Easy Healthy Dinner: Peanut Chicken Zucchini Noodles

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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.

healthy-peanut-thai-zucchini-noodles-6

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.

healthy-peanut-thai-zucchini-noodles-7

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

177 Comments

All Comments

  1. This made an awesome dinner. I prrsonsally used the bagged cole slaw for this the cabbage and carrots are already shredded for you amazing flavors in this dish

  2. This was awesome! But I had a question- When I made it, it turned out a bit soupy. Like real soupy. I think it might have been the zucchini noodles? I squeezed some of the liquid out with paper towels but maybe not enough? I ended up just using a serrated spoon, which worked fine, but I’m wondering if I did something wrong?

    1. Maybe try sweating the zucchini before cooking it – sprinkle it with a little salt to help leach out the moisture and let it sit for a bit before squeezing/dabbing as much water out as you can. Though I’ve heard that sometimes removing too much of the water can lead to mushier noodles, so it might take trial and error to get everything just right for your personal tastes.

    2. After spiraling the zucchini place in a strainer and sprinkle with salt for about 20 minutes. Rinse well with cold water and pat dry in a tea towel before adding to pan. Heat for about 2-3 minutes and it will reduce the amount of water in your dish. I hope this helps.

  3. Very delicious and I didn’t didn’t even have the essential sesame oil (although I will try it next time). I did add corn startch to the sauce before I put it in, to thicken it up (since many people said it was soupy). We served it over a bed of rice. Mmmm!

  4. Love!!!!! May be my new favorite. I did have to make a couple of substitutions but minor ones. I did use dry ginger 1/2 tsp., and a pinch of red pepper flakes since we don’t keep sriracha on hand. Also I didn’t have chicken on hand but I do keep Kirklands canned chicken on hand and used that. It was fabulous! Mine was a little juicy but not bad. If I was making it for others I may make some rice so if they had to have some carbs to think their meal was complete they could and that would soak up some of the wonderful sauce.

  5. I just made this dish and it turned out amazing! First time trying zucchini noodles and they tasted almost like lo mein. Our grocery store even had them so I didn’t even have to spiralize my own. I used a rotisserie chicken and shredded it up. I also added some sweet onion to the veggies. The sauce is perfect and flavorful. I will definitely make this again!

  6. This was absolutely amazing!!!! I finished a whole30 and reintroduction not too long ago, so I subbed coconut aminos for the soy sauce and used 1/4 cup of honey. Personally, I thought it was too sweet, so I’ll reduce the honey next time. I also threw in a couple handfuls of kale and used red onion instead of red cabbage. Hubs loved it! Kids didn’t give it a chance, their loss!

  7. Is there something you could substitute for the honey? I try to limit my carbs in the evening but the honey seems key to the sauce having some thickness.

  8. WOW this dish is awesome! I recently got a Kitchenaid Spiralizer reached for some recipes and came across this blog.  
    I messed up and combined my spiralized sweet potato  with my zucchini (zoodles)so had to cook longer.    Also didn’t have any cabbage so at the end just threw in some bean sprouts instead.  Despite the overcooked/soggy noodles it turned out amazing.  One of my fav dishes reminds me so much of a lighted up Pad Thai.  Thank You

  9. SHUT UP with that sauce! So good. My husband was worried there wouldn’t be enough for the veggies because he kept tasting it with the spoon. We added red pepper flakes and crushed peanuts for fun and texture before pouring on the veggies. Also, zoodle-ing is the funniest thing ever. I felt like a kid again making this recipe! 

  10. Such a wonderful dish, love that it’s full of veggies (and gives me another way use up summer zucchini from the garden!). The sauce is the star of the show! Will definitely be making this again! Thank you, Sally! 🙂

  11. I’d love to try this recipe, it sounds amazing, I’m wondering if you have nutrition info, I’m keeping to a low carb diet.

    1. Hi Cindy! I don’t. Calorie counting calculators online can often be inaccurate (different brands/products/etc) and I would hate to publish wrong information on my website. Sometimes I share an estimate, but feel free to calculate the recipe only our own!

  12. Sally,

    I love the recipe but I had a hard time melting my peanut butter . So it made the sauce thick. I did use natural kind because I I don’t like using the reg bands with the trans fat. Any advise.

    1. Hi Nancy! I never have luck melting natural style peanut butter either. I wish I had advice for you! But once the sauce is mixed with the warm noodles, it should thin out.

  13. This is one of the best recipes EVER! An immediate hit, and it’s definitely going into our regular rotation. Super simple and SO delicious. We don’t have a spiralizer so I used a potato peeler to make long thin “zoodles” and it worked great!

    1. I’m so glad it’s such a hit with your family! Vegetable peelers work well also – they just take a bit more time!

  14. Bomb dot com. Do people still say that? This was so good. I was looking for a chicken satay recipe and stumbled on this little gem. I didn’t do the zucchini noodles, but decided to serve it over rice. I love your recipes. They always work. I have all three of your cookbooks and I’m waiting for that dinner cookbook that I just know you’re going to put out at some point. Your recipes are simple and easy to follow but include all of the flavors and the science that backs the ingredients. Thank you.

  15. I’m not even a good cook and this dish came out absolutely amazing. The sauce was incredible and I appreciate the easy to follow instructions.

  16. Hey Sally! I love this recipe and make it all the time. In your opinion, could I use the sauce here as a salad dressing? Would it be too heavy? Would you make any changes?

  17. I made this tonight and WOW, this recipe is a keeper; the printout made it into my baking binder instead of the recycling bin! My picky 2 year-old loved the “noonoos” (“noodles”) and my husband and I enjoyed the flavor, texture and uniqueness of this dish. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! It’s perfect as-is.

  18. My husband hates zucchini, so alas no zoodles for us – instead when the dish almost done, I throw in bagged shredded broccoli (intended for broccoli-slaw) instead of rice. We call this riceless stirfry, and my husband also asks for seconds. This is a delicious easy week night meal that I make often. Thanks Sally for the great sauce recipe!

  19. Happy to find this recipe to change up my spiralizer veggies. I prepped everything early and it’s a bit of work assembling everything. I salted and drained my zucchini after spiraling, but the dish did come out watery??? The peanut sauce is one of the best ever! Even watery. It’s super tasty. Looking forward to the cold leftovers! If I could solve the watery issue it would be amazingly perfect!

  20. I love this recipe! It’s great just the way it is… I made a quick meal using the peanut sauce and it was awesome and I wanted to share. Spiralized sweet potato and sauted it in olive oil. Added cooked shrimp, cilantro a little peanut sauce until cooked. Tossed with roasted peanuts, fresh mango and remaining peanut sauce. It was so easy and very delicious. You could add vegies or what ever! EVERYTHING tastes great in this peanut sauce.

  21. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! My husband and I absolutely loved it. I added some sliced zucchini and used whole wheat spaghetti, which I think may have helped with the soupy situation some other people seemed to have? I did simmer the sauce for 2 min instead of just warming it, and that seemed to do the trick! I also highly recommend chili garlic sauce for the heat factor, and I acted on someone else’s comment about using shredded coleslaw mix… such a good idea!!! I added edamame too, do try!

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Reviews

  1. Such a wonderful dish, love that it’s full of veggies (and gives me another way use up summer zucchini from the garden!). The sauce is the star of the show! Will definitely be making this again! Thank you, Sally! 🙂

  2. This is one of the best recipes EVER! An immediate hit, and it’s definitely going into our regular rotation. Super simple and SO delicious. We don’t have a spiralizer so I used a potato peeler to make long thin “zoodles” and it worked great!

    1. I’m so glad it’s such a hit with your family! Vegetable peelers work well also – they just take a bit more time!

  3. I made this tonight and WOW, this recipe is a keeper; the printout made it into my baking binder instead of the recycling bin! My picky 2 year-old loved the “noonoos” (“noodles”) and my husband and I enjoyed the flavor, texture and uniqueness of this dish. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! It’s perfect as-is.

  4. My husband hates zucchini, so alas no zoodles for us – instead when the dish almost done, I throw in bagged shredded broccoli (intended for broccoli-slaw) instead of rice. We call this riceless stirfry, and my husband also asks for seconds. This is a delicious easy week night meal that I make often. Thanks Sally for the great sauce recipe!

  5. Happy to find this recipe to change up my spiralizer veggies. I prepped everything early and it’s a bit of work assembling everything. I salted and drained my zucchini after spiraling, but the dish did come out watery??? The peanut sauce is one of the best ever! Even watery. It’s super tasty. Looking forward to the cold leftovers! If I could solve the watery issue it would be amazingly perfect!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! My husband and I absolutely loved it. I added some sliced zucchini and used whole wheat spaghetti, which I think may have helped with the soupy situation some other people seemed to have? I did simmer the sauce for 2 min instead of just warming it, and that seemed to do the trick! I also highly recommend chili garlic sauce for the heat factor, and I acted on someone else’s comment about using shredded coleslaw mix… such a good idea!!! I added edamame too, do try!

Questions

  1. I’d love to try this recipe, it sounds amazing, I’m wondering if you have nutrition info, I’m keeping to a low carb diet.

    1. Hi Cindy! I don’t. Calorie counting calculators online can often be inaccurate (different brands/products/etc) and I would hate to publish wrong information on my website. Sometimes I share an estimate, but feel free to calculate the recipe only our own!

  2. Hey Sally! I love this recipe and make it all the time. In your opinion, could I use the sauce here as a salad dressing? Would it be too heavy? Would you make any changes?

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