Anything but boring, bland, and routine.

Because, friends, there is nothing worse than a boring dinner. And if that boring dinner falls on a Monday. (Ahh!) So we’re doing new, fun, and fresh things tonight! This is my lifesaver meal.

Mixing up weeknight dinners with this wildly flavorful and healthy Asian inspired peanut chicken and veggies dish!! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I think you’ll really love this dish because (1) it’s mind-blowing simple, (2) couldn’t be any healthier, and (3) you can change up the vegetables and protein. We’re replacing regular noodles with zucchini noodles and TRUST ME when I say you won’t even miss regular pasta. The zucchini noodles completely soak up every bit of the savory peanut sauce.

And one of the best parts of this healthy meal? You control the sodium. I usually feel the size of a whale the morning after ordering similar Asian inspired dishes out. Know what I mean?

Ok, let’s talk about the vegetables. Have you joined the masses in this crazy amazing incredibly strange yet totally awesome zucchini noodle movement yet? I’m obsessed. I’ve never been one to like pasta and I know you’re probably like WHAT is wrong with you Sally. But it’s the truth. I don’t like pasta. I said it! But Kevin, who is a regular human being and loves pasta, didn’t miss the regular pasta at all.

To make the zoodles, I use my beloved Inspiralizer. I’ve tried out 3 different spiralizers in the past 2 months and let me tell you… you need to get this thing. It’s smaller than other spiralizers I’ve seen, but just as handy. And can I just say how easy it is to use? To change the settings for different noodle sizes, you don’t have to pull out the blades or anything like that. Rather, you just turn a simple switch. And suctions on the sides help keep it in place on the counter as it’s spiralizing. Ok, can you tell I’m a fan? Highly recommended if you’re into healthy foodie dishes and enjoy trying new things.

If you think zoodles are looney, like the author of this blog, you can use regular pasta or cut the zucchini into thin strips. See the recipe notes.

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So you’ll cook down the vegetables first (keep those zucchini noodles aside for a sec). You can use any vegetables, really, but I like using shredded carrots, cabbage, and thinly sliced pepper. Cook them down with some garlic and sesame oil. The sesame oil is key in this dish; it cannot be skipped! That unmistakable flavor of this dish comes from the sesame oil, so don’t substitute. You can buy it in the Asian section of your grocery store. You’ll also need a little in the peanut sauce.

Once those veggies are cooked down, add the chicken and zucchini noodles. Instead of chicken, you can also use beef, shrimp, salmon, tofu, whatever your heart or diet desires. Use pre-cooked meat to save time. What I do is boil some chicken until cooked through right before I begin the other steps in the meal. Or you can use leftover chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken and shred yourself. So simple.

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You’ll only want to warm the chicken and zucchini noodles for a few minutes. Then, you’ll pour in that peanut sauce. The peanut sauce is made from only a few, yet highly imperative ingredients: peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, fresh ginger, and rice vinegar. I like to add a little Sriracha to kick things up a bit. Don’t stray from the ingredients listed. Each one serves a purpose to round out the flavors in this Asian inspired dish. And you’ll definitely be making this meal more than once, so my advice is to keep your pantry stocked with the sauce ingredients!

PS: the peanut sauce made with fresh ginger tastes 3927x better than peanut sauce made with ground ginger.

The peanut sauce is easily the star of the show. It’s obviously flavorful– as you can imagine from the ingredients used– but it’s also sweet, savory, and lightly spicy. You’ll just need to whisk all of the ingredients together on the stove for about 5 minutes until the peanut butter has melted down and the flavors fully combine. I usually do this as the vegetables cook to save some time.

Look at all the colors! And yes, my skillet has hot pink edges.

Mixing up weeknight dinners with this wildly flavorful and healthy Asian inspired peanut chicken and veggies dish!! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Mixing up weeknight dinners with this wildly flavorful and healthy Asian inspired peanut chicken and veggies dish!! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

It’s saucy, creamy, satisfying, healthy, and flavorful to the max. For a little crunch and extra pizazz, let’s add some garnish in the form of: sesame seeds, cilantro, crunchy peanuts, and green onion. The whole shebang because F-L-A-V-O-R!

Peanut Chicken Zucchini Noodles

Mixing up weeknight dinners with this wildly flavorful and healthy Asian inspired peanut chicken and veggies dish! Keep in mind that the sauce ingredients are each important for the flavor. I do not recommend substitutions.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil (you'll need more for the peanut sauce below)1
  • 2 teaspoons minced or chopped garlic
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cabbage (I use red)
  • 1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced (I use red)
  • 3 large zucchini, spiralized into noodles4
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked & shredded (about 2-3 cups)2
  • Toppings: 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, handful of cilantro, 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped green onion

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil1
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar3
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha or any hot chile sauce
Special Equipment

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 Tablespoons of sesame oil and the garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, cabbage, and pepper slices. Cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are a little tender. (I usually begin the peanut sauce, step 2, during this time.) Once tender, add the zucchini noodles and shredded chicken to the skillet. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes until the zucchini is a little softer and chicken is warm. Turn off the stove and remove from heat. Set aside. (*If your skillet isn't quite big enough, you can do this step in batches.)
  2. Combine all of the peanut sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk constantly until the peanut butter has melted and everything is combined. I usually use 2 teaspoons of Sriracha, but use the amount of heat you like.
  3. Once the sauce is heated through, pour over chicken/vegetables. Toss everything around until combined. Place on a serving dish (or not!) and top with sesame seeds, cilantro, peanuts, and green onion. Serve immediately.
  4. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheat to your liking.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Sesame oil is KEY in the signature flavor of this dish. I highly advise against using any other oil; the recipe will not taste the same. You can find it in the Asian section of grocery stores.
  2. I simply boiled chicken until cooked through-- about 12-15 minutes, then shredded it. If you have leftover shredded, chicken from another recipe, use that! Or buy a rotisserie chicken from the store and shred the meat.
  3. Rice vinegar is also KEY in the signature flavor of this dish. It's a sweet and delicate vinegar you can find in the Asian section of your grocery. Do not use white wine or white vinegar-- they're much too harsh. Rather, you can use cider vinegar because it is more mild but your sauce will not taste the same. Again, rice vinegar is best.
  4. My spiralizer recommendation: I love the Inspiralizer! If you do not have a spiralizer, just cut the zucchini into super thin strips instead. Or use 1 pound pasta. If using regular pasta, you'll want to cook it before using.

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Happy new meal-ing to us all.

Mixing up weeknight dinners with this wildly flavorful and healthy Asian inspired peanut chicken and veggies dish!! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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Mixing up weeknight dinners with this wildly flavorful and healthy Asian inspired peanut chicken and veggies dish!! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com
Mixing up weeknight dinners with this wildly flavorful and healthy Asian inspired peanut chicken and veggies dish!! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com
Mixing up weeknight dinners with this wildly flavorful and healthy Asian inspired peanut chicken and veggies dish!! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

129 comments

  1. my husband and i had this for dinner tonight, it was amazing! (he had seconds! but i still have enough left over for tomorrow’s lunch.) i will say it took me much longer than i expected to chop up everything, but i used a grater for the zucchini because after a few minutes of slicing it thinly i realized it was going to take me all night if i continued with that method! we found it a tad too “peanut-y” but will just slightly reduce the amount of peanut butter butter next time. thanks for an lazing recipe that will now be a repeat in this house!

  2. forgive me, i have a typo in my last sentence. lazing = amazing. 🙂

  3. Yum, this was sooo good! Had a half of a leftover rotisserie chicken, so that part was really easy. Also had green cabbage. Yours is definitely prettier with the purple. I will use that the next time I make it, which will be very soon! Followed the recipe as is. Didn’t make any changes or adjustments. Husband loved it!

  4. I am absolutely drooling over these zucchini noodles – or zoodles if I can call them! Super pretty!

  5. Made it for the first time tonight. So easy and yet soooooo delicious!

  6. I’ve made quite a few different peanut sauce dishes. This one was so good and it fits right in line with the eating program I’m doing. thanks!

    Also for those looking for nutritional info, if you type this dish into the myfitnesspal app, all the info comes up.

    • Thanks for the nutrition tip!  I’ll look for more recipes like that now that I know they’re in there! Love using MyFitnessPal

  7. I have made this twice now and it is a hit every time! SO delicious ! 

    I was wondering how you prevent your sauce from getting watery.

    It seems to get very watery when I combine every thing together. I am thinking it is from the zucchini !

    Overall, so delicious ! 

    • If you lay out your spiralized zucchini on a paper towel and sprinkle salt on it and let it sit for 10-15 minutes it will draw out the excess moisture. 

  8. I make this recipe all the time! It’s my favorite. SO SO GOOD. However, instead of shrimp I add chicken, and instead of fish sauce I put some soy sauce. And still it is amazing. So happy & so thrilled with it.

  9. Can I use toasted sesame oil for this?  Or should I just use regular sesame seed oil?

  10. I have had this recipe saved in my need to try ASAP section and finally got to it last night! It was amazingly delicious. I am a huge pad Thai fan and this is an even better healthier alternative that I can make from home. AWESOME!

  11. I made this for supper tonight. It was delicious! Hubby says he wants to pour the peanut sauce in a cup and drink it! 

  12. Made this for dinner last night. Another super delicious recipe Sally, thank you! It was also easy and quick to make and very pretty to look at! LOVE IT!!

  13. We made this tonight, it was awesome!

  14. This meal was seriously amazing! This was my first time making zucchini noodles and I am absolutely hooked! Especially since this sauce was so flavorful and totally camouflaged the fact that it wasn’t your normal rice noodles used like in other thai peanut dishes. My personal recommendation is to use less soy sauce. Both my husband and I found it a bit too salty and were downing multiple glasses of water after dinner. I even used 1/4 cup light reduced sodium soy sauce instead of the 1/3 cup called for. Next time I’ll just simply reduce the soy sauce even more. Overall though absolutely wonderful dish!

  15. I made this recipe last night and it was a BIG hit.  My husband and I both loved it.  I was surprised by how the zucchini noodles soaked up the flavors.  I would offer one piece of advice based on my experience.  My version of the inspiralizer made very long noodles (this was my first time using it).  I thought it was fun while I was making them.  The long noodles were hard to manage in the wok and also when eating.  Next time (and there will be a next time!), I will not make them so long. 

    • I love zoodles and how versatile they are with so many different sauces/flavors! Glad you guys both liked this one!

  16. I made this last night, I happened to have all the veggies on hand. It was delicious. I have had a printed copy of this for a while and was glad I finally put it to use. Bought the zucchini at the store already spiralized, I will definitely have to invest in one though. My husband loved it too. It was just a 2 serving meal for us. Will be putting this into rotation for sure, especially with summer right around the corner.

  17. Great recipe!  My kids loved it!  It did not take long to make, the longest part of cutting up the vegatables which I love to do, if you buy everything cut up already it’s an easy follow the steps recipe.  You can make a lot of it and not even break a sweet.

  18. We made this for dinner last night and my husband and I both loved it!  There’s one serving left for lunch leftovers today.

  19. This was amazing!
    I don’t have a spiralizer, so I used a mandolin on the julienne setting and it was perfect! I put the zucchini noodles on paper towels for 15 minutes or so and that helped it not get too mushy in the cooking. Definitely adding this into our dinner rotation!

  20. This is amazingly delicious. Thanks for the great recipe! I finally got to use the vegetti that I bought a year ago and forgot about. haha. I will definitely be using it again.. and soon! 😉

  21. I never review recipes but this deserves it! Made this tonight and it came out amazing! I ran out of peanut butter so used 1/2 peanut butter and 1/2 homemade cashew butter- I couldn’t tell the difference so it was a good substitute. The only other change I made was serving it with a wedge of lime. Asian cuisine is frequently based on a balance of salty (soy) and sweet (honey), spicy (hot chili sauce) and sour (lime), so the lime helps to balance this dish. Thanks for the recipe! My hubby asked for it to be in the weekly rotation.

  22. I was searching recipes to make that would be healthy and i came across this. Im making this as i type! Looks and sounds yummy! Cant wait to taste it. Im adding tiny broccoli florets and snow peas too!

  23. OMG I made this last night and it was so good, definitely a keeper. Love it

  24. I made this last night for the first time and it was fantastic! (I’ll admit that I poured it over some Jasmine rice) The sauce is absolutely delicious and was a big hit with my husband. Definitely a make-again!

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